Sometimes the best thing I can say about Valentine’s Day is, “it isn’t Halloween.” I shouldn’t (and don’t) need to have a special holiday set aside to let my wife know that I love her. And, of course, we really don’t need it, and why not look at it as an opportunity, after all?
Well, this year, I found myself trying to come up with some new way to express myself on Valentine’s Day, so the flowers, the chocolate (the correct gift for any occasion, I think), or the nice bottle of wine (or all three, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious) just wouldn’t do. Time was running out on Sunday afternoon when I happened to be listening to “The Vinyl Cafe” on the radio. After listening to the story “Love Never Ends” I knew what I had to get my wife for Valentine’s Day.
Yes, back on (or still on) the better habits theme, I came across this article from Scientific American from July 2008. The basic premise is that making decisions is tiring and that our capacity for making a good decision in any one instance may depend on how many decisions we have already made (presumably within a given length of time, having allowed our “brain muscle” to rest and recover).
So, will I make a bad eating choice because I’ve been making decisions all day, or will I make a bad decision because I didn’t have a cookie? I’m not sure there’s any way to tell, but I would hope not all decisions are created equal.
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
Bearing this in mind, my Lent will be about continuing to “make better habits, one choice at a time.” Beyond laying a foundation for better eating habits, there are other things I can take the opportunity to work on, improving bit by bit, trying not to be completely discouraged by the little setbacks that will inevitably happen – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
If you’re giving up chocolate, coffee, dessert, video games, Facebook (not Facebook!!), or something else, consider also “fasting” from a bad habit – just one – and “feasting” on making one positive, lasting change.
As I do (or try to remember to do) every couple of weeks, I went out to the garage to start up the motorcycle. After a few tries it coughed, sputtered, cleared its throat, and settled into idle. With the engine warmed up, temperatures hovering around 40, and abundant sunshine, only one thing remained.
The sun was warm – wearing a lot of black helps this time of year – and traffic light. I stuck to main roads and didn’t see another motorcycle while I was out, though I did see a couple on Saturday.
Too bad it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, but spring is coming.
On this morning’s “Writer’s Almanac” a poem called “Portmanterrorism” by Nick Lantz:
Would it make a difference to say we suffered
from affluenza in those days? Could we blame
Reaganomics, advertainment, the turducken
and televangelism we swallowed by the sporkful,
all that brunch and jazzercise, frappuccinos
we guzzled on the Seatac tarmac, sexcellent
celebutantes we ogled with camcorders while
our imagineers simulcast the administrivia
of our alarmaggedon across the glocal village?
Would it help to say that we misunderestimated
the effects of Frankenfood and mutagenic smog,
to speculate that amid all our infornography
and anticipointment, some crisitunity slumbered
unnoticed in a roadside motel? Does it count
for nothing that we are now willing to admit
that the animatronic monster slouching across
the soundstage of our tragicomic docusoap
was only a distraction? Because now, for all our
gerrymandering, the anecdata won’t line up for us.
When we saw those contrails cleaving the sky
above us, we couldn’t make out their beginning
or their end. What, in those long hours of ash,
could our appletinis tell us of good or of evil?
A few days ago I commented on Facebook that “better habits are built one choice at a time.” Though this could have applied to any number of habits and choices in my life I was mainly talking about my relationship with food.
I have always been – how do I put it? – a large-ish person. Not really large since, when it comes to shopping for clothes I fall at the upper range of what are “regular” sizes and the lower end of “big and tall.” I am, you might say, at that awkward, in-between stage. It tells you something about where we are as a society, genetics aside, when at nearly 300 pounds I fall at the lower end of “big and tall.”
Anyway, since I can remember, food has been a major player in my life. Not just eating, of course; almost everyone does that (and if they don’t, unfortunately, they don’t live long enough to write blog posts about it). I enjoy food – the colors, textures, aromas, and, of course, flavors. I mean, really enjoy it. Food is, and has been, a source of nourishment, naturally, but also a source of comfort and a distraction from other things. All in all, not a very healthy relationship at all. What’s worse is that I cook and I’m pretty good at it, so I end up spending more time with food. But it’s not just that. When I’m stressed, bored, or tired, I eat. And it doesn’t seem to matter much what it is, I find something.