Thankfully I’m nearly into the second week of January without any public shaming for my lack of New Year resolution. I’ve been allowing myself to zone out when people mention their progress through a dry January, Veganuary, or general cheese abolition.
If you know me you will know that this is not because I disapprove of any of these things – or indeed resolutions – but that after years of fridge-list reminders of the family’s New Year pledges, I’ve resolved to break free and go with the flow. This is a challenge not to be underestimated.
I’m an empty nester, so it would be uber-controlling anyway to have the resolutions of Favourite Son (FD) and Favourite Daughter (FD) published besides my own when they are living miles away. ‘Alexa, has FS been cooking from scratch and has FD finished reading ‘War & Peace’ yet?’, ‘Alexa, please send them a reminder’
I’m finding this new approach awkwardly liberating. After years of letting rules control my fun (thanks Monica) this year I’m just seeing where January takes me.
For your information, today January takes me to a local Victorian lido to swim and breakfast with two lovely ladies. This sounds very worthy, but in fact it has taken us so long to agree when we can meet to cash in the ‘swim and lunch’ voucher they purchased for me over a year ago, that the voucher has long passed its sell-buy date. I find myself lying over the phone (another rule broken) to get the voucher’s validity extended, and my best Pinocchio ensures we convert to a ‘swim and breakfast’.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the absence of abstention on the food front over the last two weeks+Christmas, means that the unveiling of my gooseflesh adipose to an open air pool puts many of the poolside diners off their granola. Still, in the spirit of low resolution, I resolve to let it all hang out and ignore their looks of revulsion/pity.
I’d forgotten that outdoor swimming is a dose of smelling salts to any constitution, and, as I enter the water, I pretend to my friends (chatting in the deep end) that I am waving not drowning. Foot cramp and facial rigamortis add originality to my aquatic movements, and my friends comment on my enthusiastic fading dragonfly stroke even though I am attempting butterfly.
Just a couple of ice-cube lengths of the pool and we reward ourselves with a take-over of the jacuzzi. Once warmly ensconced, I turn to see both friends have become proud owners of what look like impressive breast implants. It transpires that the vigorous hot springs within the tub will inflate the décolletage of the most lycra-bound swimming costume. We bask in the moment, until three younger ladies join us, sporting bikinis and clearly in no need of any jet stream. Top trumped, we move to the sauna.
So long is it since I last graced a public sauna – ok, any sauna – that within 5 minutes I have cleared the room by forgetting sauna room etiquette; do not overshare, and do not assassinate any film that a stranger in the sauna may be intending to view later that day. Door slams; we sit it out. I resolve to do better.
With just enough steaming, swimming and showering to justify cashing in our breakfast voucher, we emerge to the warmth of the boudoir (the name the Lido gives to its female changing room). As we have no equivalent at the local municipal leisure centre, again, I am ignorant of the etiquette required. I wish I had braved the retro, individual, outdoor changing booths (mercifully curtained off from the cafe) and commit to invest in new underwear when I see a lady noting my greying ‘smalls’. She flourishes her hair straighteners with a pitying sigh.
In the poolside cafe we are on home ground. Strong coffee, great company and no January menu restrictions to concern us, we ‘do’ breakfast really stylishly. I share with my friends that I’m resolved to go with the flow and that I’m trying really hard to be more impulsive. They feel this could be a good thing, admitting that the iron resolve I have displayed in previous Januarys has been exhausting to watch. Selflessly, they agree to support me through this year of low resolution, but do express some doubts regarding compatibility with my London Marathon training.
We compare diaries and arrange our February rematch. They’re designing me a voucher for a ‘Champagne, Red Wine and Port Night’ because they feel I need to build on January’s training. Scary for me, certainly, but they promise that no skinny dippers will be harmed during the duration of this activity.
I find the thought both exhilarating and frightening and rush off to alert Alexa and post a reminder on my fridge door.