Here’s the thing about drinking — it’s a multi-tasking activity and it makes lots of things even better. Here are just some things I really enjoy doing with a glass of wine in my hand:
- Taking a hot bath while reading a gossip magazine
- Liveblogging award shows and “The Bachelor”
- Cooking and eating
- Playing fetch with my dog in our building’s long hallway (since our apartment is small and it’s too cold for the dog park right now)
- Reading in bed
For the record, these are all frequent activities in my life and I will miss my friend Vino when I am doing them during this period of sobriety. Because I’m also giving up men — particularly the dating and sexing of them — I know I need to find new activities to put my energy into, especially things that wouldn’t be improved by, say, my favorite cocktail of Cristalino champagne and grapefruit juice.
- Writing my book. I’ve been working on a book/book proposal for, oh, forever now, and it’s currently sort of in limbo as I try and find a new agent. I was plugging away on a particular concept for awhile, but I’ve come to the conclusion that that concept maybe isn’t so sellable and honestly, I’m not looking to write a book no one — not a publisher or consumers — will buy. Yes, I love to write, but I also like to get paid. Anyway, the other night I had a complete epiphany about a new direction I could take the book in — an epiphany I had, by the way, while I was drinking wine and Skyping with my dad — and I’m getting excited about writing some new material and pitching it to a potential agent next week. With the exception of liveblogging reality TV and penning a funny listicle for The Frisky, writing is best done sober. Instead of saving my book writing for Sunday afternoons, maybe I’ll try doing a little work on the book on weekday evenings as well.
- Going to yoga. This one time I actually did go to Bikram yoga with a little buzz on. I’d had a few of my signature champagne cocktails and then got browbeaten into going to an 8 p.m. class by a friend of mine. Bikram already can kind of give you a case of the barfs because it’s so hot, but lordy, was it awful after a few drinks. I’m also pretty sure the alcohol seeping out of my pores gave the people around me a contact buzz. Suffice it to say, yoga is not made better by booze. I’ve been meaning to get back into a regular yoga routine — I usually have a hard time motivating at the end of a long day because the temptation to sit on the couch and watch “Intervention” with a glass of wine (oh the irony!) is so great. But not anymore! I always feel AMAZING after an hour-and-a-half Bikram class, partially because I am so proud of myself for sticking around for the whole thing and not wussing out, but also because I feel all limber and warmed up and purified.
- Making dinner plans with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Most of my girlfriends are in groups of two or three and I see them often, though a few of them recently had kids and don’t have as much flexibility. But I also have individual female friends that I’ve met over the course of my nearly 10 years in New York that I don’t see very often — they’ve got their own lives that don’t really intertwine with mine and as a result, we’ve fallen out of touch. I recently got back in touch with my friend Stephanie — we were interns together my very first summer in New York, two 19-year-olds who were dying to be magazine editors. I’ve trucked along on that path, but she’s realized her true passion is in education and she now teaches at a high school in the Bronx. I saw via Facebook the other day that she had gotten engaged and messaged her congrats; a few days later, she posted about her fiance playing a music gig at a club that happened to be near my apartment. I stopped by and it was amazing to see her and catch up. We’re going to go out again soon and it inspired me to make more of an effort to see other friends whose priority in my life has fallen by the wayside.
- Get over my fear of the phone. Speaking of losing touch with friends, I hold my phone phobia responsible for the rift in communication between myself and nearly every good friend from college. I went to school in California and many of my closest friends from that time stayed in or around the Bay Area after graduation. I, on the other hand, moved to New York a week after I crossed the podium and grabbed my diploma. At first, when I was lonely in New York and hadn’t made many friends yet, I stayed in good touch with those friends — but then my life sped up here, I made friends, I got a job, and soon I had a new life that was separate from theirs. And I got to be completely awful at keeping in touch. It’s been years since I had a lengthy conversation with, for example, my friend Lisa, who was one of my closest confidantes in college. She got married in October and I wasn’t invited. I understood, of course, but it made me sad to look at her wedding photos on Facebook, surrounded by her friends (who used to be mine too) and to know I missed out on this important occasion in her life because I have some inexplicable phobia of the telephone. So, while I’m setting goals for myself, catching up with old friends near and far is near the top of my list. I hope I can find Lisa’s phone number…
- Learn a new skill. Last night, the Frisky staff met up for a post-holiday dinner — I truly picked a great night to start my whole no drinking thing, right? Anyway, I learned something new and cool about Julie and Kate that has really inspired me. Julie is learning to play the ukelele and Kate is taking acting improv classes. Just for fun. Because why not? I realized it’s been since college that I took a class in anything. I’m not about to run to the local community college to enroll in Economics or something, but I am going to think about taking some sort of class one night a week. I used to study Italian in college, but I never reached fluency. Maybe I should take a conversational Italian class? Or maybe I’ll take Julie’s lead and start playing a new instrument — Ryan Gosling does play the uke, after all, and this whole “no dating” is not lasting forever. I love to cook — perhaps I should take my skills up a notch and enroll in a class at the Institute of Culinary Education. Hmmm … when I was in Tulum, Mexico last month for “Bikini Bootcamp,” my favorite activity was African dance — I do have a natural talent for flailing about with enthusiasm. The possibilities are endless.
Have you ever taken a break from drinking, dating, etc? Or just resolved to fill your time with something new and exciting? Please share in the comments!