Here is a list of things I used to really like:
Partying and staying out all night.
Fetishizing television shows that take place in Big Cities.
Here’s a list of things I like now:
Expanding my collection of comfortable knitwear.
Having one-sided conversations with my cat over a cup of tea.
Fetishizing tv shows that take place in the middle of goddamn nowhere (aka Shetland.)
I’ve written before about taking a break from drinking. It’s been six months and I’ve had maybe four drinks in all that time. For one thing, I’ve lost a taste for most alcohol. It often tastes too strong or sour to me. I can smell it on my husband’s skin hours after he has one beer.
I do like the occasional whisky or Old Fashioned, but one is plenty. After spending the last six months sober (except for those four cocktails, because lemme tell ya, one drink will hit you when your tolerance drops to nil), I’ve learned a few things about myself.
1. I don’t like being drunk. Even getting a little bit buzzed means a loss of control and I can’t drive. I live in a place without reliable public transport. Being sober means cranking up my Google Play tunes and driving alongside ragged cliffs and roaring seas. Being impaired means I have to stay in a sweaty throng of drunk people and wait for a ride or a cab, listening to someone tell me for the third time about that thing that happened this week that I didn’t care about THE FIRST TIME YOU TOLD ME, GARY.
2. I don’t like being hungover. I mean I never did like being hungover, but when the hangover went from violent vomiting in my twenties to mild headaches in my thirties, at least they were like, a sexy badge of honour, amirite?
Except they’re not. I have groceries to buy and writing to do and books to read and oceans within me to explore. Being hungover dims that sparkle. It means I can’t do anything except hang out at brunch having hair of the dog and starting the whole cycle again.
Which brings me to now. As the girl who once shut down the bars at seven a.m. in a big, loud city, it’s weird to be enjoying my quiet hometown for what it is. Honestly, it basically looks like Shetland anyway, so I don’t have to fly to Scotland. Just drive down to the beach and the cliffs.
Cities seem just too loud right now. And the convenience and cheapness of being able to get dumplings at four a.m. doesn’t match the solace of my own clear mind in the quiet fog at seven a.m. on a Saturday.
And maybe tea has replaced wine, and isn’t an activity unto itself, but it’s cold and damp here and it helps me think (kind of like talking to my cat).
It’s been a tough summer. I got really sick and my asthma went up to eleven, and I lay on my couch puffing on inhalers and worried I’d have to give up my cat. I couldn’t go to the gym. I could barely walk without getting out of breath. I got depressed and didn’t leave the house except to go to work and once to the emergency room for a nebulizer.
I got so depressed and didn’t go to parties and stayed in my own head. It was torture.
It went away, eventually. I got better, got out of the house, hit the gym. I think perhaps drinking would have made it worse, because you can ferment your chemical imbalances all you want, but it doesn’t fix the problem. If it had gone on for another week I would have gone to a counsellor, but it healed itself in time, for now. I do think not quaffing a depressant helped my brain find its balance sooner rather than later.
Saturday night some friends came over and we played a video game where you have to come up with funny jokes (the phrase Camp Mount Pooprock holds a bizarre and special place in my heart now). I hadn’t laughed so hard in months.
At some point throughout the evening, each person mentioned how laughing so hard felt cleansing.
That’s kinda how I feel now. Cleansed. Balanced. Whole. I feel fully present in my own life.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tell my cat she’s perfect and beautiful. #weirdo
So that’s where I am right now. Buying woo sweaters, reading, writing, drinking tea, talking to my cat, going to bed at a reasonable hour, waking up refreshed.