Change is never easy. I still recall switching to light beer after years of fidelity with full-bodied domestic pilsners; this crossing over nearly split me and my beloved cashier at the distributor apart. Yet we need it to grow: with time, what we once considered challenging, agonizing even, becomes easier and then, with a bit of luck and determination, routine. Unfortunately, this knowledge does little to hack away at the looming implications of whatever our next ‘first step’ is. Sure, the experience provides a lovely token of success, fastened somewhere to a wall within our memory, but it’s not necessarily a pair of training wheels attached to any endeavor that awaits.
Enter my journey into self-care.
I long disregarded the term as a passing fad, a diet of the mind that would burn out as hastily as it populated social media feeds. Then I peeked down at my memento — my 11th that day, I think — of the 96-calorie, 2.8-carb mountain I had once climbed, sip by water-laden sip and chug by you-know-after-nine-of-these-they-ain’t-so-bad chug. In an instant, I was swarmed by equal parts doubt and excitement: am I strong enough? Will it distance me from those I care about most? Is there a sporting event on?
Even sunk into the couch to the point that standing up would qualify as some form of skilled labor, I could feel my spirit start crawling toward those seductive clutches of progress. I knew as plainly as I knew my own name — before the tequila, to be fair — that I would hazard any cost and suffer any fate to reach the proverbial summit of self-care. Indeed, it was FINALLY time that I risked it all upon the fabled ascent of all miserable 30-somethings: Dry Tuesday.
Odysseus returned to combat corruption and seize glory, whereas my own voyage led me to good health and mental well-being, conveniently accomplished in a singular 24-hour period a couple weeks ago. Here’s how you, too, ensure safe passage to the waters of mental and physical serenity:
Listen, you’re not going to upend decades of habitual sipping in a single beverage-free lunch break; such feats take at least a day. Sometimes, you need a little hair of the dog to power through the aftermath of your at-home contributions to a late-game comeback win. Maybe a breakfast burrito just tastes better alongside an Old Milwaukee. It’s self-care, not self-deprecation, so don’t trip yourself up if it takes you a few months to find that Tuesday when you’re ready to turn it all around.
- Use the Environment to Your Advantage
Sleeping in until 2 p.m. plus a scary noise I heard downstairs were huge factors in my success. Still vomiting and can’t keep anything down? Ride that wave of nausea to the shores of personal betterment, my friend. Have a court date? Well, the so-called ‘Honorable’ Wendell Simmons –– or, you know, however you care to name this imaginary magistrate –– might be the single most disagreeable son of a bitch you’ve ever met, but little does he know that his judiciary grandstanding is steering you towards an impressive benchmark of wellness.
- Super Mario 64
If you can’t get behind this critically acclaimed 1996 masterpiece, do you even deserve self-care’s burning river of empowerment? Accessible to any skill level, its flawless design allows for a straightforward playthrough while also dangling enough backdoors and camera-specific hidden nuggets to satiate any completionist. It may be the single greatest piece of media ever created and includes an ice luge race with a giant talking penguin. You know what, just stop reading and play it now –– NOW.
- Look Toward the Future
Athletes envision themselves performing at the highest level: leaping grabs, bone-crunching hits, and pro-level walks back to the dugout when, despite your constant and vulgarity-riddled instruction, they strike out yet again. Visualizing a revitalized you briskly hopping between Season 4-7 Simpsons reruns and scrolling effortlessly through suggestions on Instagram as the comatose glaze hardens over your eyes can help keep the mission on track. Moreover, a Dry Tuesday just means a more centered, fully charged you to take on the demands of Housed Wednesday, Obliterated Thursday, and I’ll Have a Few But Then I’m Gonna Call It Friday.
I hope my lessons learned can compel you to embrace the value of self-care, not as some flippant buzzword, but as a way of life. I, for one, consider myself forever indebted to its merits and have vowed to commit myself unequivocally to its tenets each and every third Tuesday in January.
Welcome, partner, to the new you! Do you prefer a bottle or a tall boy?
Actually, just have one of each; you’ve earned it! And, even if you haven’t…well, there’s always next Tuesday.
Chuck Kowalski loves pizza, hockey, and low-ABV pils or brown ales. He was born in and, barring some incredibly unfortunate circumstances, will die in Pittsburgh, where he manages his own city satire platform @pghunfiltered, while also contributing to @HardDriveMag, @REALpunknews, and @JumpKickFunding. Hit him up if you’re in town and need suggestions…or just want a beer.