#21 Sell the Damn Boat Already


Before I suggest #21, I would love to acknowledge #22.

No sly catch-phrase like last year, just more crazy love. Well, how about, “22 years and our marriage can finally grow a proper beard.”

Alrighty, then. On with the show!

Way back in the old millennium, Donna and Jim gave me the book SimplifyYour Life by Elaine St. James. For those who enjoy lists and organizing—yep, me—this book’s subtitle promise of “100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter” has irresistible appeal.  As in, “resistance is futile.” I was hooked.

And there it is. Suggestion #21: Sell the Damn Boat.

Someone else following #21

Now, Ms. St. James means to encourage her readers to divest themselves of needlessly expensive possessions, a fine admonition. In my family, however, this phrase has come to be used as a metaphor for jettisoning any thing that’s weighing you down.

Have you ever identified something you just need to get out of your life? Not just out of sight; out of the very air that you breathe in. What was it?  A couch so old its weight has doubled from the entombed dust mite pellets?  A bin of tatty, questionable dorm-room posters? An obscenity’s worth of Beanie Babies?

Sell the damn Beanie Babies. That’s what eBay is for.

But, what if the “boat” isn’t a boat? What if it’s something like a belief? Or a habit? What if it’s a habit you’ve lived with for so long you don’t even realize you have a choice anymore.

Last fall, I broke a big habit. More precisely, I am in the process of participating in a lifetime’s commitment to maintaining the breaking of a big habit. (Phew, the contortions of linguistic precision can be as exhausting as a downward facing dog!) So, what in my life have I changed?

Gluten. I have given up gluten.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Gluten hides in a shitload of places, but it can be eliminated.
  • You gotta really want to change.
  • Change can be empowering because, personally…
  • I feel so much better.

And I absolutely will not proselytize (further) about going gluten-free– but, if you ask me, I will be delighted to share.

The point is eating regular wheat bread, pizza and muffins, cooking with all-purpose flour and baking traditional cakes and omg CUPCAKES!, sharing Vicky’s perfect <sigh> bread and gleefully consuming dozens of  Mom’s Toll House Cookies, seemed like things I could not possibly stop doing. Until I did. I made a connection between feeling better and giving up something big.

I sold the damn boat. It feels great.

[I’m also selling some actual “boats.” See boxheadboys13 on eBay for my on-going efforts. Got a “boat” you really want to sell? I’d love to hear about it!]


3 Responses to “#21 Sell the Damn Boat Already”

  1. Jan Says:

    oh suszanne,

    sister of the gluten-free life. i’m on my way, bread is gone but the hidden gluten still haunts me. i feel SO much better but want more encouragement…Today I sat there and served ginger scones to friends and did not let them pass my lips – and thus had the energy to ride my son 5 miles home on the bike!xoxo Jan

  2. kara Says:

    I should have know that Jan would have a comment. I’m not sold on giving up gluten unless you are really gluten intolerant (you can get tested). Bread and all of it is just too damn good. What I DO recommend is soaking your flour or making sour dough. Have you tried that, Suzanne? Jan I know you soak your grains, but do you soak your flour? If you are making your own bread it’s easy (and you should because it takes 2 seconds plus a day of soaking and 30 minutes of baking). I try not to eat any wheat products that haven’t been soaked, but then I do try to make everything from scratch so it’s not a big deal (I just made soaked wheat bagels).

    In addition to soaking grains, what has really made me feel great is giving up white sugar. I use honey, maple syrup and occasionally rapadura.

    Suzanne you should join the cult Jan got me into and get “Nourishing Traditions”, by Sallon Fallon. Jan gave me a copy a couple years ago and it totally changed the way I eat.

    Gosh, get me talking about food and I just won’t stop!

  3. Sean Says:

    Please note: this comment will NOT contain any vow, promise, or whimsical desire to abstain from my beloved gluten. This does not diminish my appreciation of the effort and resolve required to make such a sea change. Giving up all those things…holy cow, Jan — ginger scones?!

    In a non-nutritive sense, selling the boat is very difficult for me. Those who have seen my basement (and office) (and garage) can attest to this. We’re taking part in a two-block community yard sale this weekend, so perhaps I will part with a couple of my boats, but seriously, you never know when you’ll need a Honda car stereo.

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