A number of years ago I went to a horrible therapist. Once. In the hour for which I paid this man to listen to my pitiful, first-worldy problems, I spoke maybe 30-35 words.
There was no, “how does that make you feel?” There was no discussion of dreams. There were no ink blots. There was not even an occasional understanding nod, unless you count me doing the understanding nodding. That said, this man was somewhat of a genius in my eyes. Overpriced and pompous, but a genius. He had me figured out before I had warmed the cushion in the chair, and spent that hour telling me exactly what was wrong with me. His advice on fixing the problem was simply, “don’t be like that.”
So kindof an idiot again.
The diagnosis? I have an “all or nothing” personality.
This is true. If I am in, I’m all in. If I’m not, best hope your health, wealth or safe arrival is not dependent on my engagement.
This quality makes me deeply passionate about my family, my friends and my job. It also played into my youthful exuberance for tobacco, the wrong women and, most tempting of all, doughnuts. It also means if a therapist is a jerk, I’m not going twice.
Up In Smoke
I quit smoking when my wife became pregnant with our first child. Because there is no better reason to quit than expecting a child.
After he was born, I started again. Because there is no greater trigger for smoking than raising a child.
A few years later, I quit for good. Not for a special reason. On a random Tuesday afternoon, I’d finally had enough. I stopped fighting and got stubborn in all of about one second. With the exception of the month following the death of my second son, I haven’t touched a cigarette, cigar, pipe or any other nicotine-providing product since. And I doubt anyone would begrudge me that month.
Still, once you’ve beat smoking, the question becomes, “what else can you do?”
So two years ago I quit soda.
Now understand, I had been a multiple 6-pack per day drinker. I drank full strength. I drank diet. I was never part of a new generation, but I did love the classics. Not to mention ginger ales and lemon-limes and cream sodas and root beers and even a wonderful spicy, bubbly Fresca.
For three months in 2012 I did great, until finally on a warm day sitting in a restaurant in Kampala, Uganda, I convinced myself that I could have a single solitary Orange Fanta and that would be that. Because, after all, this was a foreign land and soda drank in a foreign land would not count. Especially Fanta. Especially Fanta from a bottle. A BOTTLE. It would almost be rude, as a visitor to this beautiful land, not to drink their soda. So it must not count. But it did. And when I fall off the wagon I tend to fall with all the spectacular grace of a young Jerry Lewis.
So 2012 was a bust. 2013 however…
365 days, and counting, with no soda. No coke. No pop. No nothing. Well, two, maybe three, small Sonic slushes, which I now suspect contain Sprite, though I am not certain. But that is it.
And the thing is, it sounds much harder than it was.
I drank water, black coffee and unsweetened iced tea. In pinch, a little juice. But for the most part, if I wanted to drink calories I’d have alcohol. Beer, wine, maybe some whipped cream flavored vodka with orange Gatorade. Much much better than a stinkin’ soda. And since I am too lazy to regularly go to the liquor store and too broke to buy much when I do, I didn’t really have very much of that.
Going into my second year sans soda I am upping the ante and swearing off sweet pastries. Yeah. No joke. Also no cookies. No cakes. No waffle cones. No candy with a cookie inside.
See ya Twix and Kit Kat. Skittles are fine though. Ice cream is too, just not with cookie dough inside. Hardest of all will be the loss of doughnuts. (pinecones especially) and, of course, my mistress: the cinnamon roll. Fried, baked or rolled in perfectly healthy pecans. THIS. SHALL. NOT. PASS … my lips.
My wife is a great baker. So, for her sake, I am considering a “one-per-month/homemade” allowance. But, you know me… So we will see how that goes. The big thing is that I have now publicly declared this before you all. This makes me accountable, and that helps. There is no doubt, this one will be hard but lest you doubt, I AM that dang stubborn.
How about you? What are your resolutions for 2014?
For all things CINNful and tasty, check out this post on ALFRESCO.