Let's dive right in, shall we?
Welcome to So Relatable, a newsletter about the creative processes, ambitious goals, and really good snacks. I'm glad you're here!
On Friday, I drank a nice little IPA. This might not seem like a big deal, except that it was my first alcoholic beverage in 31 days. Yes, that's right - I successfully completed Dry January. (Waits for applause to subside.)
People do Dry January for many different reasons. For me, it came on the heels of a hurricane followed by the holidays, all of which required many stiff drinks. January seemed like a good opportunity to reset and reflect on my relationship with alcohol. When do I drink, and why? Do I drink intentionally, or out of habit? What does alcohol actually add to my life?
At first, I felt like something was missing. I stayed in because it was easier, and went to bed early to avoid temptation. I don't have a drinking problem, but that first week especially showed me what a reflex drinking had become.
As the days turned to weeks, however, it got much easier. New habits formed. Different choices were made. And, oh! The perks! I slept better and woke easily. I finished lingering projects and started new ones, like this newsletter. I baked bread, drank gallons of tea, read three books, finished The Americans, and even eventually socialized. I drank my first kombucha, on draft, at a brewery!
At some point, the irony struck me. By giving myself one less choice, I ended up doing more.
According to experts, adults make 35,000 decisions a day, which is about as exhausting as it sounds. There's even a term for this phenomenon - decision fatigue. It's why some people automate certain parts of their lives, like wearing a uniform to work, setting their recurring bills on auto draft, or prepping mason jar salads for the week each Sunday. This keeps them from trying on five different outfits every morning, suffering the indignation of late fees, or staring sadly into the abyss of their refrigerator. By automating tasks and removing certain decisions, the mind is free to focus on bigger, better things.
This past month, I barely thought about drinking. It wasn't a choice I needed to make. As a result I felt free, and powerful, and extremely hydrated. I highly recommend giving it a try - especially if a month without booze sounds impossible. You might surprise yourself. I know I did.
While Dry January was a great experiment, I don't plan to be dry for life. I will, however, be more intentional about my drinking. I want to treat alcohol like any other indulgence - something I enjoy on occasion, but not as a part of my regular routine.
Which is a really long way of saying: let's meet up for coffee sometime. My treat. ☕️
Home Is Where the Photo Booth Is: How Instagram Is Changing Our Living Spaces, The Ringer. I'm pretty sure my takeaway from this article was supposed to be horror at the idea of a single aesthetic, and I do feel a little of that. Mostly, though, I just want a photo booth at my next party!
Instagram DMs Are an Antidote to the Difficulties of Female Friendship, Broadly. Watching and responding to Instagram Stories is currently one of the great pleasures of my life. I'm glad to know it's also helping maintain my friendships!
The Instagram-Husband Revolution, The Atlantic. "While men used to be seen as begrudging participants, more so-called Instagram husbands are embracing the term and becoming an integral part of their partner’s business." Forwarding this to my husband ASAP.
This week, I'm loving these Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels from Trader Joe's. A perfectly salty snack that packs a tiny protein punch, they are best enjoyed with an afternoon coffee, preferably in the middle of a long workday. For best results, keep a bag in your desk.
A Tiny Challenge
In honor of humble beginnings, here's a question: when was the last time you extended or accepted an invitation? When you made space for something new? Hit "reply" and let me know.
Until next week!
PS: Shout out to Kara Cutruzzula, author of the excellent newsletter Brass Ring Daily, for graciously answering my questions and encouraging me to dive in. If you need a delightful daily dose of motivation, sign up here.