What Drinking Caesars Taught Me About Life

2014 was a tough year. My business was in a rut. My marriage had failed. And I felt disconnected from most of my friends.

I had always taken pride in my ability to connect with people, and establish meaningful relationships which I built and strengthened over time. Yet in the Fall of 2014, after the collapse of my marriage — I found myself scratching my head, wondering why I felt so isolated from the many people I had once called good friends.

The majority of folks I had spent time with in the years prior were friends of my ex-wife and unfortunately many of them felt a certain loyalty to ‘side’ with her after our divorce. I don’t fault them, as divorce can be messy and divisive—but I realized that I had lost my way and felt empty and alone. I had spent so much time living in an unfulfilled marriage that I had neglected time for the other relationships in my life which brought me joy.

Relationships are like a vegetable garden. There are many types of vegetables — different sizes, colours and flavours —each requiring the right amount of fertilizer, water and sunlight. But all vegetables require attention and only over time with the right nourishment do they grow into something edible you can enjoy. I used to pride myself on my relational green thumb, and realized that I had stopped investing in the very thing I believe to be so important — my relationships with others.

With my self-esteem and confidence at an all-time low, I knew I needed to start reconnecting with people from my past in order to reawaken and remember my old self — the one who thrived on connecting with others, sharing ideas, and learning about the world. So on December 31, 2014 (a year ago, today) I made a New Year’s resolution called Caesar Sunday.

The concept behind Caesar Sunday was simple. Connect with a different friend from my past, and try a different caesar (the quintessential Canadian cocktail, invented in my hometown of Calgary) every Sunday for a full year (52 weeks). The only rules were that I would meet up with a different friend and try a different caesar, at a different location every week.

Here’s a recap:

2015: YEAR OF THE CAESAR

3 big things I learned from Caesar Sunday:

#1 Variety really is the spice of life

One parallel between caesars and friendship is how unique and diverse they can be. Over the year I tried caesars made of everything from vodka, to gin, to tequila and even one with red wine. Garnishes included everything from pepperettes and kabonasy sauage, shrimp rings and lobster tails to almost anything pickled — peppers, asparagus, green beans and more! The drink rimmers were made of everything from bacon to sea salt to steak spice and even crushed up Cool Ranch Doritos chips. All these permutations and variety kept each Sunday different and gave me something new to look forward to tasting.

Similarly, catching up with a new friend each week made each conversation different and interesting. By connecting with different people every Sunday I became exposed to new ideas, places, and people I otherwise never would have heard about. I learned about concerts, art exhibits and cool events and gained knowledge on travel destinations, investment tips, political issues and current events. Of course, I also came across some pretty hilarious YouTube videos. All because I took the time to broaden my network, and make time for a variety of people in my life.

#2 — Rituals are powerful things that build momentum

When I started Caesar Sunday I was skeptical that it could last a year. I had never kept a New Year’s resolution previously, and figured that at some point I would lose interest or something in my schedule would prevent me from keeping the streak alive. However around Week #12 something happened.

I had built a habit — a ritual that had become part of my life — and that friends were starting to notice. People began reaching out to me in private Facebook messages or via text messages, asking if they could take part in a Caesar Sunday? So I started to schedule friend-dates weeks in advance, and when I would see people at parties or events, Caesar Sunday became a topic of conversation. People wanted to know about my favourite Caesar and asked how the project got started, and whether they could join? It resonatd with one friend so much, she decided to start her own ‘Sunday latte’ version of Caesar Sunday which she’s still doing to this day.

I realized that Caesar Sunday is a good lesson in goal setting. When we commit to a goal, there is power in establishing a ritual or habit that holds us accountable. This is further strengthened when that ritual becomes public (such as posting a weekly photo that people look forward to seeing). Finally, as the goal continues to be achieved — momentum is created — and you start to see results which motivate you even further to finish what you started.

#3 — Sundays are always better with friends.

Often when I ask people “How are things?”, I get this response:

“Good! But crazy busy!”

We are all busy. But time is a currency that we must spend wisely, and invest in things that are important to us. One thing that Caesar Sunday has taught me over the past year, is that we should not be too busy to make time for the relationships that are important to us — and that Sundays are always better with friends.

Not once did I regret a Caesar Sunday or think it was not time well spent. Seeing an old friend, catching up on life, sharing new ideas and tasting a different and delicious caesar made every Sunday of 2015 memorable and unique.

It also made me realize that time is always better when we are enjoying an activity with people we care about.

Looking Ahead to 2016

The past year taught me a lot about life, relationships and also more than I ever dreamed I would learn about caesars. (Like, seriously.)

As Caesar Sunday draws to a close and I look forward to 2016 — I am filled with optimism about the year ahead. I plan on taking my learnings from the past year and establishing a new Sunday ritual that keeps Sundays fun, active and lets me enjoy the Caesar spice of life with the people I care about. If you want to take part, send me a message — I promise it will be awesome.

Thanks for reading & may your year ahead be filled with love, good health, prosperity and above all happiness. Happy New Year!

Dan

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