Fool on the Hill

Written By: The Lowdown - Jan• 31•13

How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Chances are you are somewhere in mid-January 2013 right now having relented against your better judgement and bought a Lowdown, just to try and find the Jaylin Restaurant’s number and see if they’re open for a slab of steak on Monday. You might still be going strong and holding your resolve on all those earnest promises you made to yourself and your nearest and dearest when you were still full of good cheer and eggnog and your wallet was malnourished enough by the excesses of Christmas to embrace a new regime of abstinence. Do these ring a bell?

First and foremost in difficulty and on a par with forging world peace; giving up smoking. If you are one of the unrepentant 301 million Chinese or the seventeen other sorry idiots left, who still commune with the god of fire on a regular basis, despite all the perfectly good evidence citing the consequences of this ridiculous habit, then you will know how hard this one is and how demoralising are the frequent attempts you, me and the other fifteen idiots make to break this curse. Despite the horrific photographs of diseased lungs and throats bubbling with carcinomas helpfully pasted all over my packs of rolling tobacco. Despite the verbal predictions of my impending premature death (and the ever so slightly mitigating and patently untrue one about a diminished sperm count… much for my tobacco based contraception plan) I am so addicted that I don’t even bother to make this a resolution, not wanting to fail so miserably at something this important, so early on in the year and thus set a scathingly low benchmark for achievement at the outset. Instead I trust that one day a light bulb will come on and I will realise that I am not exempt from smoking’s certain dangers and that anything I can do to increase the odds of still being alive and able to see when my sons start bringing home girlfriends, is well worth the effort, however super-human. Sadly I am a survivor of the last generation on earth that once thought smoking was cool, and made you smart and sexy and this is a much harder thing to walk away from than simple physiological addiction. Lets all try though, if only to get someone else’s money’s worth out of the National Health Service for the last fifteen years of drooling, incontinence between 85 and 100 … which, sadly, is the bit you get to keep if you give up now.

Drink less. Another popular resolution and one that is much easier to tackle especially if you start off from a lofty position of high consumption. For many of the people I know, cutting their alcohol intake by 50% would be a good start, but would still leave them statistically on par with several million Eastern Europeans, the 16-26 year old population of Essex and the Irish. NationallyZambiaranks suspiciously low on the league table of dipsomania sitting at 119 on a list of 186 countries. A cynic might suppose this to be due to an awful lot of people being too drunk to fill in the questionnaire, seeing as many of the entries belowZambiaare devout Muslim countries where the figures are naturally skewed by the drinkers having had their hands cut off and not being able to fill in the questionnaire either. Sundowners is the curse of all who dwell in the tropics, as the working day is punctuated so perfectly by this beautiful moment we all love to celebrate and once the seal has been broken, even on a school night, its hard to stop at one. It’s easier not to drink in the week when you dwell in temperate climes as you go to work in the dark and are still at work (and generally discouraged from drinking, unless you are a partner in a law firm or a politician) in the afternoon. The rest of the year by the time the sun goes down you are already asleep and safe from your own self destructive urges.

Exercise more. This is a goody because if you can pull this off you will automatically do better at the first two resolutions above, since it’s practically quite difficult to juggle all three at the same time, especially on a rowing machine. Even if all you do is waste a reasonable chunk of the time that you would otherwise enjoy with a beer and a smoke, in moderate exercise you will feel a lot better and save money which can then be spent on wheelchairs and colostomy bags for your now extended future. Whatever you do and however pathetic it might seem at first when compared to the exertions of your friends who run half marathons or cycle to Harareevery weekend, it will make a difference and you will feel better. It might take months and you might not succeed at the more difficult resolutions one and two, but you will certainly end up cutting down on them and carrying those extra few pounds with less puff and more panache than by trying to lose them having a gastric bypass or farming tapeworms in your large intestine.

These are my three big resolutions and they’re just about time management really. About wasting bad time in order to spend it in another, better way. Invest a good couple of hours a day into activities that are physically demanding and which lather you into a sweat and keep your hands too busy to hold a glass, and  go to bed as early as possible as this will keep you out of temptation’s way.

According to Time magazine the “Ten Most Commonly Broken New Years Resolutions” are as follows. Exercise More, Quit Smoking, Learn a New Skill, Eat More Healthily, Spend Less, Spend More Time with Family, Travel to New Places, Be Less Stressed, Volunteer and Drink Less. All but three of these (travel, exercising and volunteering) can be achieved it would seem, if you learn the art of sleeping (with your family in your bed) for at least twelve to fourteen hours a day … and then do one sponsored run a year in a foreign land, you will succeed where millions fail.

There’s only one promise that you need to keep, and if you can crack this then everything else will fall into place. BE NICER TO YOURSELF. Cut yourself some slack and try to do things that make you feel better about who you are. Happy 2013.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.