the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
Bear with me for another one of my philosophical metaphors.
I was reflecting this morning on an unpleasant conversation with C yesterday. Having worked through the anger last night after he went to bed, I was mulling over how I could have reacted differently, handled it better, expressed myself more clearly knowing what I know about my husband and the way he hears things. Then I set it to the back of the brain pan and started into a strenuous work day.
Now, mid-day, I’m realizing that I’ve bounced back more quickly than I used to…Not that anything has been solved or resolved but my resiliency has improved, I think.
In another area of my life, I’ve noted an increased resiliency after strain: my joints. I credit the cleaner diet together with consistent exercise and stretching.
So of course I’m going to try to draw parallels.
Is it possible that strain and stress, basically “working out” physically or mentally, increases resilience? What does that mean for relationships? Maybe all the pain and angst of life can, if you choose to allow it, change you in positive ways.
Back, and still sober! This weekend was exhaustingly, wonderfully full, leaving me wrung out at the end of both days. Between that and the fact that last week was an off-track week for me in a number of ways, I didn’t get around to posting.
This week, I’m planning to be back on track 100%.
In spite of the wrinkle in usual routine though, I stayed on the wagon through the boozy Cinco de Mayo party and even, dare I say, enjoyed it MORE than usual.
I’m beginning to realize that alcohol did NOT calm me down or help me socialize with more ease. My memories of this event involve loud, obnoxious conversations with friends, interspersed with panicked moments of wondering where my kids were (always close by, but hard to track in a packed house and yard). It’s been interesting having these Firsts – and experiencing flash-backs while talking with people. “Hmm this time last year, I was yelling in her ear about my own personal problems, having no idea how badly that made me look” or “I would have been on my 3rd or 4th drink by now, and my social skills would be slowly slipping as I awkwardly made my way around the party”.
Sure, I would have become more animated and touchy-feely when drinking. But I remember the awkwardness, the interrupting people, talking loudly over the top of others, not knowing the best way to connect, more than anything.
I’m noticing a couple differences between Sober Me and Drinking Me that are neither good nor bad. I’m quieter, keep more of my problems to myself, sometimes feel shy or withdrawn in social settings – more than I did before. And I’m less hug-y. Still figuring out the appropriate personal boundaries now that alcohol isn’t a factor in lowering them.
Grateful to all of my friends who push past the quietness and reluctance to embrace me warmly and open themselves up to conversation.
In preparation for Cinco de Mayo (which of course is a recognized agency holiday), work is throwing a little late-afternoon booze fest starting in a few minutes. I just walked by the line-up of tequila and beer on my way back from a meeting.
In the past, I would have relished this opportunity to start drinking sooner – on the company dime, nonetheless… and would have the driven long commute driven with a slight buzz on, looking to instantly dose myself when I got in the door to keep that buzz going.
I don’t miss that compulsion, or even the slight break (somewhat false, as the work is always still there). I almost typed out how much I prefer a sober mind, and then realized how hypocritical that is when I’m looking forward to smoking pot this weekend. Ha!
Maybe to clarify, I can offer that I prefer a sober mind at work and at home, when family responsibilities require it. When the kids are in bed, and it’s Saturday night? Another story… at least for now.
Looking ahead at a boozy weekend as well – another Cinco party tomorrow hosted by our well-connected friends. It’s always a big drinking affair, but this time around I’m looking forward to bringing a refreshing seltzer drink to share along with our other food offerings.
In the office today and headed out to a happy hour at the moment. I thought I’d sign in quickly before diving into the celebrations (team completion of a big project). I think this will be my first work happy hour at a bar since quitting, and for that as well as other reasons, I plan to keep it short.
The agency I’m working at now is in the same office park as another agency I worked at for 5 years – so the bar scene around here is familiar, and we’re headed to the local favorite. I’m thinking I’ll grab a seltzer with lime – and honestly, I’m looking forward to avoiding the sugar-alcohol combo of this place’s house margaritas served in massive bowl-sized glasses.
Grateful for being back on track with exercise, meditation and clean eating… I feel so much better today than I did after the weekend. Grateful for healthy, happy kids, for their relationship with C (indicated by how much they missed him last night while he was out), and for a somewhat relaxing evening ahead.
Thanks to C’s work schedule I’m working from home again today, and am grateful for the slow return to work. Kids need to be picked up shortly, and tonight I’m on my own while C attends a show in NY for work so I’m here to cram a few thoughts in.
While traveling, I continued my personal research into the science behind fasting (had anyone conducted a study using human data as opposed to mice? etc) and found myself pondering the philosophical meaning behind deprivation.
In our developed world, we have an increasing amount of ways to fill the void – exponential access to news & entertainment, food of all varieties, social media, drugs both legal and non, robotic shopping assistants etc etc etc. There is no end to ways in which we might satisfy a craving, scratch an itch, feed our internal hunger, find fulfillment even.
But what if the truer road to happiness were in depriving ourselves of all this excess?
Finding our way back to our most basic selves, our center – the core of our being striped of artifice… in the search for real health.
The idea behind fasting is that when the body is deprived of food, it begins a process of purification – getting rid of the bad cells and making more of the good. I’m completely over-simplifying it but philosophically – what if the same were true of a more holistic deprivation?
My SIL sent me an article today that fits nicely into this idea of returning to basics, cleansing, giving ourselves a rest. The woman featured describes her journey toward a healthier way of being, stress being the initial catalyst:
The physical awareness she found through yoga is, she says, what brought her to cold-pressed juicing. “It allowed my digestive system to get a little rest,” she says. “I think today we generally need rest from a lot of things.”
I’m (mostly) back! It’ll take a few days to acclimate into our wonderful mix of chaos and structure here in NJ, but I’m glad to be back.
First sober festival attendance: CHECK
In the few minutes I have before the evening crazy begins, I’ll try to recap the weekend from a sobriety point-of-view.
The first evening after flying into Cincinnati, I joined my brother and his family while they hosted his lab’s post-docs and grad students for an informal taco dinner. Tired from two days of travel and feeling like lounging in my sweats while catching up with my brother, I wasn’t quite prepared to be social and engaged. As those around me grabbed glasses of wine (“You want a glass? No thanks, just water is fine”), I worked on asking questions and really listening.
In the past, I would have been preoccupied with the impression I thought I was giving the room – trying to be bubbly, funny, engaging, and smart… rushing to comment on conversation topics, talking loudly, laughing more than was necessary.
While others may not have noticed, this time I found I was OK taking a back seat, staying quiet, under-sharing rather than over-sharing. This ended up being true for the weekend in general.
Saturday and Sunday were sunny days full of music and touring Cincy with my brother, getting to see his new workplace and their new home. While others in our group kept a steady dose of beer going, I stuck with water and barely missed it. The only times it felt a bit awkward were the happy “Cheers!!!” that kept happening. Empty-fisted me would just give a smile and thumbs up.
Sunday and Monday mornings were happily regret-free, as I joined my niece and nephew for early AM breakfast without the hangover residue. And I flew out yesterday knowing that my memories of the weekend were intact.
Overall, while it was a different experience from previous festivals, I can’t say I missed the booze much. The few moments when I did were either the chilly evenings where a buzz might have helped warm me up, or social settings where I felt awkward without a drink in my hand. Both situations were easy to talk myself out of, and the rewards were immediate.
Proud of myself!
Now, back to the daily grind and hopefully back into a healthier eating/exercising pattern. While I may not have ended the weekend hungover and exhausted, my gut biome and muscles are not happy with the disruption in routine.
Side note: one thing I have noticed since quitting (and maybe thanks in part to all the healthy lifestyle tweaking) – I’m more body-aware, less caught up in my head. Grateful for this shift.