As the long winter passes and the bright days of summer approach, I tend to make some promises. I’m not really a “new year resolution” kind of guy because the new year is smack dab in the middle of the most important two-month span in football; I won’t keep any promises with the playoffs approaching. Plus, who wants to exercise in the winter? Baby, it’s cold outside. So I start making my promises right around the third week of March, right around the advent of spring.
I usually make a list, and I usually number it strategically from one to whatever. After moving things up and down the list to find the perfect sequence of priority I generally decide they are in no particular order. So here it is, my list of 2016 promises, in no particular order:
- I want to spend more time with my wife. We both work an awful lot, in jobs that don’t have a merciful amount of flex time. The time we get to spend together is usually one or the other of us cooking a quick meal, exchanging funny customer stories, watching an episode of something like “Fringe” or “Longmire,” and then heading off to reading and showers before calling it a night. A brief “good morning” every day and off to work we go. I’d like to get her out of town a bit. I’d like to get her to the cinema more. We both miss sushi.
- I want to get in shape. I’m a little older so I don’t really care much about “vanity shape,” but I am starting to get concerned about “healthy shape.” My weight hovers around 185 most winters, which isn’t bad, and I’m usually close to 180 during spring, summers, and falls. It’s acceptable. I have a lot of size 34 pants. I have decent energy and, most of the time, I feel good enough taking my shirt off to jump in a pool. But five years ago, at this time of the season, I was around 175 and all them size 33’s fit, too. Comfortably. I was addicted to svelte. I was so intoxicated by healthy weight loss I found myself at 166 by mid-summer. 166. I slipped into some 32’s; I was damn near skeletal. Although my intention isn’t to find myself in the realm of emaciated again, I’ve had a running goal for 5 years to find myself consistently at the 175 mark and it’s been five years since I’ve seen it. I want to see it again. I want access to all my pants.
- I want to read more. Winter naturally kills my inclination to read because my favorite time to read is immediately after work and my favorite place to do it is on the deck. There is absolutely no motivation to read on a deck after work in the cold. Zero chance. So the only time I really read is right before bed time. Nine times out of ten that lasts no more than 20 minutes before the book, or e-book, falls onto my face signaling that it’s time to shut out the lights. You haven’t lived until your tablet PC falls onto your face at the end of the night. If someone would record it I’m betting I’d make funniest home videos. My wife laughs at me every time. So my intention is to read more at times when I can stay awake for it. I might even learn something, and the bruise on my nose would finally go away.
- I want to get more done. I’m a procrastinator, no doubt about it. If I can find any reason, any reason at all, to postpone an effort, I will. Yard work, in particular, is a victim of procrastination around my house. I hate yard work. Probably this stems from nearly 20 years in the yard work industry and the daily toll it took on me mentally. Partially this stems from the fact that I’m far more of an informational worker than I have ever been a labor worker. I’d rather sit around and make lists of things to do and strategic ways to get them done than to actually do them. That’s a manager’s mindset. Those cold days of winter make for good excuses to postpone outdoor things. Plus, football is on, right? Well, the sun is shining now (some days) and the only thing on TV is golf and cars racing in circles. I’m just not into that. I can get more done; I’m out of excuses. Or at least until the Lakers get good again … then I can put off yard work until June.
- I want to drink less. There, I said it. Out loud, and in a blog. God help me, the repercussions of this one will be profound. For some time now I’ve been experimenting with this, cutting back here and there, challenging myself to bouts of ridiculous and inappropriate sobriety just to see how things go. They didn’t go too bad. There have been times recently where I wish I would have had some drinks when I promised I would not, and times when I wish I hadn’t though I did. I think I’ve found a happy balance. I’ve quit altogether during the week, and that’s improved my mental acuity and level of energy. I like that. I could become addicted to that. I’ve measured the units I do consume in a sitting to make sure I get my fill but not too much. I’ve turned down a lot of free shots. I just don’t like the way it feels anymore, the next day. The next week. I’ve created rules for myself that have worked, but haven’t always worked. I’m still prone to dissipation; I’m the very definition of Jung’s Fool. I’ll make my rules and break them, too. I’m a living constitution, with the daily ability to amend. But if you see me out there, and you want to do something nice, buy me a beer or compliment me on my blog. Give me a hug or something. But don’t buy me a shot, I won’t drink it anymore. I’ve sealed that pact.
This was a lengthy one, so thanks for making it this far. Life is a long mission, one with many roads, and we are constantly in a state of stasis or growth. We are sticking to the old program or downloading an upgrade. A year ago or so I was bowling with a buddy when I was in league and he remarked that I was only on my 3rd beer in the 3rd game and that it wasn’t the first week he’d seen me so light on the bottle. I told him it was on purpose and that it was only the start of a long journey of evolution, or something like that. He joked that I was Tom 2.0. I ran with it. Right about now I would say I hover around Tom 3.8. I’m installing another upgrade today. Like all first editions it’s going to be buggy as hell but I get the notion that once it smooths out, once all the patches download, it’s going to be the best version of me yet.
I can’t wait to boot it up.