As Mike and I were sitting on the couch January 1, trying to recover from the previous night's board game extravaganza and one too many mixed drinks - we lead a WILD life, y'all! - we contemplated all our lofty goals for the new year. The first of which was to get over the horrible, horrible hangovers caused by the aforementioned cocktails. Seriously, when your brother-in-law tells you not to drink more than two of his infamous mexican martinis you really need to listen, you self-righteous idiot. And by you, I totally mean me.
So we spent the first day of the new year drinking large amounts of water, eating a greasy bacon-infused breakfast, watching the Rose Bowl parade, and discussing our loftiest dreams for the upcoming 365 days. There was, of course, the time-honored resolution to lose xxx pounds and the requisite diet restrictions: no sugar! no dairy! no potatoes! no gluten! no fun! We also threw around the idea of the no-alcohol-for-30-days plan, which is surprisingly quite easy to seriously consider when the mere thought of any type of grown-up drink brings forth gagging and full body shivers.
And then there were the work-related declarations: no more laptops or cell phones after 6:30 p.m. No more returning emails, phone calls or texts in the evening. No more work taking place outside of the 9 to 5 realm. (You really, really want to sing 9 to 5 in full-on Dolly Parton style, don't you? We should totally be friends.)
Naturally, what followed were the budget objectives. No more foolish spending! 2014 shall be the year of the perfectly balanced budget, Target endcaps be damned! These stipulations, admittedly, fall mainly on my shoulders. I'm married to the human equivialent of a Quicken spreadsheet, who knows at any given moment his expense-to-income ratio and has the superhuman ability to never give in to the Target sale rack impulse buy. Me, on the other hand? Has yet to find a marked-down cardigan that can't be justified as the perfect wardrobe addition.
And at the very end of our Grand Plans for 2014 discussion, I may have added that I promised to iron every week, keep the baseboards dusted, and promptly clean up any latte spills on the car console. <Cue the shocked expressions of disbelief NOW!> Yes, in that fervent avowal (which was probably induced by a state of bacon euphoria) I think Mike and I both realized that all these intentions, albeit ambitious, were completely lacking a concept critical to their success: balance.
It's easy to be overly ambitious as the new year rolls in and make extreme, rigid rules to right the trangressions of the past. After all, we spend the last few weeks of the year thouroughly enjoying the holidays, and most likely, over-indulging, over-spending, over-eating...over-everything. But going from one extreme to another has to be a sure recipe for disaster, right?
In the end, we decided that our 2014 goal would be all about BALANCE. Finding that hallowed middle ground between the work and the play... the spend and the save... the pig-outs and the work-outs... cyberlife and the unplugged exsistence... the bacon and the broccoli... the Perrier and the pinot noir. It's a state that isn't measureable in quantitative terms like pounds, calories, hours, or dollars, but more in a sense of harmony, proportion, and yes, sanity.
Because if there's anything in short supply around here, it's sanity. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to restore it by tackling the very large ironing pile that's been growing for months in the laundry room. And of course, by drinking a very large martini when I'm finished. This balance thing isn't so bad.
Happy New Year!