Elliott and Margo enjoy playing ring-toss with the recyclables.

It’s a new year so like most people we are suddenly laser-focused on our health and nutrition. After enjoying the holidays, punishing ourselves in January seems a normal course of action. What with the chocolate and wine and the time off from work and school that clearly represented our worst selves, anything short of penance just seems unacceptable.

#DryJanuary was trending on social media, which was equal parts inspiring and annoying. But all the cool kids seemed to be doing it, so Kristen and I officially jumped on board sometime around Jan. 5 – ok, exactly Jan. 5 (Not that we’re counting days or anything.). Full disclosure: I did have one beer on Jan. 4 before this became our resolution. Further disclosure: it was delicious. So, I’m #DryJanuaryExceptForOneBeer. Admittedly, that hashtag isn’t quite as catchy.

Now we’re deliberating over soft drinks the way we normally would about craft brews. If you can find Topo Chico mineral water, get yourself some. The tiny fizzy bubbles are like a party in your mouth and that’s a welcome sensation in a month when you have decided to not party. Margo and I collected all the empty bottles and made a homemade ring toss game so clearly the good times haven’t stopped altogether.

Elliott declared he would do a #NojuiceJanuary (on Jan. 19), which is honestly not all that heroic for someone who rarely drinks juice. And he succumbed to temptation on Jan. 20 anyway. I’d rather he pared down his consumption of a gross, chip-like snack called Takis that he buys at convenience stores when he’s hanging out with his friends. We’ll have to keep that in mind for next year. Margo waffled between spending the month as a vegetarian or a pescatarian. I think she may just like the word pescatarian a little better so that seems to be what she’s settled on.

Kristen gave me a Fitbit for Christmas, so now I have empirical data to support how healthy a month it has been. At first, I really didn’t want all that information. Did I care to know how many steps I took any given day or to have a ridiculously detailed breakdown of how well I slept each night? Did I want my watch to buzz 10 minutes before every hour reminding me to get up and walk around? Apparently, yes, I did because now I am obsessed with the gadget and I check my heart rate about 50 times a day. If I had this thing as an infant, I would have started walking at six months I swear.

My personal record thus far is 18,200 steps in one day and I made sure everyone saw my wrist stats before I let them go to sleep. Then, because she’s so competitive, Kristen started leaving her car at home and walking to MARTA each day for her work commute. So now she’s racking up gaudy step numbers of her own and it’s game on: I’ll walk the dog… NO I’LL walk the dog! Let’s walk the dog together. FINE!

We’re in the thick of basketball season and I’m coaching both kid’s teams so Saturdays revolve around the roundball. I get in plenty of steps because I pace the sidelines like Rick Pitino after a phone call from the FBI. Elliott’s squad, My Boy Blue, is a scrappy 3-2. We are undersized but if you can steer the boundless energy of 11-year-old boys in the right direction, good things can occasionally happen. They’d win the Fitbit game at least.

Margo’s team, Solid Gold, is 3-3 and improving. Our star player Annabelle ate four chocolate chip muffins before the last game. But we won 16-5 and Annabelle scored 14 of those points. Good thing we’re not evangelical about this health kick thing. The playoffs are coming up and we’re going to need to get that kid some more muffins.


Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at tim@sullivanfinerugs.com.