Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Year of Temperance

Sorry about the lack of a photo. I really can't think of what to photograph that aptly represents Temperance. Intemperance, sure, I have a blog full of pictures of that, but temperance is a stumper.

Anyway, my 31st birthday is on Friday and, as I've mentioned before, this is the Year of Temperance. Just a little background if anyone needs it, temperance, is one of the four cardinal virtues along with prudence, justice and fortitude. It's essentially moderation, or the taming of unhealthy desires.

This is going to be a hard one for me. At first, when I was contemplating this theme, I thought about all of the practical things. I broke down the areas where I am most likely to be intemperate; food, coffee, the internet, pulp fiction, and made a list of strategies to go with each one. For example, for every two pulp fiction novels, I have to read something of substance. I was pretty proud of my efforts, but I'm getting old enough to recognize when I'm BS-ing myself and as I looked at my neatly ordered list the alarms were quietly sounding. If it were really that simple, I'd have done it by now.

I have a love/hate relationship with those moments, the ones where I realize that I can continue to pussyfoot around the truth, but it isn't going to get me anywhere and the only way through it is to roll up my sleeves and really do what I need to do. They're an odd mixture of overwhelming and freeing.

The truth is that the habits that have led to things like overeating and drinking a half a pot of coffee a day are my safe havens. They're what I use to cope in times of crisis and fear. They're the morphine masking the pain of old wounds that I don't want to admit haven't really healed. My neat and tidy little list of strategies isn't going to be much help if I'm not being honest with myself.

So maybe I am gaining a little wisdom with age. I'm pretty sure that at 21 I would have swallowed my own BS whole and gone about my business checking off my strategies for two or three months before I gave up and reverted to my old ways. Maybe it's not so much wisdom as a lack of energy. I'm young yet, but I'm too old to be building houses on sand and pounding nails in with my head. If I'm going to do this I'm going to do it right.


  1. Does "temperance" mean the same thing as moderation? I try...but I think every person has their stumbling block. Mine would probably be eating sweets.

  2. Sweets are my major downfall too. So of course, I started my Year of Temperance off with Birthday Cake Breakfast. :) But that is a family tradition.

  3. Wishing you a very happy birthday and a Successful Year of Temperence, or at least a Successful Year of Exploring Temperence! :)

  4. Thanks Rosemary! I've been doing much better on the temperance thing now that my birthday is over. :)