It may surprise people when I say this, but…
I didn’t fully enjoy myself to the max last 4th of July.
How can you possibly not have fun on the 4th?
It was fun, but not as fun as it should’ve been. And not just because I didn’t have time to sneak into Wisconsin to pick up rockets and mortar shells..
I mean, other than that, I had the perfect setup.
I had the time off. A full week of it. I was at the lake, surrounded by family that only gets together once a year. There was plenty to do… swim, boat, ski, chat, toss a football in the water, bags, s’mores on the fire, write my name in the air with sparklers. The weather was even mostly perfect.
But somehow, I managed to make myself feel like garbage last year. I just hit the snacks and beer way too hard right away and kept going. Uncomfortable and generally worn out, I couldn’t really enjoy all the great stuff going on in the sunshine and on the lake.
It seems to happen every year. I just resign myself to these thoughts…
Well. I’m gonna go a little overboard on the snacking and suds this week. There’s no way I’ll have the will power to resist that delicious spread of chips, dip, cookies, cake or that one, or two or fourth beer to tilt back with my brother. And it’s not a vacation and there’s no way I’ll be able to really have fun unless I give myself free reign to consume whatever I want.
Nonsense! I’ve been trying to change that line of thinking, starting with my 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall challenge this year. I’ve been trying to reprogram myself a little bit. I’ve been trying to build much better habits. And I’m using this blog to help me do it, because writing things down and announcing them to the world, make them more serious for me.
If you’ve read my 99 bottles article, you know I’ve limited myself to 99 beers this year. And you probably realized I could easily quit the challenge. It’s just an arbitrary number I picked because it made for a catchy title, and no one really cares too much if I make my goal besides me.
But every time I think about quitting, I think about that article and the 79 readers, so far, who can testify to my promise to the blogosphere. And I think about the 6 souls who have taken the time to comment on the article and give me encouragement. That’s kept me on pace. Thanks guys!
I’m 50 beers in. I’ve got 49 to go, with about half the year left. I think that’s pretty good.
Now it’s time for a bigger challenge. Well, a bunch of little big challenges rolled into one, really. I’m heading back to the lake this week to celebrate The 4th of July once again with my family. I said, I made myself feel like garbage last year with all the snacking and beer. This year, I’m gonna soak in all the good times the right way, without all the extra junk. I hope this big test will lead to better habits the rest of the year.
8 Beers: I’m not crazy. I always knew The 4th of July was going to be one of the biggest tests of my 99-beer challenge. That’s why I’m front-loading July’s beer allotment for this week. I’ll go dry the rest of July.
8 beers. That’s roughly one beer a day for the week-long family get-together. No easy task on the 4th. Matter of fact, I may end up stretching that number to 12, taking some from August. But I’ve been so doing well in training I think I could hit 8.
Two Cups of Coffee Per Day: After the initial kick, I usually settle into a bit of a fog that hangs over me for the day when I drink too much coffee. Anyone else get that? I need to stick with two small cups of coffee to stay out of the fog.
One Soda Max Per Day: I’ll try to avoid soda altogether. The sugar rush and quick crash just give me a case of the grogs. But I won’t beat myself up for cracking a can of Coke here and there.
Veggie Carrot Grazing Only: There will be chips. Chips galore. But I’m gonna limit myself to one handful of chips during each meal.
That leaves the veggie platter to graze on throughout the day. I’ll have to snack on plants in-between meals. This will be a big challenge, because I don’t really like many things with leaves.
I don’t like raw peppers. I’m not a fan of tomatoes. I can’t stand celery and I hate cauliflower. In fact, I pretty much only like the baby carrots in our typical veggie spread. So, that’s it, I guess. Carrots. I should have some pretty good eyesight by the end of the week.
No Food After Nine: One great way to get a crappy night’s sleep and set yourself up for a crappy start to the next day is to stuff your face full of food late the night before. I always do this during the 4th of July family week, usually at our late-night card games. And I always regret it.
Digital Darkness Between 9 and 9: My phone hasn’t been a huge distraction in past years. But I didn’t have a blog those years, either. And there were no stats to check or tweets to retweet. This will be an important boundary for me to set this year.
I’ll be turning my phone off during the day between the 9s. It’s the only way to truly enjoy the way too short time I get to spend with my great family. Being present without distraction.
As for the fireworks… they’re much better when you go overboard, right? We made sure to stockpile plenty of mortar shells this year for max explosions. Sparklers are for the kids.
That’s my challenge. Thanks for reading, everyone. Just by looking at this, you’ve been huge in helping me reign in some of my bad habits.
And to all my readers in ‘Merica, Happy 4th of July!