Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Sober October

I’ve challenged myself to quit drinking, possibly for the foreseeable future but definitely for the month of October. This challenge has been added to my previous decision to incorporate daily some form of physical exercise, flute study, French and German practice, and personal meditation. Combined with my renewed focus on proper nutrition and sleep habits and I can honestly say I've never felt better. 

This body of mine was not intended for a desk job. I am not built to sit in one position all day long, hunched over a screen, trying to work ahead on the computer.

I can no longer spend my weekends wallowing in bed all day before leaping up to go sit on a barstool all night. My body does not appreciate those long mornings and afternoons wasted from the night before. They say drinking borrows happiness from the following days and this has never been more true. I can't continue to treat my body, the only one I will ever have, this way.

When I returned from my trek in India I had never felt better. The food I was eating was unprocessed, simplistic, and whole. I was extremely well hydrated thanks to countless cups of tea and bottles of water, and my body was being used to the peak of its physical potential. I hadn’t had a headache in two weeks and I was ecstatic.

I thought it was the food, water, and exercise. Don’t get me wrong, it was all of those things. But perhaps it was also the lack of alcohol. This next month I've decided to test that. Although I am not an alcoholic, I only drink socially on weekends and over long breaks, I am interested to see how completely eliminating alcohol from my diet will effect me. 

So far, so good. This morning I ran 8km. I did not plan it, I just woke up and felt the need to run today. So after drinking some preparatory water and having a small bowl of cereal I laced up my tennis shoes and ran out the door. I stretched myself. I opened up my stride and just let myself go. My hips, back, legs, and neck felt better and better with each step. I did some sprints for fun, to see just how long and even each pace could be, to remind myself of what my body is capable of. I listened to my body and responded by walking when my knee started to hurt. I enjoyed the morning for what it was: a pain free moment in which I could revel in the sheer physicality of my body. It was a positive, healthy, and active start to my day; a moment to breathe in the semi-fresh (read: polluted) air; a symbolic transition into a new phase of my life as I embrace health, conscious dietary choices, and a wholehearted pursuit of my career as a musician.

I feel more optimistic about my potential and my future than ever before, which is ironic considering the fact that these next few months are some of the most unstable, uncertain, and unreliable ones of my life so far.

I want to let the terrible migraines that wipe me out for days on end be the reminder to enjoy the days where I am completely healthy. I want to prove to myself that I can continue to progress and become a more accomplished musician. I want to see what happens to my body as I listen to it more fully, following what it wants and not what I do. I want to be happy.

So it's time to be selfish and do what I want for me. That time came long ago, but I didn't listen. Now I can no longer ignore it. I'm 25 years old, a quarter of a century, and my life is mine. It's time to start living my own life, rather than letting life happen to me.

You should do the same. 

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