These tests are competency exams to be licensed to teach business and social studies (that one is all essay), and I just started studying yesterday. Not the brightest given that I spent about two months of intense study for each of the previous tests, but I've just been burnt out on studying, and I've been enjoying the arrival of the gentler, more frequent summer waves. I've spent the last two days on my balcony with my cat and my books, and I'm going to try to stay here until I feel like I've made some serious headway. Or until I can't stand it anymore and I need a little surfy surf.
I gave up my basic cable a few weeks ago (and my fancy cable months ago) when I realized that I never really turn the TV on, and when I decided I needed to cut back further. I'm keeping up with the news thusly for about 30 seconds a day, and am totally enjoying what is, to a large degree, a media black-out. I'm not a "Kill Your TV" person by any stretch, but I feel more peaceful when I don't have urgent, irrelevant messages pouring into my brain all the time. When I lived in Japan, I had an almost four-year break from advertising, and it was very positive. I think having less money has made me less focused on consumerism/consumption. It's a good change for me. If I think of something I want to buy, I try very hard to think of reasons why I might be better off without it. Sometimes it works. Every once in a while I come across something in my house - for instance, I have all matching wooden hangers in my closet - and I think: now there's a sign of a person who used to have too much money. (That was actually just OCD, but you understand what I mean.)
A month or so ago I donated probably 98% of my clothes to Goodwill. I ended up with about 4 pair of pants and a lot of t-shirts. (Literally.) I know the joke will be on me if I get another job where I have to dress up, but it is SO much more relaxing to go to my closet to get dressed now than it was before. I put some old blankets in my dresser drawers because they're empty! I've been overflowing into the garage with boxes of clothes for years. Silly.
Maybe I'm just trying to prepare myself for living on a teacher's salary? I don't know. I'm just trying to do ok with less, less, less. What does a girl really need besides good underwear, a few books, and a surfboard, anyway?