I remember my first Diet Coke. It was 1985, and we hit it off immediately. I was a teenager that always felt fat and always felt hungry. Diet Coke promised to be part of skinniness, something to help push the hunger back.
It worked (sometimes) and besides that it kept me super bouncy, like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
Over the years, Diet Coke was more than a companion.
It was more than cheap and easy refills at Circle K.
It was an excuse to go somewhere (I need a Diet Coke and also…).
It was dance partner.
It became a currency in my life. Ex: I thought of you and brought you a Diet Coke, now would you please...
It played hide and seek with me during lecture.
It made me happy, it made me laugh.
There was no one moment that made me say stop.
Maybe it was something magic in my lucky rock that was helping me let go of things that didn’t serve me anymore.
Maybe our relationship had just run its course.
I didn't have to hit Diet Coke Rock Bottom, which I imagine is something between kidney failure and running out of gas on a dark road because you spent your last dollars making sure you have enough Diet Coke for tonight and tomorrow morning.
For whatever reason, I just wanted to see what would happen next in my life if I gave up Diet Coke. So I did.
I didn't go through withdrawal, I didn't lose my mind and spit pea soup. I didn't hide Diet Coke in wine bottles and sneak sips of it with dinner.
I just let it go and now I am able to sit quietly.
Except that right after I gave up Diet Coke, the universe sent me an Apple Watch and wearing it is a full time job. It tells me when to stand, how much effort counts as “exercise” and evaluates my overall usefulness to humanity.
In between driving the kids in circles and marching around as my Apple Watch mandates, I curl up on the sofa and follow links from medieval art into digital libraries and click around until the sun fades and my watch tells me to get up and move around (seriously, it cares so much that it totally controls me, this isn't a problem, right?).
I read chapters of books that bore me, followed by entire books that made no sense at all but were more interesting than watching people get all excited about blending things into a puree on home shopping channel.
The only time I have been tempted to have a drink was last week at our dinner at Veterans Village when I found myself face to face with an entire line up of former loves -- Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Diet Coke. I scooped ice into a cup and walked away, leaving the drinks to bless other people.