Moderation – The Un-Coolest Word

DTR114681 The Wedding Dance, c.1566 (oil on panel) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69); 119.3x157.4 cm; Detroit Institute of Arts, USA; City of Detroit Purchase; PERMISSION REQUIRED FOR NON EDITORIAL USAGE; Flemish, out of copyright PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library works with the owner of this image to clear permission. If you wish to reproduce this image, please inform us so we can clear permission for you.

Pieter Breughel the Elder – The Wedding Dance


Yesterday I did the weekend warrior thing. I left the house at 7:15 for a two hour beach walk at high tide – 7 or so miles of slogging through a painful mixture of shell fragments, wet-cement sand, and a stiff headwind. I don’t think I even looked at the ocean. Then I met Lisa for another hour on another beach, doing upper body band exercises in her driveway as I waited for her to come out…


I went back to the house and while I binge watched Netflix on my laptop, I ate pigs in a blanket cold – those high calorie, high satisfaction bite-sized morsels made of cocktail sausages and crescent-roll dough –  and then a sampling of everything else in the various cupboards, drawers and refrigerator compartments. Exactly erasing all the good I had done for my body earlier: I should have just stayed in bed.  What is it with me and my complete inability to moderate my behavior? From inappropriate drinking to binge eating to exercise extremes, I am a hopeless glutton for over-indulgence.


Think about it – in the year 2015 “moderation” is kind of an ugly word. Even its usage has decreased drastically since the 1800s. Like Veruca in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, we have no use for the word “moderate”. We want it all. And we want it, “NOW!”


Use over time for: moderation



It’s no excuse I know, and I feel a little queasy and sore (and chagrined) this morning from my mixture of overindulgences, but is it possible that the un-coolness of self-restraint could be one of the reasons for the steep rise in binge drinking in the past ten years?


In an article from NBC News titled “Americans are Drinking More – A Lot More” Maggie Fox attributes the following factors to the 17% rise in over-drinking in the U.S. since 2005:

  • Socio-economic factors;
  • availability;
  • and social norms.


I’m adding the “I want it NOW” factor. I don’t suppose we will start saying, “Oh my God, my weekend was so self-disciplined and temperate – it was amazing…” anytime soon. I am not even sure I want a life of unabridged moderation. But I do think the gimme, gimme of our modern lives is a trap. And that overindulgence is a sign of the times.


Today I’m not drinking because I am self-restrained.


How come you’re not drinking?