18 January 2007

Eat more apples.

January 18th, and I'm 34 years old.. plus one day. It's time to make my resolution.

"But wait!" you gasp... "Aren't resolutions meant for January 1st?"

Yes, that's true. For the normal person, it does indeed make sense to start the year with a fresh outlook on life. However, for most of us Capricorns, the birthday undermines and thwarts most efforts at sticking to January 1st resolutions. First off, this doesn't allow for the post-holiday consumption of gift candies and egg nog. If your stocking - like mine - is filled with Hershey's miniatures (thanks, Sue!) then there is no way that you can be finished with them by January 1st in order to start the inevitable "I'm going to be healthier this year" mantra. Plus there is the impending birthday cake, birthday drinks, and birthday parties to be wary of that will challenge, smother and bury with no marker any will power that a healthy resolution requires. If you try and fail THAT quickly, then there's no way a resolution will stick for longer than a few days.

As a result, I make my resolutions the day after my birthday. Somehow it makes the whole process a bit more personal, I think. After all, throngs of people aren't asking "What's your resolution this year?" and by now, the inundation of articles and headlines guilting you to "DIET UNTIL YOU'RE DEAD!" and "OBSESS ABOUT YOUR EXERCISE PLAN!" have begun to die down (and it's still to early for the "Bikini body in 6 weeks!" stuff to appear.)

Yes, January 17th is the perfect time to start a resolution.

I had a lot of directions I could have gone in the resolution department... There certainly are a myriad of things for me to choose from looking back at my past years' experiences: Find a better guy to be with, go to karate on a more regular schedule, pamper myself with massages every month, drink more mint juleps... all of these are perfectly legitimate and fabulous resolutions (and some of which I may do anyway, though they may not be "officially" resolution-bound.) I've been pondering what my 34th-year resolution would be for the last week or two, because I do believe in letting things simmer in the thought process, until - like a toaster - the perfect resolution pops out, nicely browned and perfect for consumption.

I was having quite a rough day today. Actually, it's been a rough two weeks that culminated in a really rough day. It's been two weeks chock full of looking back over painful losses and devastating life changes in the last year. I've lost what I thought was a good marriage (but really, in hindsight, wasn't very good at all), I lost my best friend (and the betrayed trust was worse than the infidelity), I changed jobs and had a few months of unemployment (at the same time as my marriage was falling apart), and my closest buddies in Manhattan have all moved to other states (or countries.) So this week, I think the mental shit hit the fan. I was talking about this with my friend this afternoon... a very emotional outpouring, with lots of tears and a swollen red, runny nose (that was me, not my friend - and if you know me at all, you know that tears are not my modus operandi. They are rare, so when they are seen, they scare most people.) So when said friend asked me suddenly during this emotional moment what my resolution would be this year (she knows of my birthday resolution practice)... my immediate response was:

"Eat more apples."

I think she was expecting something a little different. Perhaps something a bit deeper, or more introspective. Perhaps something a bit more philosophical, or psychobabbly, or at least more broadly superficial and self-indulgent. Something along the lines of "Learn not to be perfect" or "Look towards the future and not dwell on the past" and perhaps even "Find a really hot guy"... but, gentle readers, the apple gets it for 2007.

It's simple, and yet surprisingly complex. And in case you think of the simple Red Delicious, please allow me to expand a bit on my qualifications: Not just any apple will do. I have begun to shy away from a former favorite, the Macintosh, in favor of the crisper flavors of the Fuji. I also choose organic, mostly because I cringe at the thought of eating pesticides. I like my apples room temperature (not just out of the fridge) and sliced off the core, please. And don't mess it up with things like peanut butter or caramel... The perfect apple satisfies so many needs. (I have to give a shout out to Jenn, who - earlier in this emotionally draining week - managed to buy me the perfect Fuji apple at the perfect moment... and who therefore directly inspired my resolution. It was this perfect apple at this perfect moment that I was thinking of when the resolution popped out of my mental toaster. Thank you, Jenn.)

The apple - as my friend acknowledged after my recent roller coaster of a year - was actually a pretty good resolution. It's healthy, sweet, takes care of you, and at the same time, is a reward in its own right. It's flexible in its application, and resilient in its form - you can eat it raw, baked, fried, or pureed. It's sturdy enough to be made portable, but can be made malleable under the right treatment. It's sweet, but not overwhelmingly so... and can kick back when it needs to (ever had an unripened Macintosh?)

Kind of like life... sweet, but sometimes sour... good for you, unless in excess, and solid in form - unless neglected, at which point it rots away. I think it's that simplicity that appeals to me now... the straightforwardness of an uncomplicated goal. There's no esoteric bent or unachievable psychological goal, no need to live up to unnecessary pressures from society or oneself, no intellectual exhaustion or physical injury to be had... it's just an apple. And it's good for me. And not very likely to betray me. Sure, there's an intermittent worm (what do you expect from organic?) but in the end, there will always be worms in life...

just be careful you don't marry one.

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