Since I resigned from my corporate job back in June, strange things have been happening. Aside from having (a lot) more time on my hands, I felt freer and more contented. Those around me also noticed the difference – to recall 2 particular conversations I had in the couple of weeks following my ‘new life’:
- With my aunt at a family meal – “You seem really different, much better, like you’re finally doing what you want to be doing”.
- With one of my best friends from school – he had also recently resigned; one of those rare individuals who was academically phenomenal as well as good at every sport back at school, went on to gain a 1st in his Degree from Cambridge University (in one of the top courses there), and then started working for a law firm – before resigning from said firm. Our conversation was one of the most animated and memorable I’ve had. We both got it. (Admittedly, the Nando’s half-chicken play it’s part, too).
So what’s this all got to do with alcohol? With this newly found space and freedom, I have been given the headspace to really think about who I am, the values and beliefs I hold and – arising from those – the choices I make and actions I take.
One of things I have been thinking about is alcohol (though, paradoxically, I haven’t!). I often used to have a drink or two after work, or at the weekends. However there has since been a growing feeling that I just don’t need to drink anymore, for several reasons. I have to tried to summarise these, below:
1. “I never really loved you anyway”
In the words of The Corrs, my relationship with alcohol started for one reason: I went to university and it’s what everybody else was doing. [Aside – doing something because everyone else is doing it is often easy, but very foolish indeed. With that mentality, I may well not have resigned and taken control, and I certainly wouldn’t currently be doing mindfulness most days in Bushy Park… two actions which have had a profound effect on me – and still are.]
2. Much less of a ‘need’
With the lifestyle I had before – i.e. working several hours a day in a job I largely wasn’t passionate about – a Thursday/Friday evening drink often provide a temporary release, a pleasure spike. I no longer need that. My deeper-rooted joy/contentedness is more than making up for that, so I no longer feel the need to resort to such pleasure buzzes.
3. The effects, both short-term (hangovers) and long-term (liver disease, depression, etc.)
Self-explanatory, really. With my 4-5 times per week exercise schedule, hangovers/tiredness brought on by alcohol really isn’t for me. It doesn’t sit well with my ‘waking up at a reasonable hour’ mantra either. And though I wasn’t often drinking excessive amounts, I really don’t like the look of the growing list of longer-term effects it can have.
4. A waste of money
Just my humble opinion. This is one pleasure buzz that’s just not worth paying for. Especially not in London (£14 for a double-mixer, really?). And especially not when you’re taking it in turns to buy ‘rounds’. [Aside – positive psychology shows us that we’re better off spending our money on experiences rather than things, feeding our joy rather than pursuing short-lived pleasures]
[“But what about when it’s FREE?!” – I hear you cry. A slippery slope, my friend. Dabbling in a free Jack Daniels and coke here and there today, and before you know it you’ll be doing rounds of jagermeister and downing shots of tequila with some well-meaning strangers at a bar. No thanks!]
So there you have it. What started with a passing statement (“I’m giving up drinking!”) to one of my fellow Tribers at this Tuesday’s ‘Escape The City’ tribe session, has now led to a fully-fledged pledge (try saying that after a few beers – or rather, don’t! Sorry, couldn’t resist…) to you all.
Following the ‘habit-forming’ wisdom of Gretchen Ruben, Leo Babauta and others, I’ve decided to make myself accountable to you all. [See also – Resources for living better].
Crucially, I am becoming more mindful in the decisions I make and the actions I take.
I look forward to the undoubtable peer pressure and/or banter I’ll be subjected to next time I visit an establishment serving alcoholic beverages with some of my chums…