Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Wearing of the Green - Green for Health

Wednesday was St. Patrick’s Day and the big question everyone asked me was, “Are you going to drink?”

Two years ago I gave up drinking for Lent, as I often do, and hosted a large party for clients. The party was a huge success with many of the top people in New York’s advertising community in attendance. St. Patrick’s Day is big in Chicago, and Boston, sure, but in New York City it is one of the events of the year. People love to drink, and celebrate! At this St. Patrick’s Day party two years ago I was honoring my Lenten vow, and drank water. However, my drinking water, or not having a drink at all became the unwelcomed center of attention for all my clients. As the night wore on it became more and more annoying as people, including my top clients who spend millions of dollars with me, tried to goad me into having fun with them.  The event turned into my justification for giving up the drink, and my clients were not as comfortable, and in the world of advertising parties, it just became a distraction. And not a positive one. I can laugh off peer pressure from friends, but with clients it just became awkward. You see, drinking is part of the culture. Now, clients never press me about my veganism - ever. They are so supportive, and complimentary.

This year, working for a new publisher, I brought the big St. Patrick’s Day party with me, and we had a terrific turn-out. The tradition lives on! But, as I took stock of these past four and one half months, and I thought of all the times my self-discipline triumphed, and all the weight I lost, I made a decision. I can easily, EASILY choose not to drink on this day as I have many times before. But, I wanted to socialize with my clients without unnecessary interruption. You see, ordering a salad at lunch as they dive into a steak is one thing, but me prancing around with a seltzer water while entertaining 75 clients drinking merrily because they chose to spend their evening with you and your fellow salespeople is another. In the end, I chose to drink because I wanted to. I have no regrets!

Thursday morning I bounced up, oatmeal, gym, salad, and all was back to normal. No burning desire to go back to the old way of life, no desire at all. I have control over my eating and drinking habits, and no longer do I wait for May 1st as the “end” of anything. Rather, I am choosing to eat and drink and live healthfully for the rest of my life. Yes, I am quite sure that I will reintroduce fish and chicken into my diet, and yes, I will drink again, but I have found something I never knew I had – moderation.

Also, on St. Patrick’s Day I spent time with a client and friend who runs the advertising for Coca Cola – obviously, we spoke of the soda tax, and the health of America. It was a fascinating discussion, and I am trying to talk him, or someone from Coke into guest blogging their thoughts. And, I hope to get other professionals, like Dr. Furhman, to post their thoughts too. Because this is not about some New York State tax on sweetened water, it is a bigger issue – how do we as a nation combat obesity.


Roothy said...

They don't have to know your seltzer water is just seltzer. Add a lime on the side and it looks like an alcoholic drink. You can't avoid them knowing it's seltzer if sitting down at a meal with them, but at a bar like that, I don't see why it's an issue at all.
I speak from experience--they don't know unless you tell them.

Terrence said...

A brilliant strategy until your number one client bellows, "four shots of Jameson!"

Denise D'Agostino said...

I hear ya, in advertising they're brutal!!!! Shots shots shots!

Garden said...

Re: soda tax
In Canada, cigarettes cost much more ($10) than in the States because of gov't taxes that then pay for our socialized medicine. Maybe your government will use the same strategies and taxing soda to pay for healthcare seems reasonable to me. Sodium, too, for that matter.

Terrence said...

sadly, its NY so any tax collected from a soda tax will end up who knows where!