The new year is here and many folks are probably feeling the after effects of too much celebration. All too often, this is an annual occurrence and it seems that over the course of a year, we tend to forget just exactly what the morning-after feels like.
Of course no one wants to stifle New Year celebrations with their positive outlooks, hope for better days and time with friends. How else will we ever learn the lessons of over indulgence such as beer goggles, DUI's, close inspection of the porcelain throne and a maybe a compulsory fight or two?
Being the son of a pastor, I spent all my New Year Eves at church. It always started with a potluck dinner and then we would move into a two or three hour extravaganza rivaled only by Las Vegas itself. Then we all had to maneuver our way home through DUI checkpoints and convince young police officers that someone actually did attend church until 1 a.m.
The older you get the harder it is to remember that the year has changed as evidenced by the total concentration required when filling out the dateline on a check. I usually hang onto the past year's date for a month or two so this is either a reluctance to give up the past or, as Trixie likes to so often point out, I am getting old.
We also take time now to make new resolutions with the intent of bettering our lives in some way. These can vary from getting a new job, finding a new love, buying a house, writing that long overdue book, saving money or volunteering at a local shelter.
The best ones however, are the resolutions involving personal changes. Most of us chase our weight around like some over grown elephant stomping through a sugar cane field and it becomes harder to either keep it off or lose it once we find it. It’s like an overbearing, cigar smoking, drunken, old uncle who visits for the holidays then forgets to go home.
I am once again making an extreme effort to lose my excess pounds and somehow walk carefully and quietly away from my own elephant this next year. I think he snuck up on me as I was eating a Snickers Bar and captured my soul.
There was a time, not too long ago, when I was thin and trim, but thought I was hungry all the time. I thought I was hungry but not even sure that I know what hungry even looks like. We tend to overeat because it’s time to eat, because we are bored, hurting or depressed or, well, it tastes so darn good.
Try as we may, it seems that losing pounds is one of the hardest things we try to do. It’s right up there with quitting smoking or drinking. And we all know if you quit smoking you gain weight and if you drink enough to stay skinny, you die young. There is no justice at all in this world.
Trying to lose weight in the New Year also makes a huge impact on the economy of the United States. January is the largest income producing month for health club sign membership drives as people flock there with such good intentions.
Mornings and evenings you can find newly outfitted believers pumping iron, biking to nowhere on stationary machines or sweating to the oldies. They even have a class called Zumba which is something between exercise and torture. All of those plus a myriad other activities are intended to keep us on track and lead us lead us to our goal of losing pounds and inches. For us men, it’s more about watching the cute trainers.
But alas, exercising moms soon fade in a rush of overtime at work; kids to deliver to sporting events; meals to fix; laundry to do and houses to clean.
Men also have distractions that keep them from exercise such as the obligatory basketball game to watch, beer drinking with buddies, school games to attend, ice fishing, and the most strenuous of all, “hiding out.” Finding out the cute trainers are all younger than our own kids also puts the hiatus any flirtatious ambitions and we simply drift away.
So if you resolve to dissolve this year, please remember those around you and try and not bite off their heads as you starve yourself to the new you. Remember, they are just being themselves while you are trying to be someone else.
And for those men out there that would like to learn my techniques for appearing to be busy, watch for my coming column on “Hiding Out.” It will be a refresher course for some and highly informative to the man who is kept busy by his spouse.