Friday, January 7, 2011

The Season of Self-Loathing

So, January.  It’s cliché, I know, to talk about New Year’s resolutions.  But I don’t have much else to discuss (and I must discuss something, as “posting on the blog once a week” is one of my NYRs), and it beats all the other topics my friends are discussing these days: the doomsday scenario of the Republicans taking over the House, the doomsday scenario of the Michigan coaching situation, etc.

My problem with NYRs is that I already feel the pressure, almost every day, to be perfect in all aspects of life.  I touched on this idea in my last post—the struggle of trying to be a successful student while maintaining a rigorous workout schedule.  Do I really need another push, telling me I have to better myself in some way?  A nagging voice telling me I must make up for my positively slovenly behavior of the past few months?  (I made Christmas cookies, yes.  And I ate quite a few…GUILTY!)

The other problem with NYRs is that they’re often contradictory.  Last year at this time, I embarked on a Paleo Challenge, where I ate nothing but whole, real foods for six weeks.  No sugar, wheat, dairy, beans, legumes, or processed anything.  I felt great, I looked pretty good (if I do say so myself), and I felt pretty darn virtuous.  The problem was, it was really difficult to maintain, not least of all because it was expensive.  And that’s where the contradiction comes in: I want to eat well, but I also want to spend less money.  I need to spend less money.  I currently make negative money.

Of course, some of my friends and Paleo diehards would like to tell you that you can do the diet on the cheap, and to them I say, respectfully: shut the heck up. Non-Paleo (and not necessarily bad-for-you, depending on whom you ask), filling foods such as beans, quinoa, and oatmeal are certainly cheaper than the quality proteins (grass fed beef, free range that) the diet recommends.  Add to it that I’m dining alone, and cooking alone, and that $11 per pound cut of meat becomes less appetizing when there’s no one to share it with.

And so, I’m torn.  As many of my friends renew their diet promises this January, I feel pulled to join them, even guilty if I don’t.  But then I look at my bank balance, and realize my no-budget trips to the market (What single person spends $80 on groceries, really?  How am I not 300 pounds?) have got to change.

At this point, another glaring problem with NYRs comes into sharp focus—they’re pretty selfish.  When I’m not obsessing over school, exercise, diet, and money, I’m worrying that I’m not being a good enough girlfriend, friend, daughter, or sister.  I don’t call my friends enough, or see my family enough.  Yes, nearly all of them live over 300 miles away, but I could still be doing a better job.  I still haven’t learned how to Skype—that’s definitely something I should be doing, right?

Perhaps I’m crazy—okay, certainly I’m crazy—but I know a lot of other people out there, especially my girlfriends, feel similar amounts of guilt.  And so I declare January to be “Stop Beating Yourself Up Month.”  It’s kind of a resolution itself, I’m aware, but it’s a hell of a lot better than “running every single day for a year”—which is actually more of a stunt than a personally beneficial activity.  (Yes, I considered it.)

And so, we are one week into the New Year and this is the progress I’ve made so far: I saved $230 by switching my car insurance.  Then I watched several hours of trashy TV and didn’t feel guilty about it.  Well, I’m trying not to, anyway.


  1. yeah look,
    I am doing paleo challenge largley cause I am a supportive friend but like, lets be honest. Expensive+Restrictive+Time Consuming=Ultimatley really ineffective. Come the end of March everybody gonna be lean, by April 5, you are gonna see a whole bunch of swole motherfuckers.
    You know everyone is rubbing it out to pictures of bagels. I mean its great I guess to see how much you can push yourself but fuck, SENSIBILITY lets everyone try it for a change.

  2. Last year my New Years Resolution was to stop saying "I'm sorry" so much, so I think we're pretty much in synch here.