It’s the last day of “holidays”, tomorrow I return to school and work and days that are eaten by drudge and duty, and I feel woefully underprepared. But meanwhile, and before all that, I have things old and new to complain about.

Okay, it’s just the same “old” things to complain about. The “new” is really just an “again”.

Yesterday, for the first time in ages, I thought about drinking. Specifically red red wine. I could nearly smell the thick fruit of it. The warm acid hit of that first mouthful. The creeping forced relaxation throughout my limbs as my legs suddenly get all giggly and de-tensioned. And that old hideous though flash across my mind like a banner:

“Really? Never again?”

But the answer is easy, really. Drink if you want to, self. But do you want to? Is that something you really want? And before you answer, self, you need to answer the whole question. You’ll need to want back the anxiety, the weight-gain, the time-loss, the expense, the erosion of self, the increased risk of cancer, the self-hatred, the days lost to hangover and regret and fear.

“Sure”, says Self. “I get that, I get that whole list, I definitely don’t want that whole list, but that whole list doesn’t come with one drink!”

Sure it does, Self. Sure it does. Think about it? When have you ever wanted one drink? I mean, even when one drink was enough to get you pretty tipsy, you wanted more-more-more of that feeling. You always wanted to go “beyond”. You were always dissatisfied, always saying “Is this it?” and looking for the promise of imagined worlds and potential that could be glimpsed from the bottom of the 2nd and 3rd glasses, but turned to ash and faded away at the bottom of the 5th and 6th glasses.

Am I trying “too hard” to convince myself of something here? Am I going to be back to “white-knuckling” and destined to buckle to the societal and personal and nostalgic pressure that’s bound to come crashing in over these coming Wint’ry holidays?

C’mon, Self. Does it really taste that good? Does it really feel that good? Or are you just having rememberances and bouts of nostalgia, possibly triggered by baking Christmas goods?

There’s more though. My eating.

I’ve slipped back into binge and comfort eating. I’ve noticed myself eating when I don’t want to, when I’m not hungry, but instead stressed or tired or desiring of reward and escape. And late night heart-burn (at least I think it’s heartburn, I certainly hope it’s heartburn!) has been a frequent visitor. I’m struggling with the temptation to overly restrict early on in the day when I have the willpower and then I’m not even struggling with temptation in the evening – I’m just full on giving in to that.

I suspect stuff is all coming from the same place, but I’ve not been checking in with myself at all. I just caught myself there: my stomach hurts, and I guess I must have been aware all along that my stomach hurts, but it’s like I’m holding that all away from my awareness. I don’t want to face up to it because if I do, two things will happen: 1.) I’ll get worried and carry low-level death-panic around with me. 2.) I’ll have to put in the effort to do something about it.

And I’m not really feeling like I’ve much effort to give at the moment. I “need” to eat plainer food. Maybe? Maybe if I stopped drinking so much caffeine for half a second things would improve. Maybe if I stopped binging on processed food in the evenings when the kids are in bed things would improve too. Maybe if I meditated and reduced my stress …

You get the maybe-picture.

I just feel very unwilling to do the work around any of that. I could list out the reasons excuses detailing why it’s hard. It doesn’t matter. Stuff is hard, everything is hard. Seems like life is designed to be that way, because it actually feels ridiculously unsatisfying when it’s not.

I feel my most alive scaling mountains in my life. Even the stress of the coming school weeks with their unknown crevasses and potential embarrassments and social awkwardnesses will be part of it. When I stop for more than the time to make camp and regather reserves and supplies, I start to wither; I get lazy; I want to do less; I want to live less.

So maybe I need to make a plan of attack right now. And I mustn’t forget to breath in this beautiful, high mountain air. You can only get it up here.