My New Relationship
I considered giving you the complete memoir of my life with booze. I started writing, then I read what I wrote and then I stopped and deleted it. Don't worry. There's no big revelation to be shared. On the contrary. You've probably heard or lived my story already. The Cliff's Notes version is that I have always had what would be considered a pretty typical relationship with alcohol for a person who enjoys drinking. It's been a ton of fun. And I wouldn't take anything back.
But recently my feelings about drinking have mutated. You see, our relationship has almost always been of the binge variety (at least 4 drinks), which is something I must admit, even if I feel I could usually conduct myself with some semblance of decorum. Being able to handle my alcohol is completely separate from the consumption of alcohol. Have I had one drink in one sitting and been satisfied? You bet. Has that been the norm? Not really.
After you have a kid, you start to pay attention to things with an eagle-eye focus. Like the way you act, for example. You can tell they're watching you. Taking cues from you. Learning from you. So the idea of how I conduct myself around my daughter has been on my mind.
But even beyond that, as you get older your body reacts to the things you put into it so differently. I had heard grumblings from people older than me about how your body changes and how getting old is hell and of course, like an arrogant youth, I chalked up their bitching to frustration at time passing by without their permission. Now I'm on the other side and it's like someone has ripped the bag off my head.
When I was 29, I could run 3 miles at 8 a.m. after 6 drinks the night before without a second thought. At 39, 4 drinks most definitely translates into a headache and the desperate yearning for two naps that will never come because my 6-year old expects me to be ready for playtime, as she should.
Over the last year or so, I just haven't felt great when I drank - both during and after. I've considered reigning it in for a while now. January 1 was the perfect time to give it a try. The new year is our unspoken time to clean out anyway. So it wasn't an unusual move. We'd take 8 weeks off (maybe slip in one or two along the way) and then our trip to Mexico was going to be the best time for a little blowout.
No work. No kid. Endless cocktails.
And while I enjoyed a fair number of drinks during our trip, I didn't consume as much as I have on vacations passed. I just didn't want to. Each morning I woke up feeling rested and ready for another day of nothing. I didn't lose one moment of my vacation to a hangover. Without really meaning to, I think I made a mental shift.
This past Saturday felt like the old days. The sun was dazzling, my husband put in a fire, played some new music and we each cracked a beer. And I very much enjoyed mine. I had one more and then instead of chasing a good time by drinking more, I just settled into what was clearly already my favorite kind of moment. For once, I didn't feel like I was missing an opportunity to etch some sort of event into my manuscript. It was perfect just the way it was.
This is by no means a declaration of abstinance. I am pragmatic after all, and I enjoy cocktails with my favorite people. But I think I'm finally at a point where I don't have anything to prove. Where actually enjoying the drink is more important than wearing the number like a badge of honor. Where getting bombed is boring and making it to a.m. yoga is goals. It feels good and I'm not scared of the change anymore. But...
Don't remind me of this post on my birthday in June.
Everything in moderation, including moderation ;)