Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why I Quit Drinking

I am the sort of person who enjoys drinking a nice cold beer now and again. Maybe I'm sitting outside, taking in a ballgame... the sun is beating down. Nothing tastes better than an ice cold beer in that situation. I believe that. There are other times when I really want a margarita, or a nice glass of wine with dinner. I could be out with friends and find myself interested in sampling a specialty cocktail on the restaurant's menu. Or maybe it's time to sample a friend's new home brew that he bottled a while back.

I like those situations. I like drinking. In general, I feel that I'm also pretty smart about it most of the time. As someone without a car, its pretty easy to find yourself in a situation where you don't have to worry about driving home. And since I've arrived in my 30s, I've noticed that it's just not as important anymore to drink as much as possible on any given occasion. I just don't see the point anymore.

Something else happened, though. I noticed something, right around the end of December last year. Every night after I had had a drink (any drink, doesn't matter what it was), I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with nasty heartburn sent straight from the fires of hell. Any heartburn that's strong enough to wake you up in the middle of the night is pretty bad, but this was easily the worst. And I take (generic) Zantac on a daily basis to prevent heartburn. I've been taking it for years, as recommended by my doctor.

Once I made the connection that drinking = heartburn, I knew I had to test the theory. So I resolved that starting on January 1 of 2013, I would quit drinking. Cold turkey.

It feels kind of cliche, making it a new year's thing. But I had to start some time, and it seemed as good as any. Besides, I also wanted to start saving money, and booze is expensive.

I was also a bit curious of how difficult it would be. I didn't believe that I was addicted to alcohol, but that was the thing - a lot of people who have an addiction aren't even aware of it. And I know there is a history of addiction in my family. I wanted to see if I could do it.

Today is July 28, 2013. I haven't had any alcohol since December.

It was around February when I realized that this whole thing wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had really slowed down my consumption in the last few years, and it wasn't hard to cut it out entirely. Social situations were the most difficult, when everyone around me was drinking and I was stuck with a Diet Coke. But I was succeeding. That's when I decided to put an end date on my personal prohibition. I would just say no for the rest of 2013.

One year. No alcohol. Piece of cake, right?

Yeah, not really. Sitting at a Twins game at Target Field, sun shining, and the only vendors who seem to be walking up and down the aisles are the guys with Grain Belt Nordeast. That was my favorite ballpark beer. But I'm not spending $8 for a beer that is barely worth $2, so that's something. I'm saving money.

There are other tough situations, too. It was a little depressing to realize that I wouldn't be able to continue some rituals that I observe every year. A margarita on my birthday. A "beergarita" at the State Fair. Wine on Thanksgiving, cocktails made by my dad on Christmas Eve. I'll miss those. But I can live without them. It's just for one year, after all.

I'm thinking that after this year is done, I'll be so used to not drinking that I'll just choose to go without more often than not in the future. I'd like to continue saving money.

Oh, you were wondering about the heartburn? I still get it every once in a while, but it's usually explained in some way. After drinking a lot of lemonade, for example, or after eating a lot of spicy Mexican food. I think it's safe to conclude that it was caused mainly by the drinking.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ranting on a Song

You may or may not have heard of the British boy band One Direction, and you may or may not be familiar with their hit pop song “What Makes You Beautiful.” What follows is an in-depth analysis of that song, both musically and lyrically.

No. Scratch that. I’m too out of practice for a musical analysis and too lazy for an in-depth analysis of any kind. This will be a diatribe. A rant. Yes, I know the song has been out for a while now, but it's been stuck in my head for about a week now, so this is fresh in my mind.

I’m going to start out by saying that, hands down, this is my favorite song of the last few years. I LOVE this song. It’s catchy and adorable and super easy to sing along to. It’s fantastic. If you like the boy-band pop music genre, then this song is awesome. I want to be the girl that they’re singing about!

But today I thought about it. Do I really want to be that girl?

The very first line states, “You’re insecure.” Wait a minute. I don’t want to be that girl! I hate when I feel insecure. It’s not fun. And even though the rest of the verse refutes the girl’s perceived need for insecurity, she still feels insecure. She’s shy. She doesn’t notice when people look at her, when they notice her. Heck, some days I am this girl! But not most days. I generally feel pretty good about myself lately. And I don’t know if I want to go back to being a shy girl.

But here’s what gets me with this song… the more I listen to it, the more I realize how creepy these guys are. They’re watching you. They’re clearly attracted to you (they do get “overwhelmed” over a mere hair flip, after all). They pay enough attention to know that you don’t wear any makeup.

Listen, Liam, Harry, et. al., you’re doing it wrong. You want to be with this girl? You want her to feel as beautiful as she supposedly is? Then you need to stop stalking her and actually talk to her. She’s terrified of you. She’s looking at the ground because she’s trying to avoid eye contact. She knows very well that everyone looks at her when she walks in the room, and she hates it. Attention? That’s bad. So be careful when you approach her. Please.

All kidding aside, though, initially I loved the message in this song. It’s positive, right? You’re shy and quiet, and you’re beautiful – even if you don’t see that in yourself. But you know what? It’s not really very positive at all. This isn’t the message we need to be sending to girls. They don’t need to be encouraged to be shy and meek and quiet. I’ve struggled with dating through half my life, and I sought out advice from everywhere I could find it. And you know what was the number 1 thing I saw that was supposed to help you? Confidence. Feeling good about yourself, having good self-esteem and a high self-worth – these are the things that actually make you beautiful. Of course, that seems to have gotten me nowhere with the men-folk, but even so – I think I just haven’t met the right guys yet.

It’s disappointing to realize this about a song that I’ve loved so much. But what can I do? It’s stuck in my head and it won’t go away. I’ll continue to enjoy the song. I can’t help it. But I have thought about it, and I wanted to share that with everyone. And now I have.

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Blog!

Don't worry, I'm still keeping this one. But I also created a new one.

Check it out: Fat, Happy, and Healthy

I'm also going to try to post here more often. I'm sorry I've been so distant. What, I made 3 posts in the last year? Two? Yikes. Some blogger I am. I'm going to have to get better about that...

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Day Off

Hooray for Presidents Day!

Whenever I have a day off from work, I tend to think about all the things I want to get done. I'm going to do all the laundry, all the dishes, and clean every room in the apartment from top to bottom. I've got a whole extra day!

It's now 5:30 pm on my day off. Let's make a list of the things I've done today:

1. Slept in until 8.
2. Caught up on TV shows saved in my DVR.
3. Played Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Platinum and reached "Tycoon" status on 3 different levels.
4. Watched 3 episodes of West Wing on Netflix.
5. Started 1 load of dishes in the dish washer.

Yeah. Not very impressive, unless you're a geek like me and impressed with my progress in a video game that's almost 10 years old. I haven't even gotten dressed.

I feel it necessary to point out that I did do ALL my laundry last weekend. So the lack of laundry today isn't as shameful as it would normally be.

But I haven't really done anything today. After this load of dishes is done, I'm going to load up the dishwasher with another load. Because there are far too many dirty dishes and they didn't all fit in the dishwasher - and I really didn't want to wash them by hand. I hate washing dishes by hand.

I'm trying to convince myself that I'm not a complete failure for my lack of accomplishment today. I needed this day off - a legitimate holiday, and not a sick day or planned vacation day. A day where I'm not stuck worrying about what's going on at work when I'm not there - because no one is there, or at least no one should be (though, knowing my coworkers, there are probably some people doing some work at home today).

But there's the other part of me, the logical side, that tells me that I'm over 30 and still stuck with the mentality of someone just out of college. I'm still thinking, "I'm an adult, I can do whatever I want." Then I wonder why I haven't evolved past this cookie-dough-for-breakfast* frame of mind. Why haven't I grown up? Why do I have such a hard time doing more than just sitting on my butt and watching Netflix and playing video games when my job is nice enough to give me a free day off to do all those things that I know need to be done?

I think there's something wrong with me, mentally, that makes me neglect my responsibility. I don't know what it is, but there's definitely something larger at work here than just flat-out laziness. I won't deny that I'm lazy, but I also think that there's a reason for it. Lazy isn't the cause, it's the symptom. But am I just making excuses for myself? I don't know. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm so lazy and know that, somewhere inside, I just refuse to let the rest of myself see it, and I make these excuses.

Either way, whatever it is, I didn't get much done today. But now it's time to feed the cat. That I will do.

*I did not actually have cookie dough for breakfast today. I had a bowl of cereal. And it wasn't even a kid cereal!