The funny thing about challenges, is that you really can roll in and out of them, like you can roll on a set of waves on a fairly calm day. Sometimes as you are catching a wave, or starting a challenge, it might feel like you are looking up at a tall wave face with no end of it in sight. As the wave rises, taking you with it, you can choose to hang tight and ride it out, or you can bail out, only to give up completely or try again another time. I have had a lot of wave faces and a lot of bailouts, theoretically speaking, as I have never actually surfed. If you do surf aside from here on the web, you could probably see right through my analogy. Thanks for staying on the board with me, anyway.
For example, in April, I challenged myself to be alcohol-free for the month (see my last entry about this). I started out with optimism and happy feelings around 3PM on March 31, and I continued to ride the wave through April. I saw a few sharks in the water, and buoys to cling to, but stayed on my board and kept paddling. I was doing well and was actually feeling pretty proud of myself until I fell off the board – the ‘wagon’ of my sea. On April 27th, there was a huge storm in town, (a real one, no metaphors this time) with thunder and lightning (real rough seas, for you non-land lubbers). Despite the rain and light/sound shows outside, the ambient temperature was pretty mild, so all the windows in the house were open. Amidst the storm, with the windows open, wonderful Steve and I turned on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and started a fire in the fireplace. It was a ‘perfect storm’, if you will, of great weather, a fire, a thrilling movie, and the company of two of my favorites (wonderful Steve and stinky Sammy). If you are confused as to who these characters are, check my About Me.
So, I had a glass of wine, at approximately 5:30PM on April 27th, about three days and some change short of my goal. But, to put a positive spin on it (and it would suit me to do so, in this situation, wouldn’t it?), I did make it 27 days and even smaller change without alcohol. It wasn’t that hard for those ALMOST four weeks, it was just the limiting myself that made me want to have a glass throughout the month. It’s like cutting out sugar or going on a diet – restricting yourself just makes you think about the restricted item more. It does in my case, anyway. I thought that it would be the tastiest glass I had ever drank. It was not, but it was good and made me happy to have it, like being taken out of timeout or getting off the diet and finally having a cheeseburger or a Klondike Bar. Speaking of, my sugar intake increased a bit during that month. Went from one bad habit to another.
So that’s the update on the alcohol-free challenge. Another update to another challenge is that I will finally be graduating from my Master’s program in just over a week. All the studying and work has paid off and I will have a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in Environmental Engineering (hint: think bioremediation and wastewater treatment plant design, stuff like that there). So by giving myself challenges for things that I would otherwise be doing, even begrudgingly, they are getting checked off the list. And I love checking things off the list. THE (life) list. ANY and all lists! So I guess you can say that I may have fallen off the wine board, but I found another one and jumped back on.
I have been thinking of more challenges and have come up with a pretty fun, albeit very short, list: ride my new bicycle to work and back as a commute (during the May is Bike Month challenge – it’s about 10 miles), pick up the Rosetta Stone French lessons I started years ago. I think I can fit these things into the otherwise quasi-busy schedule that I tend to keep. We’ll see… stay tuned! For now, goodbye: pour l’instant, au revoir (I think).
P.S. I was asked about where the photos in this blog come from and feel like a schmuck for not saying earlier. I get about 99% of the photos from Unsplash, where some wonderfully gifted photographers put photos for free use. Thank you, wonderfully talented people! And thank you, reader, for reading.