Empty Promises To Yourself

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Empty Promises To Yourself

“I’m going to start working out tomorrow,” you tell yourself as you get ready for bed after an especially long weekend. Sure, you drank the better part of the 30-pack of beer that’s still sitting in your fridge, and yeah, your diet consisted mainly of bar food and a dinner or two that you couldn’t really afford. But it’s fine because you got paid on Friday before, so why not treat yourself?

But then Monday comes, and somehow you still feel like hell. “Okay, there’s no way I’m working out today,” runs through your head as you lumber to your car only to sit aimlessly at your desk all day while you promise yourself you’ll update your resume when you get home that night. You justify not working out on your entire commute — “It wouldn’t even be a productive workout; I’d probably tear a muscle.”

“Maybe if I knock out a few cups of coffee and have a smoothie for lunch, I’ll have a sound body and mind,” you say as the day before’s Bloody Mary still seems to be seeping from your pores. “Or actually, maybe I’ll have a salad for lunch,” because isn’t that one salad a good replacement for the workout you committed to but already skipped? Yeah, I’m sure that salad will undo everything you did to yourself between Friday’s happy hour and that lethargic romantic comedy you watched the Sunday night before.

Next weekend? It’s going to be different, won’t it? You’ll stay in. Your drinking will max out at a couple glasses of wine during a homemade dinner while watching a movie that you spring $5.99 for on iTunes. “That’s it, I’m definitely going to stay in next weekend. Imagine how amazing I’ll feel at work next Monday if I don’t go out, get a good night’s rest, and not devastate my entire person with an onslaught of beer, cheese, and every processed meat under the sun.”

But how naive. Sure, you may listen to yourself come Friday and turn down those after-work drink plans with coworkers. And of course, you’ll wake up on Saturday patting yourself on the back thinking, “Okay, well, I had more than a couple glasses, but at least it wasn’t the whole bottle!” Small battles. Little victories.

When you hear from your friends, you’ll ask, “How you feelin’?” from your ivory tower while they pick up the pieces from the night before. While they were out all night, you wanted to be there. But instead, you told yourself, “No, no, I told myself I’d stay in.” You were responsible, you stuck to your guns.

“Last night was fun, but I feel like hell right now,” they’ll say as you reaffirm that you made the right decision. But with every Snapchat story you watch, and with every drunk college kid you see having the weekend of his life on College Gameday, it starts to set in. The intrinsic feeling to head out and make some memories overtakes your inherent sense of responsibility.

“If I go out tonight, I won’t feel that bad on Sunday. I’m already ahead of the game.” Your mind? It starts flying a little too close to the sun. Because your friends? They’re heading to a nearby bar to watch the 4:30 SEC game while washing down some wings with some pitchers. “They’re hungover and it will probably be low key,” you justify to yourself. So, you respond back — “Alright, see y’all there.”

When you arrive at the bar and see everyone trickle in, you order a beer. Not just any beer — a nicer craft beer. “I’m only having a couple, so might as well upgrade myself and look like a functioning member of society who no longer drinks Natural Light.” But, as the game wears on and you start realizing you’re on a couple-beers-a-quarter schedule as opposed to a couple-beers-a-game schedule as you originally intended, things start to heat up. Old friends appear out of nowhere, someone met some Wisconsin girls who were partying after their win against Nebraska earlier that day, and all of the sudden you have plans to go to the El Muchacho for margaritas and fajitas. You show some hesitation, but Ted shames you by saying, “What’s so wrong about grabbing dinner and some drinks?”

When you arrive, you’re half in the bag but you’re starving. You order a rocks margarita, salted rim, lime juice and Cointreau (“no mix,” because the sugar makes you sick these days and your body can’t sustain it like you could when you were drinking upside down margaritas a decade ago as a freshman in college). One margarita turns into two, which turns into three, which turns into Ted ordering a round of shots for the table, which turns into someone throwing out the idea of going to a bar-that’s-essentially-a-club that recently opened just a short drive away.

The girls? They love the idea. The single guys? They officially love it even more. The guys with wives or girlfriends? They don’t care, because their better half is out of town so they’ve left their leash at home. And you? The person who had all the good intentions of staying in for a quiet weekend? You’ve officially tied one on and are riding the wave to completion.

After a cramped Uber where someone connected their iPhone to Spotify in an effort to listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s greatest hits, you pile out and it’s the same old song and dance: “Vodka-soda, vodka-soda, vodka-soda.” Your “I’m gonna close out” turns into “Alright, one more.” You check your phone — it’s late. Real late. “Well, might as well stay out,” you accept internally.

While scrapping for the Tylenol and a glass of water the next morning, you lie there in bed. Half-smirking while recounting the night, sure, you have a sense of guilt. You wanted to stay in. You were going to stay in. Hell, on Friday, you did stay in. But now you’re in a mass iMessage about brunch. And after it all — the mimosas, the chicken and waffles, and the afternoon beer at the bar-that’s-essentially-a-club because you had to pick up your card from the night before — it’s Sunday night and you sit there. You sit in bed and think to yourself, “I’m going to start working out tomorrow.”

But we all know that’s not true, because it’s just another empty Monday full of empty promises.

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