What the hell is moderation anyway?

All things in moderation, they say. Blegh. What does that even mean? This tends to be particularly applicable to health, because the main trick is knowing when to stop. I tend to be just a tiny bit driven and having grown up with the mantra, “Do it properly or leave it alone” means that I find it difficult to stop while I’m still feeling good. Stop cleaning. Stop dancing. Stop working. Stop running errands or whatever it is that I’m busy with. It’s like trying to make a child stop playing lego two hours before it’s even dinner time. NOT going to happen, right?

I have this pet peeve with leaving things unfinished, because it means more work later on when I could just finish it NOW and have it be DONE. (Even if it is past midnight.) Any mothers out there get this one? Part of the trouble is that when I’m resting, I notice 120 things that need doing and the minute I have a really good day with enough energy, I plow through it the way some kids (no adults, right?) inhale doughnuts. (And no, you’re not getting a link to that.) When I’m feeling good enough to have some fun, I have FUN until I’m done (read: friends make me stop and sit down) otherwise I didn’t do it properly.

Deciding when it’s worth it

Balance is great and while I try my best to apply it, there are days where I honestly couldn’t give a damn. There’s this musty, stiff and rather boring feeling I get around the word “moderation” in this context that makes me want to cringe and then dye my hair purple and go shopping. I know that overdoing things creates an energy debt that I will need to pay later when I’m unwell, but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s worth it. Even more so when a patiently forgiving friend lets me enjoy it and then saves the caring kick in the butt for that one occasion where she announces she’ll drive me home in my own car, without taking no for an answer. No, I wasn’t drunk, but yes, rather grateful. It was just a cold and rainy winter’s night a couple of years ago where I’d gone out walking alone in the creepy woods  to a show, wearing arm braces for pain and mobility support and I was stubbornly determined (crazy?) to be there.

Taking breaks from moderation

That same particular friend has a phrase for this approach: “taking moderation in moderation”. I like it because it allows me plenty of room to occasionally use full speed in fifth gear… I have to test my limits now and then or I’ll never know whether I make progress. We’ve all got to live a little, right? Or more accurately, some of us squeeze a lot of living into one or more days because when the clock strikes twelve and the glitter fades, the pain and/or energy crash is as real as the pile of laundry that’s been quietly, exponentially multiplying all week while you rested.

Sometimes more is more 

I know that doing things properly includes responsible health management (snore…) but all humour aside, the truth is that when I go all out, it makes me feel normal (that thing you feel when you don’t feel under the weather or downright crappy). It makes me feel like I have accomplished something more than just getting through the basics of the day. I can forget that I actually need to “manage” my energy.

It’s a little illusion I indulge in now and then, “in moderation”…


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