Everything in moderation, Johnny, she says as she swats the bag of pretzels from little Johnny’s grubby fingers.
Everything in moderation, Bridget, he says as he withdraws twenty careful dollars and folds them into his leather wallet.
Everything in moderation, little Gregory, she says after she had said no to his pleadings to spend time with his best buddy, Richard.
Food, money, friends…I am told everything is better in moderation. Consistently told. And then retold, and then reminded, and then re-reminded. How that is possible, I don’t know, but it is drilled into me this concept of moderation.
How much better it is.
It’s been so drilled into me from the day of my emergence from the womb, that it wouldn’t suprise me if I have previously written a blog post on the goodness of moderation.
But I’m not interested in what they all talk about.
Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
Something within me has apparently rebelled, because I am fully conscious that moderation is not the key to happiness. Not the key to adventure. Not the key to self-actualization.
I prefer a full life to a long life, and moderation has very little to do with the former.
I have grown as a person the most through bouts of extreme living. Throwing myself in a non-English speaking country to aimlessly bumble about for a year. Eating only one food for a week or two. Deciding to run 100 miles through terrain I am probably physically unprepared for. Choosing to move to another non-English speaking country and “seeing what happens”.
My favorite travel memories have been when Soulpal and I spent an entire hiking through slippery Slovenian mountains, clambering up and around wet boulders and breathing in foggy mountain atomosphere, eating nothing until we tumble back down into the hostel and collapse upon cans of beans and significant giggles.
Spending an entire month stuck together despite the fact that both of us are quite independent introverts.
Moderation is boring. I mean, it’s necessary probably in some accounts. And one might even throw around the word “responsible” at times.
But it’s boring.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life having a savings account into which I insert a nice comfortable 20% of my monthly paycheck.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life planning one week-long standard family vacation per year.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life eating oatmeal in the morning, a snack at 10:30, a salad for lunch, a good low-carb dinner, and trying to force myself to not eat until I have to repeat it all in the morning.
I don’t want to spend my life scheduling “friend-time” and “spouse-time” and “soccer-practice-time” and “grocery-shopping-time” and “running-time”.
So much scheduling that my stress-relief becomes slamming my feet up in front of the TV and watching shows, pretending I live a different life for a 40-minute episode.
I’m not interested in moderation. I’m not so interested in predictability. I’m not so interested in safety nets.
I want to live paycheck to paycheck. I want to eat only rice and beans for a week if I have to. I want to be able to eat nothing if I have to. I want to spend hours upon daylight hours writing furiously only to erase it all the next morning. I want to make what I need to live, enough to feed myself and whoever else might be dependent upon me, enough to make rent, and then I want to spend everything else on adventure.
Who says I will get to retire? Who says I am guaranteed even another year of life?
I want to get into sticky situations and be forced to adapt instantly. To not have that safety net of a savings account. To not have contacts that would help me out in a pinch. I want to see what I am capable of in these instances. I don’t want to play it all safe.
My greatest heroes are the ones who lived thick, hearty lives of wildness.
Tim Ferriss. Host of my favorite podcast and self-declared “human guinea pig”. He goes on 10-day silent retreats. Experiments with 3-day fasts. Dabbles in ketosis diets, weeks of pushing his body to the extreme.
Gandhi. He wouldn’t have had the impact he had if he had exercised “diet moderation”.
Robyn Davidson. She crossed 1,700 miles of western Austrailian outback accompanied by only camels and her dog, Diggity. She placed herself in the wilderness of her own accord.
David Goggins. The guy has a VO2 max of like, 25, due to sickle cell anima and “poor genetics”. He was 240-pounds when he ran (and completed) his first 100-mile run. He had prepared a total of four days before this race.
Alexander Supertramp. Yes, I understand that he ended up dying, after tripping on ‘shrooms in Denali. But he was free. He felt and saw and tasted and experienced freedom. That’s something not many of us have felt.
Seth Godin. His blog has been named in the “25 Best Blogs” of multiple years by the New York Times. He writes a blog post every day, and he has for the last eight years. He’s written 17 books. He doesn’t eat meat, dairy, gluten, because it doesn’t make him feel good.
I want to be as individual as these people.
I want to eat when I’m hungry, and be able to not eat when it doesn’t serve me.
I want to throw myself into writing and write for hours and hours and forget to shower and forget to sleep because I’ve found something more important than anything else.
I want to travel and travel and travel and meet people and be uncomfortable and never have stability and never be constant and never be predictable.
I don’t want to have safety nets. I want to be free. Untethered.
Above all, I don’t want my life to be dictated by money. Money might pay the bills sometimes, but it doesn’t make the world go round.
Maybe we should have less bills and more adventures.
Peace and Blessings,
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
-Henry David Thoreau