Next Saturday is my birthday. My wife gives me a hard time over just how much I obsess over my age (which is to say, only slightly less than I do my weight) But I'm actually not sweating it that much this time out. I mean, relative to the ambivalent feelings I've had towards it in the past. I'm not as worried at, say, 33 and 345 days about turning 34 as I was on my 28th birthday about turning 30. I have a good job, a great family, and I have a couple of trips planned for the year... one out of the country (travel being one of those holy grails for the aging crypster, one barely sipped from in my 20's)
That said, however, I am now "In my 30's". Not "almost 30", where it's charming to pine like a "Must See TV" character about "what to do with my life?". Not "just turned 30", where all your friends get cutesy-poo and tease you about getting older. No, I am "In My 30's"... a grown man; and as such, I'm starting to behave like the person I want to be. It occurred to me, upon waking a week or so ago, how great it would be if I awoke on my birthday in the best health of my life. What if I lost those last lingering 5 lbs? What if I looked in the mirror and could see just a little bit more definition around my stomach, not Marky Mark "YO, boyeeeee, feel the vibration!" style, but just enough that my pants fit just a little bit looser?
What that means is, no more sneaking smokes from co-workers (as I've been known to do. Occasionally). It means riding my bike to work when I can (no problem there, my cruiser is my zen). It means knocking off the sweets (check). It means jumping rope and lifting weights a little more diligently (let's go!).
And then there's coffee. The Stuff. Though a diuretic, with some healthy benefits all it's own (in addition to all the other lovely things I can about it)- coffee, in excess, absolutely ravages the metabolism and adrenal system. In a fit of righteousness last week I promised myself that I'd detox for a couple of weeks, until my birthday, giving my body an opportunity to calibrate. Oh, I knew I'd start up again, but not until I'd given my nervous system a chance to... well... not be so nervous.
I made it four days.
Coffee is my last remaining vice, the one thing that I do for myself, whether the news says it's good for me this week or not. And let's face it... there's a lot worse vices out there.
I tried drinking green tea, but I just can't get behind that. I know that the stuff is supposed to help us achieve enlightenment (TM), and is thusly crammed into a strange array of products, and packaged w/ pictures of wizened men on mountain tops prepared to answer our most profound questions.
But try as I might to visualize myself as the 21st Century post-post modern sensitive Tai Chi master, it just didn't take. Yeah, yeah, green tea has caffeine. And "the patch" has nicotine. It just ain't the same, people.
But in the end, it's not just the caffeine. The ritual of going to a different shop every morning; the music, the mish mash of people from different walks of life, the awkward attempts at innocent flirtation w/ the girls behind the counter (just, you know, to keep in practice) all stimulate my brain nearly as much as the caffeine does. If this is "addiction", so is when my grandmother takes communion.
Hmmm. Maybe that means I've got some of the old spiritual awakening coming my way after all.
Unlike the many other Ted Campbells on the interwebs, I'm neither a minister, nor a professional motorcyclist, nor a gay realtor from Florida.
What I AM is an ass-kickin' father, a corporate schlep, and an occasional freelance writer.
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