Moderation isn’t Mediocre

This is my new mantra.  I shall repeat it daily – maybe hourly – until I believe it is true.

I was recently informed that I have a serious moderation problem…  I was explaining to a friend my on-again, off-again love affair with volunteering as an Assistant at the Central Market Cooking School.  You see, I’ve simply run out of time to do all the things that I want to do in life.  So, what ends up happening is this: I get busy and can’t volunteer for a few months.  I really miss it, so I sign up for like five classes in one month. I promptly burn out and don’t return again for months. Repeat.

In the midst of this story, Brad interjected, “Wow, you really need to learn the word moderation.”  At first, I thought he was just teasing me, which is not at all uncommon in our house.  Later, I began to take it to heart.  This explains so much…

The problem is that I pride myself on passion.  I don’t like to do anything half-assed.  I refuse to be a bystander in my own life.  I hate the thought of living with regret. (And I’m talking about ‘real’ regrets, like I wish I had taken advantage of studying abroad in college — not I wish I hadn’t eaten that cupcake because now I have to run an extra mile.)

I can’t help but think that if I did anything in moderation, I wouldn’t have had so many awesome experiences last year

assisting Chef Tre (from Season 3 of Top Chef) in cooking a class. 

finishing the Chicago Marathon nearly 20 minutes faster than my 4:00 hour goal. 

and working a rotation at the District Attorney’s office where I tried over 20 cases in 3 months. (No cameras in the courtroom, sorry! 🙂 )

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are times when moderation not only matters, but is key.  In fact, I seem to have no problem applying this principle to other aspects of life… I have to pace myself to run a marathon or to complete a threshold test on the bicycle because if I go out too fast, I won’t finish strong, or perhaps at all.  I can eat dessert or have a glass of wine with dinner every now and then precisely because I do it every now and then.

Suddenly, I was left wondering, what gives?  How can I reject moderation in some aspects of life while accepting it in others?  Does “moderation” mean that you have to adopt a “good enough” is good enough attitude?  I suppose the alternative is to start making some tough decisions about what you can honestly fit into each day.  But, how do you quite doing any one of the things that you love to do?

I’ve been marinating with this issue for days now.  Ordinarily, I can resolve my rants with some sort of comforting conclusion, but I really thought this one was going to end with big fat question mark. Then, it finally hit me…

I clearly can’t take the “good enough” approach, which leaves me in “tough decisions” territory.  But, the fact that I have to make cuts doesn’t have to equate to failure.  Instead, it’s an opportunity to assess life and decide what really matters.  Plus, I might even be better at the things that make the cut because I’ve made a conscious decision that they’re really meaningful and because I’m not spending so much time fretting about all the other things I still have to do.

So, in the spirit of my fellow bloggers with February goals (Fatty February is my personal favorite), here’s mine: I will embrace moderation.  I will, of course, apply to my life in moderation.  I will identify the things that I can’t give up, the things that I can be content (if not better off) doing less, and the things that I can do without.  I will check back in one month (okay, maybe two), and see whether moderation truly isn’t mediocre.

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About Beth

Wife, daughter, big sis, aunt, friend, attorney, runner, cyclist, amateur chef & aspiring photographer. Thanks for keeping up with my life on the run!
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