100 Days, the Chicago Cubs & Election Anxiety

Posted On: 11.03.16

100-days

Hi, guys!

Today is November 3, 2016 and it’s been 100 days since I stopped drinking and I want to celebrate this. I’ve been taking a picture like this every ten days or so, literally capturing my “self” and then sharing it with the following caption: “X days. Zero drinks. Zero hangovers.” It’s a fun little way for me to acknowledge – to myself and to the those around me – my continued commitment to living – and loving – my life without alcohol, and the pride and joy that comes with this commitment, this choice.

100 days. 

A nice chunk of time and yet I fully embrace my rookie status when it comes to this different life. Because, guys, it is different. It is simpler. Sweeter. Hard at times, but hard in a way that is welcome. All the static and shame that came with drinking – even drinking a little – is gone. Poof. My anxiety has plummeted. I’ve been having so much fun with my sweet girls – on their soccer sidelines, at the kitchen island as they nibble on breakfast, at bedtime as we snuggle and talk and laugh about their days. I’ve been devouring “life design” (yep, self-help) books at an astonishing clip. I’m not sure what this is about, but I’ve chosen to see it as a good sign, as admittedly cliched evidence of my own belief that life is mine for the making – and editing.

But an interesting thing, a thing I’m grappling with: I’m quieter. I think I’m actually an Introvert who’s been masquerading as an Extrovert for decades. (Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book Quiet helped me realize this.) I love people, I’ve always loved people, but I need solitude too; I need time to stop and think and recharge. Alcohol makes us feel extroverted, but who are we when we take it away? This is what I’m finding out.

Another interesting thing: I’m feeling compelled to pause and truly think about what’s next for me writing-wise. I have several projects in the works, projects I’m super excited about, but I’m figuring out what I want to fully commit to next, where I want to put my energy. I have so much faith that being thoughtful like this is exactly what I should be doing even though it sometimes feels like I’m spinning my creative wheels.

Anyway: I am here. Writing. Writing because I own every tiny bit of this story of mine. Because I’m making decisions that are right for me and for the life I want. Because writing is part, an important, beautiful part, of the process for me. What process?

Living my life.

Living my best, most meaningful life.

*

I stayed up so late last night watching the World Series. The night was deeply meaningful for me because Dad, Chicago-born, was an enormous Cubs fan and as a little girl, as a resolute tomboy, I inherited his love for the Cubbies. I collected baseball cards. I wore jerseys. So many nights, I lay in bed in his childhood home in Libertyville, Illinois, listening to Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace and Andre Dawson play. In middle school, in wood-working class, I made a Cubs logo lamp. On the night, Husband proposed to me – October 11, 2003, we ran over to my childhood home and Mom was traveling, but Dad was there, glued to the TV because the Cubs were in the playoffs. Dad dug up a good bottle of champagne and handed it over to us lovebirds, and pretty much ignored us to watch his Cubbies.

My passion for the Cubs has faded over the years, one of those things that has been lost in the aftermath of childhood, in the shuffle of growing up, but last night I was back in it, amped up and thinking lots about Dad, about just how over the moon he would be. I stayed up late watching the game, feeling that familiar electricity of hope, and when it went into extra innings, I turned off the television, to get some sleep. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was check my phone. When I saw that the Cubbies won, their first World Series in 108 years, my eyes welled up with tears. Oh the sweet sweet joy of witnessing a long-held dream come true, of thinking of the smile that would have taken over my father’s face. My tears were welcome; they were happy tears, tears of absolute joy.

The Cubs, Dad!! The Cubs!!!

*

And I’m not going to lie: this election is affecting me. I think it’s affecting many of us. It is sometimes hard for me to believe that this is all really happening, all this surreal negativity and spectacle. Normally, I’m a bit (okay, a lot) head-in-sand about politics and current events, but not with this election. I find myself reading everything, following the tiniest minutiae so closely, too closely. I’m not sure any of this is helpful or healthy, but I understand why I’m doing it. I care. I care so much. I have three little girls. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that someone who displays such little regard for women and who has such little respect for so many people and who has such little to say about anything of import is so close to the Presidency. At the core of my worry is confidence that Hillary will win, but this uncertainty is pretty yucky. I know I’m not alone in feeling this.

In the past, I would never have written about politics so publicly, but this matters too much to stay quiet and safe. On Tuesday, I will take my three daughters to vote. They will stand with me and watch their mom vote for the first woman who will become President of this fine country. We will all remember this day. And, yes, this is positive thinking, but I believe in positive thinking.

*

These words are all over the place, but so is life. We are all doing our best to hold it together in this unnatural time for our country. We are all clinging to hope in the face of ugliness and fear. We are all making choices in our lives to make those lives better. We are all in it together, evolving.

Signing off on this fine fall day with a clear, happy heart, a big Cubbies smile, and fingers tightly crossed that by this time next week, Hillary will be our President and this nonsense nightmare will be behind us. A girl can only hope.

Hope all is well with you guys!! Get out there and vote!!

Be Sociable, Share!

Oh, and...

Share.

Comments


10 Comments for: "100 Days, the Chicago Cubs & Election Anxiety"
  1. San

    Ugh. I am counting down the days until this madness (aka election) is over and hopefully with the right outcome. I want to believe that we have this election in the bag, but who knows what can happen… I can’t … won’t think about that.

  2. Pamela Hunt Cloyd

    100 days is huge!! Congratulations!! Alcohol was my Yes Juice too. Without it people hear NO from me more often and to be honest I struggle with that – I liked being super mom. I am also saying no to all the parties I don’t want to go to which isn’t as tough as I thought it would be. Make 24 Christmas cookies? No thanks. Arbonne party? Hell no. Thursday happy hour? I’d rather play basketball with my kids.

    5 days to go until this madness is over! Congrats to you and your Cubs!!

    Thanks for your inspiration and for breaking the no alcohol ground for me. Xoxo

  3. Kathy

    How wonderful for you Aidan! I can feel how exciting, and nostalgic it must have been for you watching The Chicago Cubs finally win The World Series. Your Dad must be ecstatic in heaven! I am also in awe of your 100 day alcohol free lifestyle! I am currently undergoing final health exams, and than I am dedicating myself to self love, self nurturing, and bringing my habits back to the healthy, happy ones I used to enjoy! Namaste!
    I am happy to hear you are instilling pride, and the sense of priviledge in your young daughters in the voting process. No doubt this will develop a love of this country, and our freedoms we have. God Bless America! XO

  4. Congrats on your 100 days, Aidan! It is a huge accomplishment. Continue to embrace it – your journey is helping many.

    Regarding everything else: yes. Just yes. Your words are always welcome with me. They make me feel less alone. They make me dream that my life will be what I wish it to be someday. They make me believe in the magic or life.

    So, please, continue exploring, writing, and blogging. Your place in this world is important.

  5. I remember my Dad sitting on the porch, bugs smacking the screens, a light on a small table by his chair, and always the Red Sox on the radio. That was the sound of summer. “One ball, two strikes.” I can still hear that sonorous radio voice on a warm summer night. When the Sox finally broke the curse I had tears in my eye, not for the Sox, but for my Dad. The lifelong fan. There is something about Dads and baseball. It’s America, isn’t it?

    America. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Brattleboro, Vermont reading the New York Times and posting this reply. The two young twenty somethings behind the counter just said “I can’t wait for this election to be over. It’s got to be the 2 most hated candidates in history.” I’m deeply buried in the middle class. I was a Bernie supporter. I had dreams, big dreams, of bringing back the New Deal. It didn’t work that way so here I am holding my nose and voting for Hillary because Trump is unimaginable. I am a woman of a certain age and I suppose I should be feeling differently about the first woman president. But I understand the anger-I’ve been there. No health insurance, a mountain of bills, layoffs, all of it. Unfortunately, I don’t see this “nonsense nightmare” moving behind us after the election, because so much of the anger is not nonsense. But, I try to remain positive and hope when she said “I heard you”, she meant it.

    I would love to hear how this 100 days is different from the year without wine. I have a friend whose husband no longer drinks and she said nights out at fancy restaurants aren’t the same anymore. They aren’t as relaxed without the cocktail at the bar while waiting for a table and the long drawn out dinner with a bottle of wine. They’ve rearranged their date nights to a quick dinner and a movie afterwards but she misses those dinners. So I would love a blog, from your perspective, of everyday examples of what it’s been like for you.

  6. Congratulations on the 100 days, that;s beautiful – and it shows in your picture. You radiate happiness. I can relate to you feeling about the cubs. When the Red Sox finally won in October 2004, I was a year out from my dad’s passing – and he was a Red Sox Fanatic. I remember holding a 6 week-old Audrey, with tears running down my face, as the the Sox celebrated on the field after their win. Congratulations Cubbies – I’ve been choked up by all the videos making the circuit.

  7. I had the same realization, that I was more of an introvert than I had ever suspected. Always thought I’d just “come out of my shell” in my teens, but turns out the shy child I was before just got kind of anesthetized.

  8. Jen

    I agree and relate with so much of what you say. The book Quiet was excellent. My daughter picked out the kid/teen version at the book store on her own and she benefited a lot from it. I too thought I was outgoing and an extrovert but lately I feel more introverted. I drink less, eat healthier and this election too is a factor. I find people are uncomfortable if I do not drink or eat healthier than them. What I realized is it makes them uncomfortable about themselves.

    And the Cubs! Magical! I grew up a Cubs fan and loved all those same players. Listened on the radio, watched them on WGN, went to Wrigly. It was such a huge part of my life. I was lucky enough to share a conversation with my dad after their victory.

  9. amy

    Congratulations on 100 days alcohol free! This probably sounds silly but I’m on day 3 of no wine. I already feel better and as you know, it’s something I’ve been grappling with — when to take a break from alcohol. I decided (really decided) to commit on Monday night after I left your happier hour. I had drank one glass of wine and decided, I really don’t need this. So, here I go! Also, I LOVED Quiet and also realized that I’m an introvert after thinking my whole life that I was an extrovert.

  10. AJ

    I’m 160 days and counting and it’s my first holiday season without alcohol. Great to read your post and reaffirm that my decision to quit drinking was the right one. My anxiety isn’t completely gone, but it is much, much better. I’m more resilient and determined to work through anxious days with the right tool box (yoga, meditating, nature, journaling, music, my husband) instead of reaching for wine. And for anyone approaching 50, I guarantee that not drinking is just about the best anti-aging and weight loss treatment that I’ve discovered! Thanks for your posts on this issue. I find them immensely reassuring, especially during the holidays when it seems like the entire city has a glass of champagne in hand!

Add Your Comment

Feel free to leave an anonymous comment. a valid email is required for security purposes but will never be shared.