So I'm giving up alcohol and Coke Zero for six months, a move that has prompted at least two people to furrow their eyebrows at me and say, "Are you trying to get pregnant or something?" (Cue an eye roll so big it can be seen from space, y'all.) The truth is that I'm fulfilling more of my self-imposed challenges (visiting Iceland got a big ole checkmark last summer, while getting married isn't going to happen before my deadline of July 14, 2014), not trying to clean out the babymaking factory floor, and I'm looking forward to the chance to maybe feel a little more wholesome.
I think Coke Zero will be the actual challenge; I gave up alcohol for a month in the winter, and, some late-night sleepiness notwithstanding, I had a pretty good time. Swearing off booze gave me a break from the late night/early morning/wasted day cycle of hangovers and spared me the next-day sads, both of which were great for feeling like I'm actually doing something with my life. Besides, summer is a great time to run around and stay up late, and, despite not having a boozy social lubricant, I'm sure karaoke/island bike rides/late night porch parties will be just as swingin' without a manhattan in my hand. And I'm not planning on being evangelical about it: special occasions will merit a glass of wine, as they always have, and likely always will, future pregnancy possibilities included.
But Coke Zero! Love of my life! Beacon of my delight! Since being introduced in 2005, I don't know if I've skipped a day for the last eight years, and the whole multi-sensory experience - the crisp pop of the tab, the effervescence of the first sip, the slight haze of excited carbonation floating on top for the first few seconds - is a ritualized glory. I rely on it as a morning and mid-afternoon pick-me-up, to keep me going through the late night party train, and a general go-to taste experience. It's a signature of mine, as much my big curls, my black tank tops, or my blogs. And to set it on the shelf for six whole months, purely as an exercise in self control? Well...shit.
I like a challenge, though! And what I've sworn off is, specifically, diet colas: aspartame-filled Fresca is still a green flag, as are a myriad full-sugar pops, sparkling water options, club sodas, kombuchas, juices, and smoothies. Will any of them match what is, in my mind, a near-perfect beverage? Likely not. Sugar pops make my mouth feel furry, kombucha bloats me out, and smoothies are a for the yogis and organic moms, not crabby little weirdos like me.
But I do relish the challenge. I want to be totally vice-free: not smoking or doing drugs opens the door for self-control in a number of areas, from big-ticket items (alcohol), to the foot soldiers in the vice armies: pop, sugar, processed foods, not being physically active, too much screen time...all the little things that add up to tight shoulders, glazed eyes, and crummy moods. Who wouldn't want to clear a little more space in their life for feeling good? Or at least experiment with ways of trying to capture that good feeling? It's possible that avoiding Coke Zero will be a failed experiment, and that I'll return to its crisp, familiar embrace with a satisfying tsss of a pop-tab being popped. But even if that happens, I'll be paying attention, not just mindlessly guzzling a product without knowing what it's like to live without it. I think that, in clearing and cleansing, my life will become fuller.
I also think that the next few weeks are going to be m'f'ing tough. So be nice to me, and if I seem grumpy, bring me a sparkling water and a high-five, okay? Okay??