by Lillian Csernica on January 3, 2016
Here we are on the doorstep of a brand new year. I live in the Northern Hemisphere, so it’s cold, damp, cloudy, often rainy. This kind of weather makes me want to stay in bed with a good book in hand and at least one cat curled up at my side. This is not the state of mind that goes well with all the usual resolutions people make at the start of the year. Most such resolutions involve exercise, diet, taking up some good habit or abandoning some bad one. I’ve expressed my feelings on the subject of New Year’s Resolutions here and here.
I’ve been up all night. Part of that was due to an effort to make progress on the climax of my current novel. Part of that was due to me falling asleep repeatedly throughout the day. I sat down on the couch, a cat would sit on my lap, and I’d wake up two hours later. This is the true meaning of the phrase “cat nap.” On a cold, wintry day, there’s nothing like a bundle of warm, purring fur to act on me like the strongest tranquilizer. More than once lately John has had to wake me up because I’ve been snoring while he’s been trying to watch something on TV.
Takes me right back to the days when I had to do the same thing with my mother. Ah, how history repeats itself.
It’s not just a matter of the cats sleeping on me at every opportunity. Yes, I am cat furniture. This role in my life has been well established. The real problem here has to do with what I’m not calling this year’s resolution. I have decided for several health reasons that it’s time for me to give up drinking soda. Soda, pop, cola, whatever you call it in the region where you come from. The salt, sugar, caffeine, and acid content are bad for my weight, my blood pressure, and my insomnia. So that’s it. No more. I’m going cold turkey.
I figured I’d go through a certain period of withdrawal. I’ve been expecting the headaches that come in the absence of caffeine. What I forgot about was how my dependency on caffeine has a lot to do with my level of alertness throughout the day. Now that I don’t have my caffeine fix, I’m going to have to come up with another way to achieve the level of alertness I need to write well.
Yes, I know, there are other sources of caffeine. Coffee leaps to mind. The trouble is, I do not like coffee. I never have. I don’t even like mocha-flavored ice cream. So becoming a coffee drinker is just not an attractive option.
Tea would be next on the list. Here now is another one of my peculiar little quirks. I don’t like drinking hot liquids. I don’t care how cold out it might be, I’d rather have cold juice or lemonade or quinine. Hot liquids and I just don’t get along.
Clearly, some kind of adjustments will have to be made. I might actually achieve a regular sleep schedule. Wouldn’t that be amazing? That might even lead to keeping regular work hours in my office. Good heavens, I could be well on my way to tidying up my messy artistic lifestyle. I can already imagine my husband and my sister making bets on when I go completely nuts and fall off the wagon, demanding a frosty Coke immediately or there will be hell to pay.
That brings to mind a classic aphorism oft quoted at this time of year: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I suppose that’s second cousin to “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We want to be virtuous, we think about doing the right/healthy thing, but when the moment of truth arrives, we are weak, wretched, flabby creatures.
And so I say to you, the truth of the matter should be phrased this way: “The road to good intentions is paved with hell.” Giving up one of my key addictions in the name of living longer is a noble goal. I’m just not going to be all that much fun to live with until I pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Withdrawal and come out into the land of Better Living.
Wish me luck!