IndeedWhen the New Year bell rang, I decided the Christmas tree had to come down. For Mikelle, it was a bittersweet moment. Her month-long party had come to an end. She wore her disappointment stoically as she watched me take down the garland, the twinkling lights she loved, and finally, the treasured ornaments that held the family history in their shining walls.
All she could see was my head-down approach of ass and elbows as I moved the fast motion, getting it all down and stored in the bowels of our condo building. Once downstairs in the building basement, I decided our little four-foot by two-foot chainlink storage cubby needed its own takedown. I got the tree out of the living room and decided to tackle the storage unit for the first time in five years.
As if ignited by some unknown fuel, the need to purge and cleanse increased with every passing hour.
Mikelle caught the fever, too. With Maryann’s help, they completely reorganized her shelving unit and closet, tossing all the unnecessary into a box. Bags of donations stacked up near the door. Daily trips to the donation center that I had grown so familiar with cleaning out Mom’s home once again became part of my routine.
In mid-January, I seized on an opportunity to have a few nights off. All the girls were available to cover all the shifts. But where to go? I wasn’t in the mood to spend much money. The haunting prospect of HVAC and vet bills for our two kitty cats hung like a heavy fog. I knew it would cost me I just didn’t know how much.
Fortunately, living in Colorado affords residents affordable options. Fifteen minutes from Denver is another world. Just off of the interstate lies an old mining town of Golden. This small community sits at the base of the foothills and is home to the premier Colorado School of Mines–the western MIT.
Even though it, like much of Colorado, has seen some growth, it retains its western charm. For $100 a night, I could sleep through the night without interruption by a loving but hungry cat and a beautiful daughter needing to go to the bathroom.
A king-size bed was waiting for me in my extra-large room at the Table Mesa Inn. Downstairs at the hotel bar, I met up with a Blue Moon beer, a plate of street tacos, and a piece of key lime pie.
At first, I thought Golden would be my evening spot. The original plan was to venture up to Boulder for the day or down to Evergreen for a nice walk around the lake. I didn’t want to go anywhere but for a walk and to a local coffee shop.
Discovering all things Mediterranean.
At the local coffee shop, sipping my hot tea and scrolling through my phone, I saw an article on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. I was familiar with the diet. Mikelle and I eat many of the foods suggested. However, something else stood out for me in this article. The diet was great, and the lifestyle made it even better because it is a low-stress lifestyle.
Slowing down to live longer.
Eating well with high stress is better than eating poorly with high stress, but not as healthy as combined diet and lifestyle.
The Lightbulb Goes On
Then, over a steaming cup of tea, the lightbulb went off. Perhaps because of my age, perhaps because many people close to me passed away in 2023. I decided this year is not the year for big goals or resolutions. In fact, it was quite the opposite. No goals. No pressure. No push. I would no longer entangle Mikelle or me in the traditional New Year’s resolutions. I may never do it again.
Mikelle and I are embarking on a different journey. We break free for solid goals and let life flow like a river. Our destination is healthy living and enjoyment.
Embracing a Resolution-Free Lifestyle:
I began to think more about this approach to life, which encourages freedom and flexibility and finding peace even in the midst of chaos. I don’t even care if we grow at all this year. One reason to believe this is the solid foundation we have built. It is time for us to enjoy what we have accomplished.
What is the Mediterranean Lifestyle?
According to Chatgbt, it includes these elements.
- Outdoor Living: The Mediterranean climate encourages outdoor activities. Residents often engage in activities like walking, cycling, and enjoying nature.
- Social Exercise: Physical activity is often integrated into social routines, such as walking with friends or participating in community events.
- Family and Community Focus: The Mediterranean lifestyle strongly emphasizes family ties and community connections. Meals are often social events, bringing people together to share food and conversation.
- Laid-Back Pace: A more relaxed approach to time and schedules promotes a less stressful and hurried lifestyle.
- Celebration of Food: Meals are not just for sustenance but are celebrated events. Slow, mindful eating is a cultural norm.
- Festivals and Traditions: The Mediterranean region is rich in cultural festivals and traditions, providing a strong sense of community and shared heritage.
Connection with Nature:
- Proximity to the Sea: Many Mediterranean communities are situated along coastlines, fostering a deep connection to the sea. This often influences both lifestyle and diet.
- Outdoor Living Spaces: Homes often feature outdoor spaces such as terraces and courtyards, encouraging outdoor living and socializing.
Balanced Work-Life Integration:
- Siesta Culture: Some Mediterranean countries embrace the siesta tradition, with a break in the afternoon for rest and relaxation.
- Emphasis on Leisure: Balancing work with leisure and enjoying life is a fundamental aspect of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
- Diverse Flavors: Mediterranean cuisine is known for its rich, diverse flavors achieved through fresh, high-quality ingredients and herbs.
- Mindful Eating: Meals are often enjoyed slowly, emphasizing savoring each bite and appreciating the sensory experience.
What is Missing from this List?
Social media. Individual plans. Paperwork. Television. I am not saying that we will give these up completely. I am saying that TV will be a communal event where we share the experience of meaningful programs that enrich us, not on agitating news and constant fear often so prevalent in the media.
While the to-do list won’t completely disappear, I think the urgency towards self-imposed goals is waning. Life, after all, is a marathon, not a sprint. It is not won or lost, and it is the journey that is special in the end. All Mikelle and I want to do is embrace the beautiful life we have created.