Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Freedom to Drink Soda

This is a root beer float:

root beer float

I have wanted one since February. Early February, to be exact, but I haven't been able to have one, because I gave up soda for New Year's, and up until now, I haven't broken that resolution.

But right now, I'm drinking one.

It's delicious.

The ice cream is half melted, so the burn of the carbonation is mellowed but still present. There's still an underlying zip of root beer flavor, and the whole thing is cold and creamy and delicious. It tastes like dessert, the kind of thing that springs to mind when you think "treat", and it's unique. Nothing else in the world, even candy flavored like root beer floats, actually is a root beer float, because it's a combination of taste, texture, and temperature, all at once.

Today will be the only day that I drink one, though. Tomorrow, I will go back to not drinking any soda, as I haven't been all year.

People make resolutions for lots of reasons. Sometimes you want to better yourself. Everyone aspires to something, to an idealized version of themselves, and sometimes a resolution is a small step that puts them on that path. Sometimes it's for health reasons, or to please a loved one. I have a few friends who have given up smoking over the years at the request of their children, which, I guess, combines both of those reasons. And sometimes you just give up soda because you realize that you're drinking a small fish tank of it a month and you think maybe that might be too much.

Has it been hard to avoid soda?

Yes, much more so than I thought it would be.

A surprising number of restaurants don't have any alternative on their menu besides sweet tea or water. I like water, and I drink it all day long at my desk out of my water bottle, but sometimes I also want something that has some flavor. Lemonade, maybe, or even Hawaiian Punch. I also had headaches for about two weeks from caffeine withdrawal, leaving me so sensitized to it that a grande iced white mocha (no whip) from Starbucks can keep me wide awake and jumpy for hours. Still, I have remained strong in my resolve, until today.

It's a resolution. It's supposed to be an improvement, not a punishment. It's a goal, not an ultimatum. I'm following it because I want to, because I thought it was a good thing, not out of misguided stubbornness and an unwillingness to "lose" by failing to keep it. I'm voluntarily breaking it just because I can. Doing so does not make me less of a person, and it doesn't mean that I'm a failure.

It means that I value limits, and that I see the need for rewards.

So today, more or less halfway through the year, I'm having a root beer float (or two, or maybe three). Tomorrow, I'm not drinking any soda.

But I might have another one at New Year's.

1 comment:

Marcheline said...

When I give up things I'm overdoing, I find that on the odd occasion that I decide to drink/eat/do them again, it's SO much more enjoyable! I think our systems are wired to build up resistance to repetitive things - just like taking too many medications can make your body unable to respond to them. Same with treats, or booze, or even listening to the same song. What's fabulous the first time sort of dulls by the 30th repetition. But give it up for a while, then have a cold root beer float and WOW! I think your outlook on the whole issue is healthy. If things become a punishment, then you just end up bucking the whole shebang and going back to the bad habits full time at some point. I haven't had a rootbeer float in, say, 15 years. I think I might go in search of one today.