Meditation and money, a year later

A year after Burning Man means a year after I first encountered Nichiren Buddhism means a year after I started actually doing some ritual every day.  For a few months it was chanting with the Soka Gakkai  (Nichiren folks), then it became me doing my own thing (silent meditating).  But at any rate, probably 95% of the past year, I’ve meditated or something for at least 10 minutes.

How’s it going?

Within the meditating itself: pretty good.  I can comfortably sit for 15 minutes, it doesn’t feel like a huge waste of time.  Every day, regardless of how well I’m meditating, at least I’m showing up.  The downside is, I don’t feel like I’m in any better control of my mind or anything than I did a year ago.

Applying to outside life: No noticeable change.

But overall: maybe there’s changes happening and I just don’t notice it!  And one year is a pretty short time to be evaluating, especially with no real data.  I still trust that it’s a good way to a better life.

And last year I published a big thing about how much money I spent, and apparently that was helpful to some folks, especially new graduates.  So here it is for September 2009-August 2010: $30,100.

The breakdown (numbers rounded for easy comparison):
Rent: $10,400
Android phone service: $900
Groceries: $1,700
Entertainment (aka “pretty much any optional stuff”): $5,400
Medicine/necessary things: $3,600
Travel: $7,100
Transportation: $500
Clothing: $300

I’m doing a little better than last year, in almost all categories.  Still it’s a bit of a bummer, as I go for grad school, where I don’t expect to get a $30,100 stipend.  (especially after taxes.)  A couple of notes:
- the medicine/things number is so high because for most of the year I was seeing a counselor who wasn’t covered by my insurance.  D’oh.  On a smaller budget, I would not do that.  So there’s maybe $3k I could save.
- travel is a big one here… but then, my family lives far away.  I only took one big extravagant vacation this year (Thailand), which was about $1700.
- I moved to a cheaper flat; obviously, it’d be nice to save even more here, but I really like my neighborhood and city.  If I move back to Seattle, or worse, Boston or San Francisco, I’ll have to think hard about what’s important in a living place.
- and y’know entertainment etc.; do pursue options besides going out for dinner or drinks!
- groceries are still lower than usual because I still work at Google
- transportation is mostly bike repairs and parts, and some zipcars.

Okay, I promise I’ll stop talking about money now.


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