We all have different moments in life that secretly make us proud. For me, quitting smoking in my late-20s was one. Although I wasn’t decades sucking the life out of cigarettes, I had on many occasions failed to stop. I tried the self-hypnosis books, I tried cold turkey, I even tried hot turkey but none worked. Then one day I simply got fed up of failing and just stopped. However staying away from them is really the hardest part. I often associated a pint of beer with smoking a cigarette so to make this work, I had to stop drinking pints and find a new bad habit – enter the world of wine! The first two things I noticed when I quit smoking and switched to wine was (1) I still drank wine like a pint of beer and (2) I suddenly discovered I had taste buds and started to take great interest in choosing my favourite type of wine. From meeting my then soon-to-be wife and settling down to watch Bridget Jones Diaries on a Saturday night instead of jumping around like an intoxicated monkey who in his own head is dancing like Fred Astaire in a nightclub, my new habit of drinking wine became a nice accompaniment in my more relaxed leisurely weekend time.
With my wife being Italian, every trip to Italy became a big adventure to try out and bring home some newly discovered vinos. For those who don’t know – Amarone is a must!
It went from there to any trip overseas, I had to try their wine. They say quitting smoking is always replaced by something else. Sometimes it’s excessive exercise or excessive eating. I was excessive eating and over-generous wine drinking.
When we bought our first house, I bought two separate wine racks. One was for weekday moments, the other was for the weekends. Under the stairs was the reserves incase of an outbreak of war or a grape famine. I prided my collection and panicked when it got low. I loved when friends or family came over and to give them a bottle to take home of a new wine I had discovered and fallen in love with. I often gave my clients annual Christmas presents featuring my favourite wine of the year. I never claimed to be an expert, I just knew what I liked.
However like everything, things changed. With the arrival of our daughter two years ago, sleep became more entrancing then a glass of Malbec or Nero D’Avola. When I was brave enough to have a couple of glasses, the extreme tiredness the next day was simply not worth it, despite a few attempts.
I should state that when our darling little Princess arrived, all my personal leisures ceased to be such as going to the gym, going to the cinema, meeting friends for a mid-week treat, weekends away, etc. So the only moment of self indulgence was that hour or two before bed after a 12hr shift followed by evening playtime, helping with dinner, washing dishes, storytelling, putting her to bed, etc. It is here that I must also state that I probably only do a fraction of what my wife does for the household and that I don’t know how any single parent even does it all on their own!
It’s all changed now though despite my best aims of resistance. The reserves are well and truly gone. There is no weekend or weekday wine. It’s now a case of be grateful if there’s anything at all. The first wine rack is now in the garden shed and used for storing flower pots. The only remaining one in the house is as you can see in the picture, a sanctuary for my daughter’s teddies. It’s where she likes daddy to put them to sleep at night. It’s amusing.
So what will my new habit be? Well hopefully something more healthy. Worst case scenario, it can be minding teddies at night so someone can sleep tight. Whatever it will be, I’m sure it won’t last too long.