Last night I consulted the oracle commonly referred to as Myers Briggs. I filled out quite a detailed quiz about my preferences and the result given was–horror of horrors–ISFJ. Hallmarks include kindness, gentleness, loyalty, dependability, hard worker, organized, blah blah blah, fan of the status quo. Not visionary, artist, or boundary tester. A personality defined mostly by its relationship to other, more interesting personalities. I’ve essentially been sorted into Hufflepuff house. Everyone knows Hufflepuff gets no respect.
Often when my mind is in a wandering mood I prefer to take the lonely, pockmarked backroads into town. My route takes me past pastures brimming with hardy Texas cattle and wildflowers, winding behind the cemetery and past a gravestone emblazoned on its back, simply and beautifully, “kind and loyal.” I have always thought that if ever I leave a mark on this life, I would love to leave that one. These bones were kind, and these bones were loyal.
At my UT undergraduate graduation we heard the dean of the school of information speak to the recipients of Master’s degrees in library science. I don’t remember the particulars of what he said, but the gist was that the librarians will basically serve those from all of the other more prestigious schools, but “they had better say please.” How’s that for ambition?
I would like to live a humble, meaningful, gracious life of service. It sounds poetic, but such a life is built upon the back-breaking labor of continually choosing someone else over yourself. I guess it’s okay to live courageously amid what seems to be unambitious mediocrity. And thankfully there are lots of opportunities to practice, fail and try again.
Hufflepuff crest bears the image of a badger. Badgers are short of stature but tough and persistent as heck. That seems okay to me.
Today I pulled a container full of mystery soup from the freezer to eat for lunch. The entire block of soup was covered with ancient ice crystals, preserved since who-even-knows-when. After some partially unjacketed kidney beans and soggy hominy emerged from the half-thawed mass I was able to identify taco soup.
I poured the half frozen contents into a pot and let it warm on the stove. While that was going I quickly pressed some corn tortillas with masa and water, toasting them until crispy brown on the outside.
The entire lunch which had its beginning as an unappetizing chunk of ice ended up being obscenely delicious.
All of this took place after a 30 minute battle of wills inside my head. Hunger and appetite urged me to damn it all, hop in the car and drive to Bill Miller’s BBQ to get some chicken strips. One of my goals this month has been to totally redeem myself from the disastrous budgetsplosion of last month. Generosity and addictive restaurant hopping left Oliver and I embarrassingly over-budget in certain non-essential categories of our budget.
I’m not an impulsvie person. Except if you’re counting impulse purchasing. Then I’m a very impulsive person. Besides an attack of Etsy last week I’ve done pretty well curbing impulse buys. Let’s not talk about how that one impulse buy amounted to nearly $30. Moving on.
Almost every month I create a budget and then we end up overspending in pleasure categories like restaurants and fun money. Then I have to rectify these money mistakes by shamefully pulling funds from other categories. We’ve been managing to not overspend our income, but we are not spending in the right way. We’ve been letting cravings rather than logic dictate the way our money is spent.
Today’s experience with denying myself a crispy chicken lunch reminded me that true freedom consists in being able to acknowledge strong desires but not to be conquered by them. It ended up being practice in the sorely needed virtue of temperance.