One thing I’ve noticed about this process, such as it has been, is how it has affected my thought processes and my mental habits. (I’m still developing new habits, but I’ve already noticed some changes.)
Having to be conscientious about what I eat and when (because I’m starting to watch out more for hechshers on products, and because I’m enforcing temporal separation between eating CYA halavi products and meat, and other things) has made me somewhat less likely to engage in mindless grazing. This hasn’t really started to show up on my waistline too much yet, but it feels like it’s starting to.
As I’ve become more conscious of how I dress and why, I’m becoming…not exactly more judgemental about things other people are wearing, but I’m noticing how tacky some people’s outfits look, and it has definitely reinforced my you-kids-get-off-my-lawn aversion to showing bra straps and things (I’m old enough that I can remember my mother hammering home about how You Just Didn’t Do That). On the other hand, dressing tzniut (inasmuch as I do, given that I am very fond of highly-saturated colours, which is frowned on in certain tzniut circles — but I look sick in pale colours) has made me more comfortable with my own body, which is an interesting result. I don’t tend to feel like anybody’s gaze object anymore, which is definitely nice. And I was never one much for showing a lot of skin anyway (I am often chilly and I sunburn at the drop of a hat), so it’s not like I’m terribly put out by all of this.
Also, trying to become somewhat shomeret Shabbat has helped me keep my house clean. It’s traditional (almost mandatory, in the sense that it is the Done Thing) to clean one’s house thoroughly before Shabbat, so the Malkat Shabbat will feel honoured when she visits, metaphorically speaking. Shabbat is holy time, and your house should reflect appropriate Shabbat preparations, including cleaning. Lately, it’s been a lot easier to keep things clean and tidy because I just say to myself, “If you don’t clean this now, you’ll have to do it before Shabbat,” and I’m almost always short of time after work on Fridays due to my usual Friday evening outing with friends, so I wind up rushing around on Thursday night and Friday morning to get the sort of last-minute things done. (This morning, I washed the last few dishes, cleaned the kitchen sink, and changed my bedding. Turns out my outing is cancelled, so I wonder what I’ll do with All That Time tonight!) My friend Ed remarked that “the house looks like you shook it.” I’m also not as behind on cleaning stuff as I could be, which is also nice.
On a less secular note, I’m also finding that my daily time-outs for prayer and blessings calm me down and help me to sleep. I don’t know if they make me feel particularly holy or anything, because I’m not sure what that should feel like, but I am definitely renewing my sense of connection to, well, everything, which is something I used to have years ago and then kind of lost somehow.
In any case, I have 25 minutes before a Big Important Meeting, so I’d better finish my lunch and get on with my day. Shabbat shalom, kulam!