There’s a damp, clinging rain falling outside. The individual droplets aren’t big – in fact it’s nearly more like a mist than a rain. But it’s so dense that you get soaked within five minutes of walking in it.

Today is my long run day.

I think you can see where this is going. I don’t want to go out in it. It’s an additional obstacle to running in an unfamiliar area with dangerous traffic and no choice but some pretty intense hills.

I’m going to go out in it though, because I want to do my long run. And sometimes nothing screws my courage tighter than the obstacles I view as stopping me from doing what I want to do.

I still don’t want to do it though. It’s very tempting to use the weather as a valid excuse. But if you use rain as an excuse not to run in Ireland, then you’ll never get very far down a training programme. And next week I’ve two evenings that are interfering with my training plan.

***

In other news, it’s the first of October and I’ve made a tiny commitment to daily writing. Commitment? Well, more of an intention, I guess. September was pretty patchy for writing and I was definitely experiencing the impulse to drop the whole thing.

No one action on its own has that much of an impact on your life, for good or bad. I mean, short of the big stuff like murdering or marrying someone. Missing a day or two of writing doesn’t affect the overall trend. One drink won’t kill you. Or even destroy your motivation particularly. Neither will one cigarette. And one 30-minute walk won’t cure you.

Okay, I’m labouring the point – so here it is in plainer words: your habits are what define your life.

I’m thinking of life a bit like an impressionist painting. The meaning, the colours, the patterns – the picture – are only visible when you stand back at little. At the same time, it’s lived in individual moments, single colour choices, tiny choices of location for brush strokes.

Okay, okay, I’m knee-deep in metaphor this morning.

It’s just that it can feel so disconnected, these lone moments and the arc of my whole life. And if I get too much caught up in “living in” one or the other, I’m risking all of it.

Like, getting too caught up in “living in the moment” can lead a person down a path of hedonism, “enjoying” too much of alcohol or fine food, ignoring work responsibilities. After all, we might die tomorrow. (I might die out in that rainy run!)

But too much in the abstract overview? I think I’d end up detached and unappreciative of breathed in smell of a child’s skin, the feel of wind on my skin, the very reason and aim behind why I want to make money or be creative.

***

I had considered being honest with my parents about not drinking anymore. Instead all I said was “I’m not really drinking at the moment”. It’s not a lie, right? But it’s hard to say more than that. I linked it with a weight-loss reason. Very acceptable, right?

Why is it so hard to talk about my decision? When I gave up coffee for a few months back there, I let everyone within a three-mile radius know about it. In detail.

Being away from alcohol is finally having some systemic benefits. I had expected to experience them a lot sooner, but it’s only in the past month that I’ve really noticed: my stomach issues are way less prevalent, even with the added stress of being back at work. My headaches and migraines have lessened too. Heartburn is not plaguing me as frequently. Ditto on the stress of school stuff. I noticed a small uptick in the weeks after returning to school, but it never got as bad for me as it had been back in May and June.

Funny thing – in May and June I was alcohol free – for one to two months, so not even just for a couple of days. I could speculate and essentially make things up about the reasons. I have in my head that it was probably related to a liver functioning less than perfectly. Maybe there was even some damage done to stomach lining. I don’t know though. I don’t know how it all works. I wonder if it’s even been studied all that much.

It’s just interesting I guess – I’d decided all that stuff mustn’t have been related to alcohol at all, and now, nearly six months on, I’m drawing some different conclusions. Of course, there are way too many variables to control to draw any definite conclusions. I’m happy with my decisions, I continue happy. Maybe that’s enough.

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