Since we are defined by our habits, and whatever defines us confines us, a New Year's Resolution ought not to impose new habits, but rather release us from bad ones, and create more opportunities for creative activities. I have therefore resolved to 'Do two worthwhile things before 8.30am', without specifying what those two things should be. Candidates: juggling, writing, exercising, gardening, playing the accordion, thinking.
This time last year, I was just coming to the end of a very miserable bit of my life, and to help me capitalize on a not-quite-so-shit December, I vowed to increase my energy and vim by giving up alcohol, caffeine and wheat for a the month of January. (Wheat? It was due to an article I'd read, but in hindsight I believe the wheat abstinence made absolutely no difference to my state of mind.) This I did, and I also made an Important Change to my life, with the result that by the end of January 2010 I was feeling really rather good, optimistic for the first time in ages and full of beans. I went on a further 'detox' in September this year, following an unrestrained week at the Edinburgh Festival: for a month, no booze or coffee, but with all the tea I could drink and all the wheat I could eat. Also, no Important Changes to my life. The results were less marked. Drinking lime-and-soda in pubs irritated the hell out of me (alcohol makes other people seem more fascinating than they actually are). Nonetheless, I did feel vaguely more energetic and healthy by the end of the month. I even went on the odd run, goddammit.
Well, I'm off caffeine and alcohol again for the whole of January 2011 (or at least the first four weeks of it). It's the fourth day of the month (not even Twelfth Night yet) and already I feel bad-tempered, lethargic and incapable of anything remotely worthwhile before or after 8.30am, and less inclined to dig myself out of the impro-less hole I'm in. Why am I putting myself through this ordeal yet again? What benefits will I see? Some, undoubtedly, as I'm not so unscientifically minded as to deny that booze and caffeine do me damage. They're inherently bad habits. (Don't give me that shit about 'cutting down', and 'everything in moderation', by the way. I simply don't operate that way.)
|A wild civet eating coffee berries.|
You will have to wait until the end of the month to read my review of kopi luwak. Keep reading until then, eh?