13 October 2007

Comment -- "Moderation is for monks"

Absolutely goddamn right.

First, I'd like to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. I appreciate, too, the multitude of advice, philosophies, and general observations on getting older. But I think my favourite one came from my uncle Kent: "Take big bites; moderation is for monks." The sayings "live life to the fullest" and "enjoy each day like it's your last" are so common that they've lost their punch. The "moderation" maxim turned on its ear is alluring, not only in its message, but in the way it's worded: direct, creative, refreshing. And shunning moderation--I think--is a pretty good idea, especially if one is born with a bit of common sense. Putting your life unnecessarily at risk is taking a big bite, but it's also stupid. For example, driving blindfolded down the wrong way of a one-way street at speed is probably a big thrill, but it is also beyond the boundaries of what most people might consider an option for something to do on a Tuesday afternoon. And it is personal boundaries that determine what "moderation" is.

I'm reminded of a (I think) Velveeta commercial that aired back in the late 90s. Some cowboys are sitting around a camp fire, and the narrator says something to the effect of, "Some nights, after weeks of hard work, me and the boys like to go a little crazy . . . by putting two kinds of cheese on the cheeseburgers! Yeehaw!" This ad always made me giggle, but it illustrates that "big bites" for some are not so big for others. Skydiving, running with bulls at Pamploma--big bites, I'd say, on all counts. Truly pushing beyond moderation. But this doesn't mean you have to leap out of an airplane to experience a thrill.

Or does it? Actually, now I'm not so sure. What do you think? If moderation is a fence, and we all have one, do we need merely to peek over once in awhile? Or do we all need to achieve certain shared experiences (the skydive, the bulls, hallucinogenic drugs) before we can really claim to be taking a bite? To make it even more complicated, is our tendency to take risks genetically encoded? Did my family name survive because my ancestors said things like, "Titanic? Sounds nice, but you go ahead." or "No, actually, I don't think I can swim to France."

While we ponder, I'm going to drink another pot of coffee, go for a run, and then maybe learn to surf (it's something I've always wanted to do).

Thanks for the advice, Kent. Here's to indulgence.

PS: for those who want to further explore the myth of moderation, check out Barbara Holland's books The Joy of Drinking and Endangered Pleasures

05 October 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

I've had quite a few people berate (well, berate is a strong word. "Remind" is closer to the truth) me about my lack of posting in these past few months. My excuse is the same as any other blogger who suddenly falls silent for weeks: I've been busy. Yet since this is the end of this blogging adventure, I found I had to post one last time for the sake of closure, if nothing else.

30 is the new 20. This is what I've been telling people. I'm hoping that if I say it long enough, I'll begin to believe it. Rather than join the echoing chorus chanting "I really don't feel any different than I did five years ago," I'm going so far as to say 30 is rad--as long as you haven't given up, that is. This seems to be the obstacle folks can't hurdle. People are so afraid of the idea of 30 that they fall prey to one if its biggest fallacies: that when you turn 30 you can't keep up with the kids.


You know how fashions tend to repeat themselves? That because you're defining the styles that your children will mimic. Cool, eh?

Right. Off to get pissed. Be well friends.