Tempting Slate

There are moments in everyone’s life when they get the urge or opportunity to begin anew – a clean slate….

For a dieter, it’s any given Monday or the night after all the cookies and ice cream has been purged from the house.

For a smoker who wants to kick the habit, it’s the moment they stub out the last cigarette in the pack.

For a new mother, it’s giving birth to her first-born child…. right before the realization hits her that there is no possible way to avoid screwing the kid up.

For a writer, it’s a blank page – or in my case, a brand new year for my blog.

The list of clean slate hopefuls and their situations vary wildly, but they all hold one thing in common – they’re all hoping to change something old, and create something new.  And what better moment to do that than when presented with a clean slate?  Our clean slate offers the inspiration and momentum to leave behind our old way of life, ditch our bad habit, or achieve a new goal.

That is why we usually fall hook, line, and sinker for the ultimate in clean slates, the one day of the year when everyone gets a big, fat, do-over – New Year’s Day.  It’s a magical day when we give ourselves absolution for all the times we sat on our asses instead of going to the gym, all the broccoli we passed over in order to save room for the brownie sundaes, and all the debt we incurred because it’s more tempting to go on a weekend bender to Vegas than to stay in and pat yourself on the back for being frugal.

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So we make a list of all our resolutions, and hang it on our bathroom mirrors, near our refrigerators, or any other location in our house that’s usually designed for self-flagellation.  And when we see our list, it comforts us and swears that regardless of years passed, this year will be different.

This year we will shut off the TV and start reading more books – beginning with the classics we hated in school.

This year we will join a gym and workout everyday. Everyday!!

This year we will not eat anything made by Hostess, Entenmann’s, Drake’s, or Frito-Lay.

This year we will lose forty pounds (should be a piece of cake after resolutions one and two).

This year we will find inner peace through daily meditation (note to self – google the Dalai Lama).

This year we will stop smoking like we own stock in Philip Morris.

This year we will stop drinking like we don’t own a liver.

This year we will keep our house clean (not just for company).

This year we will give Sally Struthers’ charity the 70 cents a day its been begging for since the early 90’s  (it’s the cost of a cup of coffee, for chrissakes!)

This year we will….

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And for the first few days of the New Year, we feel a surge of empowerment every time we lay eyes on our (strategically placed) list and feel secure in our belief that we will have NO problem sticking to our lofty goals.  There is a smile on our face, a spring in our step, and a virtual silver lining encircling our head.  We are completely committed to our sparkly clean slate, and no amount of temptation could lure us back into our torrid love affairs with Ben & Jerry, Jose Cuervo, and the Marlboro man.

But slowly, as the month wears on, our clean slate gets smudged…. sullied…. and eventually shat upon.  And by the end of January we find ourselves lying on the couch in our pajamas, watching Jersey Shore on TV, with an empty ice cream carton beside us dripping its sparse remnants onto our unread copy of Moby Dick.   We feel more stuffed than a pothead after a convenience store run, and in disgust we set fire to our hopeful little list (and our gym membership card), and light a cigarette from the burning embers.

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After several years of this self-destructive nonsense, we start to feel like Charlie Brown right after Lucy yanks the football away from him, and he ends up flat on his back, wondering how the hell he fell for that trick again.  It’s the very definition of stupidity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Charlie Brown should just realize that Lucy will never stop being amused by watching him fall on his ass, and we should realize that major life overhauls don’t work.

So I am hereby starting the Anti-Charlie Brown movement in an effort to prevent future emotional wipeouts.  If you decide to join, you will forever swear off mile-long resolution lists and unrealistic expectations.  Joining the movement with a friend would work especially well, this way if you try to set your sights on a ridiculously unattainable goal, your partner will be there to smack you upside the head and yell, “You blockhead!

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So throw out that once clean slate of yours – the one that is far too banged up and bedraggled to ever be considered clean again.  And pick one thing you want to change or start anew.  Me?  I’m going to expand my palate by trying new foods…. beginning with all 31 flavors at Baskin Robbins.  See how easy that was?

It’s all about baby steps…..

17 thoughts on “Tempting Slate

  1. We are trying two screen free days a week; one on the hubby’s weekend and one on my. Because it is depressing to see my toddler glued to the iPad, my husband on his phone, and me on the laptop. Don’t be alarmed though; we are using the other five days to binge watch Netflix.

    • Airym –

      I’m SO guilty of the too much screen time sin too. My kids are old enough where I don’t have to worry about “entertaining” them while I’m trying to get dinner started or get stuff done around the house (they are 14 and 9). But I do find myself using my son’s iPod touch as an electronic pacifier when we go out to dinner, are waiting in line, in the car, etc. I’m trying to break myself of that habit.

      I think your idea of two screen-free days a week is great! But I’ll admit that I’d probably have an easier time sticking to your Netflix marathons resolution.

      Linda

      P.S. – I just wanted to thank you for being such a faithful reader/commenter. You currently hold 1st place for the most comments made on my blog (aside from me obviously – but I HAVE to read and comment on my stuff, it’s in my contract). I feel like I should buy you something. I might have enough in the budget for a shoehorn or teapot cozy – because nothing says “thanks a lot!” more than useless remnants from the 50’s :)

  2. Hang on, you said you weren’t blogging much, and yet here you are!

    I am all in favor of your no-resolution resolution. I don’t even bother anymore because I almost never get past January 4th anyway. So fuck it.

    And hey, January has 31 days, so one Baskin-Robbins flavor for each day. It’s genius.

    • Weebs –

      I’ll admit this only because it’s you – I didn’t write this blog post a week ago. I wrote it nearly TWO YEARS ago. This was one of the first blog posts I put up on my blog when I started. And I figured that since no one but relatives and friends read my posts back then, none of my regular readers would realize it’s really a reblog. So I dusted it off, threw in some new pictures (I couldn’t even think of anything to write for the captions – how fucking sad is that?!), and posted it.

      I was getting panicky that I hadn’t posted anything since our Sexting with Grandma escapades. Not only that I hadn’t posted, but that I hadn’t written or even had the desire or inspiration to write. In the two years that I’ve been doing this, that’s never happened. There has always been at least an inkling of an idea brewing around inside my brain.

      This isn’t writer’s block – it’s like writer’s WALL. Only instead of just blocking me, it feels like the entire fucking wall has crumbled down on top of me and I can’t manage to muster up the energy to dig myself out. Not exactly the clean slate I was hoping for for the New Year….

      Linda

  3. Happy New Year, I just found you on the blog that is having much controversy at the moment. I appreciate your comments and think we all need to step back for a moment and not be to quick to attack. I look forward to following you.
    Becki

    • Becki –

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to my comments (on the other blog) – I really appreciate it. I couldn’t agree more with your take-a-step-back approach. Given the subject matter, I knew things would inflame easily, but I tried to be a gentle as I could when I made my points. I truly HATE controversy and only step in when I feel a responsibility to do so.

      As you’ll quickly find out on my blog, my preference is for any/all subjects that give me and (hopefully) my readers a reason to smile. I hope you enjoy it!

      Welcome aboard!
      Linda

  4. Yeah, we call “doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result” a good definition of INSANITY! :) I, too, am against making New Year’s Resolutions. But one year I did give up guilt for Lent … and NEVER took it back!

  5. I made a resolution years ago never to make New Year’s Resolutions, and I’ve pretty much stuck with it. Of course, I tend to get fairly regular exercise (walking 3 – 5 miles most days of the week) and I try to eat reasonably healthy and avoid eating a bag of Doritos daily (but still grab a handful every so often), but I refuse to give up chocolate cake. :-)

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