james-stevenson-horn-of-moderation-new-yorker-cartoonMy fiftieth birthday celebration has officially come to a close. On Thursday I went to Eleven Madison Park for a mind blowing dining experience (without photos) that I will never forget and Friday I enjoyed a night of poker in a monthly game that I play in New Jersey. I went to Eleven Madison Park with the same friend that hosts the poker game and he puts out an extraordinarily lavish spread of scotch, wine, and food. Then, on Saturday morning it all ended as I have embarked on a month long diet to detox and clean out. No caffeine, alcohol, dairy, red meat, sugar or anything else of a similar nature.

My son turned five last week as I turned fifty. I see in my son many of my own behaviors as a child. After a half a century of living I am still acting like a five year old in many ways. I remain impulsive and compulsive though I do pretty well with it. I am well pleased to have reached fifty will no prescriptions in my medicine cabinet, the ability to sit and stand with no assist from my hands, and a marriage and children that feed me in a way that I could never have imagined ten years ago.

Moderation and I have never met– and I do mean never. Some of my earliest memories are of eating excessively. My mother would go shopping and I would eat all the oranges she bought for the week in one sitting. It was always fruit in our house because there wasn’t much by way of sugar products but my friend Todd would look on in amazement as I could pound an entire box of devil dogs at his house. And this long pre-dates the munchies.

I teach people that they can change long-term movement patterns that don’t serve them. What I do serves people in pain with an incentive to change. There are plenty of people with terrible posture who aren’t in pain so they have little reason to think they need to change, but change would help them a lot. I could apply the same approach to my behavioral patterns but I choose not to. I have hepatitis C and an unhappy liver so I have some incentive to change but I have a constitution that welcomes extremity and I tend to feel pretty darn good.

Also, my particular type of crazy serves the work I do. Compulsion aids learning if that is the place where you apply it. I definitely feel that the intrinsic energy I have to push myself to excess, has allowed me to develop my walking program that consistently amazes me with its ability to help people out of all sorts of pain. That might be the ultimate rationalization but I like it.

So what am I to do? I behave a certain way. It is objectively possible that my lifestyle could lead to a shorter life span (how much shorter I don’t know). Cultivating moderation would most certainly give me the upper hand on the ageing gracefully thing that I always talk about. Instead I usually push myself hard for eleven enjoyable months and then I cleanse for an equally enjoyable month. I haven’t missed my one month a year detox in a long time and often think of extending it while in the thick of it—but never do.

Parallel Feet When Walking
Sunday Morning Music: Hyde & Beast


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