“Everything in moderation,” my grandmother tells me. It seems as if the generation that went through the Depression and their offspring have held that belief as a method to happy living, or at least contentment. I have often contemplated that attitude, and while I can begin to feel somewhat comfortable with it to an extent, and understand it’s precipice, I’ve always felt it lacking.
The problem with living moderately is that eventually life becomes mediocre.
The body-brain machine is an amazing vehicle for our spirits. It is built to withstand tremendous pressures and excitement and change, countering them with chemicals and ideas that give us the strength to overcome. As importantly, the human machine produces other drugs and thoughts that bring us back to equilibrium, able to maintain every day life.
This ability to soar and sustain gives our souls room to expand. We achieve greatness by pushing the edge of the envelope. We rise above by feeding off the energy of others. We sense that our bodies are ready to move, so we do. The more we stretch and respond, the stronger we become.
It is not moderation that is the key, it is balance.
I was talking with my good friend TC (not Magnum’s buddy) recently about getting and staying healthy. His personal philosophy is one I found quite interesting. [I take his word to heart because is has both a high IQ and a high PQ (physical quotient), and has proved both through his actions for years.]
His take to being physically healthy was to rate all input (food, meals, chow, grub, drink, etc.) and output (exercise, workouts, sports, etc.) on a scale of 1 to 10. One side gets positive numbers, the other side negative. If trying to get physically healthy after a vacation full of food, drink, and laying around, then work toward numbers on the output side of the scale. When goals have been met and he moves into maintenance mode, then a weekly goal of zero is set.
Go crazy for a little while. Back down a bit. Turn up the heat for a while, counter it with a cooldown. Such a rating system as above could be used in all aspects of life. Certainly the foundation of it fits in all we do.
Spending a lot of time at work recently? Acknowledge it and take some time for yourself or your family. Losing touch with your significant other? Adjust and set aside some QT. Achieve a huge goal? Reward yourself with a little vacation or time off.
The idea of work hard, play hard is a great attitude to have. Yet I would make one addition to it:
“Work hard, Play hard, Rest hard.”
Picture a waterfall. Powerful. Energetic. Forceful. Yet upstream and downstream there is a calmness. The river flows quietly toward the fall. Peacefully. Then the beautiful, wonderful crash through and over the rock. Below is a magnificent pool followed by more soothing currents. The waterfall itself is transformational. Certainly nothing moderate about it. Above and below this shift in pace lies peace and tranquility.
One could argue that our own physical machines want to be pushed. Bodies in motion stay in motion. Rolling stones gather no moss. As a species, for thousands of years we have asked ourselves, “Can we fly, what is on the other side of that mountain, can I do that?” It is innate. Just as a big V8 engine seems to settle in at 110 mph, the human bodies and brains demand to be pushed from time to time.
However, happiness, contentment and satisfaction dictate that we stop and take a look from time to time as well. Ponder. Contemplate. Acknowledge and applaud.
So I say go for it. Moderation schmoderation. Make that leap. Take that risk. You have the capacity. You were made for it. Just plan a little time on the other side for reflection and rejuvenation.
Blue Andrews is a freelance blogger for PickTheBrain and the founder of Simple Random.