The Ink Penn

As did everyone else, I saw tons of articles in January about New Year’s resolutions—how to make ‘em and how to keep ‘em. Most articles were either about losing weight and getting in shape or getting your financial house in order. Some made suggestions on what our resolutions ought to be, and one topic that kept cropping up was Dry January. I’d never heard the term until I saw it in the AJC and again in the WSJ, so I had to google it.

Alcohol Concern, a British charity and campaign group, got the idea from an employee who decided to give up alcohol one January in preparation for a February half marathon. The idea took off when the group promoted the idea in a big way with a Dry January campaign for 2013. That year 4,500 Brits committed to the plan and by 2017, the number was up to 5 million.

The idea now seems to be spreading to the States, or at least talking about it has spread. I couldn’t unearth any stats about how popular the trend is here, though I counted more than 30 articles on the topic.

The Penn household gave no consideration to a dry January, mostly because I enjoy my nightly glass of red wine. For us, detoxing in January means giving up cookies and cakes. The list of gifts we received the last two weeks of December may give you an idea as to why: pumpkin bread; zucchini bread; peanut brittle; homemade hot chocolate mix, granola, and party mix; pralines; maple bread; chocolates; brownies; and lots of Christmas cookies.

We were on massive sugar overload for several weeks because we both seemed unable to pass through the kitchen without grabbing something sweet. In early January, I tried to get us back to our somewhat boring routine of having one serving of pudding after dinner, only to hear my husband complain, “Where are the cookies? I need cookies.”

This would be the same man who, in November, complained that he couldn’t lose weight if I kept buying cookies. I can usually eat a serving a night and stop, but I have to hide the bag to keep him from overindulging. Do you know how hard it is to continually find new hiding places for bags of cookies?

We did not make an unrealistic resolution to go off sweets cold turkey, but we did make one joint resolution that had nothing to do with food. We resolved to cease watching the news for the month of January. Our only caveat was that if we went to war or something else truly awful happened, we’d make an exception. Thankfully, we didn’t have to do that.

Every night at six, we sat in our comfy chairs in the living room and read instead of watching TV. If we weren’t reading books, we were reading the news online, but at least we weren’t listening to newscasters belabor the same points ad nauseam. I was able to enjoy my nightly glass of wine without spluttering at an inane or offensive comment from a politician or commentator. This new practice has become such a peaceful part of our day, we may continue it.

So far, I’ve also stuck to my commitment to walk Banjo two times a week. Though my husband usually walks him, I wanted to add an aerobic activity to my routine, so Banjo lucked out.

That’s our resolution report; how does yours look?

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum and Mansell Crossing, and on Amazon. Contact her at inkpenn119@gmail.com, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.

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