I am jonesing badly.
It is an unpleasant feeling. I keep thinking about the object of my desire/addiction, the thing that I want so badly to enter my bloodstream. I’m antsy and I wonder how long this self-denial will last. If it’s for real. I keep thinking how easy it would be to go to my hook-up, how simple a task it would be to trade cash for what a really want, and make all of this energy and anxiety go away. I keep telling myself that I’ll make it a month. Yes. At least a month.
I’m talking, of course, about how I’ve given up pasta.
I love pasta. Noodles are, bar none, my favorite food in the entire world. They are my ultimate, super, desert-island megafood. Ever since I was a little kid and I was making fresh pasta with my mom, I’ve loved the stuff. Loved it. Right now, if I could have my way, a bowl of fettucini alfredo with salmon would show up right in front of me.
But, that’s not going to happen. I’ll admit it- I almost bought the ingredients for fettucini alfredo at the store, and didn’t. I bought some eggs, veggies, and a bottle of wine instead. (With that bottle of wine, at least I’m indulging myself a bit…)
I gave up my very favorite food ever as an exercise both in vanity and self discipline. On one hand, I’d like to get rid of my gut. Having a 36″ waist was not a pleasant truth to face, and, being quite nearly thirty, I need to admit that stuffing myself with carbohydrates and fat (i.e., pasta covered with cheese) has consequences. Time to give up the food that I most often pig out on. So far, I have noticed some results. Hopefully, this will be the one and only time in my life that I fill out my current pants…
The other aspect of it, though, is more ephemeral. It is very useful to give up something that was so normal, so expected. Pasta was what I made for myself when I could not think of anything else to make. It was a default food that required no thinking, no planning, no real cognizance of any sort. Giving up something that was so much a part of my normal schedule has required a great deal of presence of mind.
The result of this is that I’ve thought far more about what I eat than I previously did. I think about the composition of my meals, what I’m actually putting into my body, what is necessary and what is not. I broke a cycle that was not necessarily healthy or useful, and it feels great. I just finished eating chicken and asparagus for dinner, and I know it was sufficient. That knowledge is extremely nice to have, comforting in an immense way.
I don’t generally endorse puritanism or self-denial for it’s own sake, but I do think that testing oneself in small ways is usually a good idea. Seeing how much of something you can do, or take, or go without. Seeing how much of a given thing is necessary or not. Power over others or over situations is all well and good, but it is quite rewarding to feel power over oneself in tiny ways on a regular basis. I gave up pasta. Probably not forever, but I banished my favorite food from my life. The results have been amenable.
While it has a rap for being associated with things like puritans, the military, and religious types, when done right I really do think that self-discipline can benefit people in very non-fucked-up ways.
I’m still jonesing. Hopefully I’ll stick with this.