This summer has definitely not turned out to be what I had envisioned. Let me say up front, that I am not complaining, simply observing. Back in January, I started a quest for change, focusing on less work and more time to think, write and be more left-brained. This goal was going to be achieved by working part-time at a job that appealed to my passions allowing me to get away from the stifling routine of daily cubical life.
Finding myself deep in the heart of summer and farm season and working full-time at 9 Miles East, I realized that there was little opportunity for taking much time off. Summer days are filled with harvesting, delivering vegetables and cultivating new rows of seedlings as old plants get retired to the soil. It is a highly creative and satisfying endeavor and the variety of important tasks is on many levels up-lifting. The work appeals to me; meeting goals with a beginning, middle and an end, using my body and mind to get the work done, watching the progress of the natural world (which is full of incredible surprises) and imagining future plans at the farm. It has been an exhilarating boost, yet lately my decision of taking a year off from drinking is weighing heavily on me.
It all started with our micro-vacation….
The question of a summer vacation had been put aside lately but an irresistible invitation showed up in my email and we just had to consider it. Not wanting the leave the farm for long at this time of year, Philip and I decided it was feasible to sneak away for what our friend Taylor dubbed a “micro-vacation.” This consisted of exactly 28 hours at the ocean—specifically, Essex, Massachusetts. Spontaneously, deciding to take this trip we loaded up the car and hit the road. We normally take a summer vacation ( 5-7 days) and this year, we were going to have to be satisfied with an abbreviated version of our usual trip to see our friends.
It was a sunny two days at the beach and the surroundings were stunningly beautiful. The time spent on the water and lounging while reading books was amazing. I realized while re-reading Stanley Kunitz’s, The Wild Braid, just how important it is to take time to think, and reflect on the creative process. There is no better way to do this for me, than to be physically away from my routine sitting by the ocean.
At night, when visiting our friends, we spend our time making beautiful, healthy meals, talking and drinking. This particular slate of activities to me is just so much fun. We are all compatible in our love of good food, and the shared bottles of wine and cocktails enhance our abilities to flow in conversation and muse about the goings-on in our lives . What I have come to realize is being in this situation while staying abstinent from alcohol diminishes the entire experience.
That last statement is the honest truth. Adding alcohol to a dinner or cocktail party creates a sense of connection and ease between people. In previous entries I have attributed some of the unease that I feel at dinner parties (while sober) to my introverted tendencies. I think that there is more to this sensation than I have yet to acknowledge. Alcohol smooths out the edges and frees up the mind to stop self-editing. Simply put, having a drink or two makes me feel more relaxed and I become a part of the party and not just an observer.
Since returning from our brief hiatus, I have been feeling quite miserable about not drinking. After a long day of exhausting and satisfying work, I do not feel the need to numb myself from the stress of the day. I would just simply like to enjoy fruits of my labors (all those fresh vegetable dinners) and pour a glass of wine or mix a summer drink to complement the flavors of a healthy dinner—and kick back. The decision to deprive myself of this desire now seems tedious and annoying.
I have considered giving this whole thing up…but I can’t do that. It feels like pooping out right before the finish line and that is just not my style. I will say however that the enjoyment that I am presently obtaining from writing this blog is not (at the moment) outweighing the frustration that I feel about giving up the booze. This is where willpower has to kick in and keep me focused. Tomorrow will mark eight-months of this project. I continue to visualize the celebratory feeling that I will accomplish when December 1st arrives and look forward to the closure and satisfaction of doing what I set out to do.