Winter Break is officially over. I know this because my alarm went off at 7:05 and then again at 7:18. Having my alarm go off that early depresses me. Knowing the cold morning air awaits me. Knowing that returning to the bed is a whole day away.
My dog Andy does not share this hatred of the morning. The second my alarm went off he was jumping and racing back and forth. I have no idea how he has much energy at 14, but eating is pretty cool, and dog food must be delicious.
The windows of my car were frosted over. I did the thing where you pull the knob and water shoots onto the windshield. A flaccid spray weakly spit onto the bottom of the glass. It felt symbolic of something. I’m not sure what.
Me and my icy windows pulled out onto Howell Road and made our way to school. I turned on NPR and there was a story about this thing called Dry January.
Not Iran. Not Australia burning to the ground. But Dry January.
Dry January, if you couldn’t tell from the context clues, is when you don’t drink for the first month of the year. That used to be called a Resolution, but apparently that isn’t hashtagable enough so here we are.
I’ve been sober for the past 11 1/2 years so Dry January isn’t really something I do. But I understand the urge to get ones life in order, especially after the “Where Did My Money Go” December.
I listened to the story on my ten minute drive to school, and something they said peaked my interest. They interviewed this woman from Rochester, NY, where is average temperature is 1, and she said one of the reasons she drank so much was out of boredom.
What an incredibly honest answer! And true! Drinking is one of the great cures for boredom in human history. Couple shots of gin can turn the most mundane activity into a party. Cooking, cleaning, taxes. Seriously, if you haven’t e-filed drunk on tequila are you even alive??
They had an expert on who responded to this woman’s answer. The key, she said, was to replace drinking with something.
That’s what I did. When I stopped drinking I started cooking more. I started reading more. I did the crosswords. I took a trip. I was getting drunk every day so I had loads of time to fill.
I try and apply this same idea to other issues in my life. If I want to give something up, I need to replace it with something else. Occasionally I’m successful, but this week I haven’t been.
The end of last month was all about scans, and when I’m worried about scans it’s easy to put the normal problems of life in their place. When I’m wondering whether or not the cancer is growing, who gives a shit about money. But since the scan was good, I can now join the rest of humanity fretting about the little things. I’ve spent the past two days arranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic figuring out how to make it through January. That and arguing with the entire insurance industry in my head.
So in solidarity with those not getting wasted in January, I am going to try not to worry.
And I’m going to replace it with wine.
I’m going to replace it with not caring.
Let’s see how it goes.