December 5th, 2008


Friday Friday, So Good To Be

I'm in the process of purging all the bad stuff, trying to cement some better habits, and making resolutions for the upcoming year. All before I've even really started shopping for "Holiday" presents, so there's a scary thought.

First and foremost, I'm giving up books for 2009. Any and all reading will be done in short, intense bursts, from either newspapers or magazines. Non fiction, all the way, thereby freeing up my creative side for actual thought, as opposed to what's been going down lately: analysis of others' creative sides. Bottom line, you can't write when you're bloody reading now can you?

I'm also considering cutting back heavily on the daily "current events" style reading I've been subjecting myself to. Engulfing information can be very habit-forming, and right now I'm at about 3 packs a day. U.S./World News, Sports, Entertainment. It's bad. Pretty much my entire day at work is devoted to keeping informed on these subjects (and, OK, sure, work as well). I long for the days when I actually thought. When I could kick back and just pontificate on things. I think that's part of what this whole malaise-year has been about: not allowing myself enough time for reflection. My brain hasn't really been working, just taking bits of information in. Honestly, I don't need to know all the names of the backup offensive linemen on a 2-10 Seahawks team or which of them will be starting this week in place of injured veterans!

On the physiological side of things, I've opted to improve my diet somewhat. How I'm going to accomplish this is up for debate, however, since I'll need to construct a work-able daily routine/schedule that incorporates the black void that is Wednesday Night Bowling In Tacoma. Essentially, that means having a daily workout regimen in the evenings won't be feasible. I can't just "skip" a workout in the middle of the week, every week, for as long as I'm in this league (which extends into April or May). I'm like Bowzer in Mario Cart; once I get going I'm a steamroller who can't be stopped. But, if I keep getting bumped or flipped over every two days, I'll lose all the momentum I've built up on Monday & Tuesday.

In many ways, I regret joining up at the gym so close to work, because in these winter months I'm more-or-less never going to ride my bike in the morning. There's nothing to debate there, I'm not a cold weather nut. A frozen face isn't exactly my idea of awesome times. But, I'm giving real strong thought to morning workouts, waking up super early - I haven't figured out the logistics, but maybe make it 4:30am, get to the gym by 5am, leave the gym at 6:30am, go back home to shower and bus back into work - even though it seems really counter-productive, going back and forth like that over and over again. But there are no gyms in Beacon Hill. There's NOTHING in Beacon Hill. And this would only happen until the springtime, when I should be in better spirits and climate to ride my bike again. Then, I can just get up, ride to the gym, do my workout, shower there, then go straight to work, cutting out the 3-mile drive to and fro. Oh how I long for March.

So, I'm going to test this out on Monday, see how she goes. Also, in the meantime, I'm in the process of ridding myself of all the crap food I stocked up on at Costco a few weeks ago. I'm now down to one burrito, a half a bag of potstickers, a half a bag of chicken wings, two six-packs of White Castles, and a couple small boxes of these weird Asian things that you fry up in a seemingly unhealthy way. See, I can't afford to just throw this shit away; I'm not John Q. Rockefeller over here. But in their place I'm gonna shovel in some healthier cuisine. Hey, it's not that I DISlike vegetables. I just don't necessarily have all the proper cooking skills to prepare them in ways outside of SALAD or SIDE DISH.

That brings me to one final element that needs tightening up for my overall well-being. This, pretty much, affects all of the above things I've cited as areas that need improvement. We're talking mental capacity, ability to think creatively, weight, diet, exercise, and just the overall way my body feels on a daily basis. And that would be drinking.

There are two schools of thought on this, and for the life of me I've been waffling on this back and forth since I had my first sip of Bud Light oh so many years ago. See, on the one hand, alcohol is obviously bad for you. That's Hand A. Pretty much a blanket statement that can't be refuted. You can come to me with studies on the positive effects of wine until the cows come home, but until there's a study lauding the positive effects of an 18-pack of Miller High Life, I'll refuse to truly believe that alcohol is good for you.

Hand B is a little more personal, a little more refined. See, studies show that some of the happiest nations in the world are those in Northern Europe. Why? Because for 5 days a week they're sober little hard-working judges. But, on the weekends, they really tie one on. There's something to be said for letting off some steam. In that sense, alcohol CAN be good for your emotional state. This is definitely true in my sense as well. At heart, I'm a pretty dour personality. I tend to look on the negative sides of issues WAY more than the opposite. I have a bleak future outlook and low self-esteem. Alcohol turns ALL of that around, so much so that I don't even begrudge the requisite hangovers that follow. Not drinking alcohol - especially on a non-work night, and on non-work nights when I'm not hanging out with friends or family - leaves me mired in my own disgusting thoughts. And since I don't have work the next day to get up for, that means I'm free to stay up even later, mired in my own disgusting thoughts.

Pretty much, me, sober, on a Friday and Saturday night, sitting alone doing nothing, watching TV or movies in my apartment, is one of the most depressing sights I'll ever witness outside of genocidal Africa.

Unfortunately, I can't remember the last time I was sober on a Friday and a Saturday night, that didn't involve heavy drinking on the preceeding Thursday or the following Sunday afternoon.

What I'm proposing is, keep it to every OTHER weekend. Obviously, I'm not going to stay sober on those all-important special occasions. For instance, we've got Kon coming to town, Christmas, and New Years all on back-to-back-to-back weekends. But, if it's just a random spread in February, and there aren't really plans to do anything, there's no point in my making plans with the specific purpose of drinking in mind if it's not for something special.

OK, that's all I've got. I should get some work done.