I love the holiday season! In my head, the holiday season is from October 31 (Halloween) to the first Sunday after the new year. So, this year, that’s nine plus weeks of celebrating! (I must clarify, I do not listen to Christmas music until Thanksgiving time.)

Every year, for the most part, can tell you what stories will be featured in the media during the holiday season. Usually, there’s the “how to avoid going into debt”, “how to be connected while feeling lonely”, “key topics to avoid when celebrating with loved ones”, “how to avoid gaining weight”, and of course, “how to make a resolution and stick with it”.  It’s like clockwork how these topics start surfacing around Thanksgiving – run through December and then into the new year. In fact, I have been critical of this non-creative formatting, but, the reality is, these topics continuously run because we need the reminders every year. Which goes to show how change is hard.

I had a birthday this past week and it was a milestone – the big five-oh. Eeks, yes, you heard right….fifty!! One of the things that I committed to doing on my birthday was to give up Diet Pepsi (DP). I have had a very long love affair with DP and it isn’t easy to end this romance.

Growing up,  I could have one soda on the weekends. This was at a time when only sugar sodas were available and now I realize it was smart of my mom to limit our intake on how much we could have. However, when I got to college, I was exposed to my first ever “free refill” soda foundation on campus. I thought I had “died and gone to heaven”. At some point during college, I thought  I “wised up” because I went from sugar soda to the diet version. The theory in my head was that since it was the “diet” version…“keep ’em coming!”

Fast forward to now. The last few years I told myself, “When I turn fifty, I am going to give up DP.” Well, I turned fifty and did pretty well for the first two days, and then things went south. I had a stressful week at work, in addition to juggling a few different things at home, and keeping this commitment has not been easy.

In the past, my routine when I arrived to work has been to (1) turn the laptop on, (2) go to the kitchen to get my water and Diet Pepsi, (3) return to my office, finish booting up my laptop and get settled in. The first couple of days, I did a great job of substituting my DP for a Chai Tea Latte. In fact, I found that I did not even miss my DP. I was so busy at work that I didn’t even have time to think about. At night, I got home and thought, “Way to go Peg, you got this”.

Well, pretty soon, I started missing my bubbles. Friday evening I had a work social at my home, indulged in some drinks and eats (the “not so healthy” kind) and what did I want Saturday morning when I woke up… a DP! I was so convinced that I needed my old friend “DP”, that my husband circled back a mile and a half, on our way to a holiday party, so that I could get my fountain drink at the nearest convenience store.

I wish I could say that today was a better day. However, I chose to stop at McDonald’s for a Diet Coke on the way to my mom’s for a ‘quick fix”. I actually did not enjoy the Diet Coke and perhaps that is tied to my desire to giving up diet soda? (Or, it could have had a cruddy fountain machine? Or that it was Diet Coke? ha!) Regardless, I am humbled by the reality of how hard it is to make a change and live life differently. In this instance, I am only referencing my soda consumption; however, you could substitute that for anything like cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, food, sugar, etc. Change is hard, and as I enter a new year, I do want to live life differently.

If you have lived the “soda battle” and won, please share with me (or us) how you accomplished this. I say, “Cheers to you,” and for those of us who keep working at it, “keep on, keeping on”. We can do this!

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