Monday, January 4, 2016

The Shape of Things to Come

Welcome to the New Year! Made it through the holidays okay? I can’t believe I lasted all the way to midnight. Back in ancient times, when the car and I were both a lot younger, I used to drive down to a friend’s house in Valley Forge for her annual New Year’s party. And then drive home at around 1:30-2:00 in the morning. Sometimes with ice and/or snow on the road. I’d get home around 3:30, go to bed, and get up again around 7 am because all the caffeine (I can’t drink booze; it doesn’t agree with my finicky stomach) and adrenaline had jacked up my system to the point I couldn’t sleep. Then I’d stumble around the house all day like a zombie and take down my Christmas tree. Flash forward to the here and now, where if I can stay awake to 10:00 pm I consider it an achievement. I’m still better off than my brother, who says he hasn’t seen the ball drop in ten years. These days he’s usually in bed by nine. Of course, he’s nine years older than I am. And always will be. Nyah nyah.

Anyway, it’s that time again. Got your resolutions made? All set to kick those bad habits, get that new car or that new job, dump those pounds padding your ass and hanging off your gut? Not me. I’ve finally called it quits. What’s the point? Every year I make resolutions and every year they fizzle out before the first week’s over. Then I just feel crappy. I don’t want to feel crappy. The easiest way out of this vicious cycle is not to let it start. So screw you, New Year’s resolutions. I reiterate: nyah nyah.

And then the future went and threw me a curve. Looks like I’ll have to make a resolution after all, and stick with it at least until September. Even worse, it’s one of the toughest: lose weight. In my case, a considerable amount of weight.

Why? I hear you ask. What could possibly entice lazy me into finally shucking my excess poundage? Vanity, pure and simple. Y’see, my brother’s youngest, my nephew, is getting married in September. I’m going to have to show up for the wedding. In a dress, or quality pants at the very least. In public. That means I’ll need to get something that fits me. I don’t think elastic-waistband jeans are appropriate for a wedding for anyone over the age of 20, unless the bride is marrying one of the Rolling Stones or something. So I’ll have to find something decent-looking.

Yeah, right. If you’re bigger than a size 6, good luck with that. In the fashion industry, size 10 is considered Plus. All the good-looking clothing is designed for skinny little scarecrows with no hips or boobs. The rest of us … well, just take a stroll through your local WalMart. Be sure to bring plenty of eyedrops.

I have no choice. If I want to look presentable for my nephew’s wedding, I’m going to have to dump some padding, or at least inches. That means a plan. A—what’s the word I want? Resolution. Damn. And the new year was going so well.

Therefore, I have resolved to make a series of New Year’s resolutions. But this year, I’m going to do it differently. Instead of making a list of things at the start of the year and letting them all peter out in a week, I’m doing it a week at a time. One small, doable change every week over the course of a year. Week 5: start cleaning out the clutter. Week 12: initiate a job hunt. Things like that. Do one tiny task for a week until it becomes a habit. Then add another small change, a good habit replacing a bad one. And so on down the line.

For the first full week of the new year, I’m going to do a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise per day. Not a prob. Instead of parking myself in front of the TV, I can take a walk around the block. Or do laps in the house if the weather’s bad. That’s the advantage of living in a trailer. Once I build up some stamina I’ll go back to hiking up that steep hill to the library instead of taking the car. If I carry the laptop, I can call it weight training.

In the weeks to come I’ll add in other stuff, like eating smaller portions of better foods and eliminating junk foods from my diet. If I do it in stages, it won’t feel so overwhelming. It’s like writing a book. Say you want to write a novel of 90,000 words. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Not if you only write a thousand words a day. Most people can do that in an hour or two. This blog’s about a thousand words, and I wrote it in an hour. See? Easy. Do that every day and in three months you’ve finished your 90,000-word book. Not so insurmountable when you look at it that way, is it?

If I change my eating and exercising habits a bit at a time instead of all at once, there’s less chance of me getting frustrated and quitting. It just takes persistence and patience. But hey, it’s only January and I’ve got until September. If I don’t lose actual weight, I’m sure to lose inches, which is even better. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap into a smaller dress size for mankind.

I should probably get a newer car, too, so I can drive to north Jersey in style. I don’t think “rob a bank” would go over big as a resolution with the state authorities. Better try something else. If I start subbing to publishers that actually pay advances …

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