Growing Up Is Hard to Do

I am of two minds on growing up, which shouldn't be surprising as I am generally of two minds (if not ten) on most things.

There's a part of me that has always liked the idea of growing up, the idea of having a family, having some kind of stability, at least as far as where my priorities lie.  I like the idea of having perspective, and I think having a family gives you that.  I think it would be great if there were more than one other person in this world that I actually think about when I make decisions in life.  I also like the compartmentalization that comes with it.  I think it would make me less self-absorbed.

On the other hand, I hate everything I just typed.  Okay, I don't hate the idea of having a family.  I actually like that an awful lot.  But I have made a life for myself out of trying to make a life for myself.  My neurosis demands that I reconsider most of my life every other week or so, and holding on to the last few vestiges of youth makes that possible.

My problem, as with most things, is that I tend to go to extremes.  I'm either super responsible, together, motivated, and forward thinking, or I am scatter brained, trapped in my own head, apathetic, and unrealistic.  Whenever the pendulum swings one way, it swings farther the other way to make up for it.  It's like having the worst of both worlds.

So last week I decided to take my first step towards being an adult.  I know, big deal, right?  I'm thirty-freaking-six years old, and this is what I'm doing.  But I realized, as Nicole and I were driving to breakfast and we passed one of the roving bands of upper middle class bike riders, that I'm holding on to one aspect of my youth that stands out as being ridiculous.  I am referring, of course, to my longstanding love affair with whiskey.

I like whiskey.  I like it in all its forms.  I like trying different varieties.  I like knowing what I'm talking about when I try a new one.  I like bonding over it.  It has been one of the few constants in my life.

But I drink way too often for a man who will be thirty-seven in a few months.

The reasons why I end up drinking so often are thus:

1) I can.  I know that sounds like a bad reason, but Nicole and I don't have kids yet.  My job isn't soul crushing and I don't have to get up early for a long commute.  In some ways, I'm leading the life of someone much younger than me.  I know that time is finite, so I'm enjoying it as much as I can.

2) I romanticize it.  This is entirely about my writing.  I don't think I've made a secret of the fact that I like to drink when I write.  I also know that it's not really necessary.  Countless big time writers have talked about the fact that 90% of what anyone writes is crap, and that you have to get through that 90% to get the good stuff.  And that takes time.  What alcohol has always done for me is getting me to that golden 10% quicker.  The problem, of course, is that it's a small window; while alcohol helps slow my brain down enough that I can focus, it eventually makes me want to do something that feels less like work.  Besides, if my ultimate goal is to write for a living, then I should really be able to do it without alcohol, or else I'll be in real trouble.  All that said, I wrote the vast majority of Master of the House stone cold sober -- so it can be done.

3) I am a ball of tension.  Call it nature, call it nurture, call it evil curse, but I basically lack the ability to relax.  My insomnia should be a good example of how this can be a problem.  Alcohol is a lot like television in this regard -- it helps me to be passive.  The ability to relax is a gift, but sadly one that I don't have.

4) I can.  Did I mention that one already?

5) I like whiskey.  I think I already covered this.

Nicole and I did the math and any night that I drink I consume 1200 calories.  That's more than 50% of my daily intake! It's kind of hard to get in shape when I'm piling on the calories on a regular basis.  This would really be reason enough to cut back.

But the fact remains that if I'm really serious about writing full time, I'm going to have to be able to do it at any time.  I can't manufacture some perfect writing scenario.  Now, whether that's not being able to drink or having to write on a laptop away from home, or having to write by hand, is irrelevant.  I have to be able to write on a regular basis, and while my current system might have been okay in the past, it's certainly not going to hold in the future.

Besides, at some point Nicole and I are going to start a family, and that transition is already going to be drastic enough.

So, yeah, it's time to start growing up.  Granted, I also just bought an Xbox, but Rome wasn't built in a day.