Admittedly, I have never been a fan of restrictions or anything that puts people under bondage. I guess you could say I’m a liberal if liberal means “stop trying to live everyone else’s life and just do you!” You know how annoying it is when you run into those people who insist on telling you how much is too much based on some standard they ascribe to, yet remain wholly unaware of what your personal decisions are based upon. And usually, if they’re honest, they are just judging you for some enjoyment they feel they can’t enjoy but really would like to enjoy. I remember when I was the Battery Commander in the Utah Army National Guard, one of the Sergeants once told me that my approach to life would “get me” one day! Well, I’m still waiting…
So, with my aversion to religion and religious practices aside (religion being defined as man-made restrictions on enjoyment, seldom bible based or taken out of context etc), I began to ponder the question, “is there such a thing as too much?” I mean if you really enjoy something, shouldn’t you do it as much as you can? And how could doing something you really enjoy cause you hurt or difficulty?
It seems the answer is yes and no. God says (not that dude on Facebook) that we are to do all things in moderation. Well, moderation like discipline tends to illicit a negative reaction from most folks. Again maybe that feeling comes not so much from the principles that the words convey but rather more of how people have used those words to beat us down! So with that little caveat included, why moderation? Why try to temper and control when “it feels like” less control is better?
Hmmm… This is where it gets interesting. In order to understand, let’s consider the alcoholic. At first the budding alcoholic has a drink because he enjoys it; maybe it masks some pain; maybe it softens hard feelings. Soon, however, a few drinks no longer does the trick. A few drinks turns into a lot of drinks which turns into a multitude of drinks. And now, what once seemed to serve as a suitable medication now becomes an addiction which is never satisfied. Okay maybe that example was too dramatic for you. Let’s apply it to having fun. Perhaps no-one loves fun more than I do. In college, Eddie called me a “hedonistic bastard!” (Yeah, Eddie swears…) Yet can there be too much fun? Again, yes and no. If your pursuit of fun overrides your desire to work, you will soon find yourself no longer having fun. Seems like the promise of having fun on the weekend maybe serves as a motivation to keep working during the week. So what if you are retired? Again, doing nothing isn’t fun for anyone, so there is such a thing as remaining productive even though you have retired from work. Warning!!! If you find yourself no longer productive it won’t be long before your time off work will morph into a misery that has no end point! How about food? No-one loves the taste of food more than me (see Eddie’s explanation earlier). My Pops will tell you, I’m a great guy to cook for because I can appreciate some good tastes. But, if I indulge my tastes without constraint, I soon find my food love turns into some anger over that fat guy staring back at me from the mirror.
Obvious results from over-indulgence aside, there’s something else to think about… Us humanoids crave unique and exciting experiences. A trip to Hawaii (or paradise rightly called) is a wonderful experience. Yet, if we decide to move there it maybe loses some of its splendor. Oh it’s still beautiful, but it is no longer unique! Going to the club with friends and having drinks is great fun. But going every night soon turns into monotony and before you know it you are forcing yourself to have the same fun you had when you didn’t do it so often. Drug users quickly learn that it takes more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect. (Yeah, you’re right, God probably wasn’t applying – all things in moderation – to drug use 🙂 ) But, I trust you get the point, right?
I often think that moderation refers not so much to quantity as it does to frequency. When you get the nagging thought about not doing such and such so much, it probably follows frequency more so than occasional over-indulgent use (just preserving Thanksgiving folks!). Have you ever found yourself in a setting that you wish would never end? You know what I mean. You’re just having the perfect time with perfect friends. We have all been there, right? But consider, that perfect time was for you at that perfect time, to be enjoyed in that perfect moment. What made it a “perfect moment” was its uniqueness for you and your life. If it happened every day it would soon lose its perfection. Life is like that… A lot of day to day requirements always leading up to the potential for “perfect moments.” So savor the perfect moments, but not too much!
So, is there such a thing as too much? Absolutely! Moderation helps you to appreciate the beauty that this life is. The absence of moderation, while promising you good times, will soon begin to afflict you and before you know it, will own you. Anticipation is often just as pleasant as the actual event.
You have one precious life to live, my friends. God desires the best of everything for you. But (sorry there is a but), He is also smart enough to recognize that there is such a thing as too much (love excluded for sure). So live it up; pursue your dreams; follow your heart, but every now and then put the brakes on and make sure that what you are desiring isn’t desiring you (to take you over)!
Just some good thoughts (in moderation 🙂 )…