Enough books to say Good Night
The Way I Was

M is for Moderation

Enough books to say Good Night
Waking and sleeping, reading and resting the eyes, all things in moderation.

This series is an alphabetical exploration of 26 options for living well, despite everything. It answers the question–How can a we live with problems? 

Sure, moderation is wise. But…

Isn’t moderation a church-lady, finger-pointing, tsk-tsking spoiler of fun?

In order to live well with chronic pain, I’ve had to learn to pace myself, to put on the brakes and say, “well that’s enough of that for today.”

I had to change my attitude about moderation,

to empower myself to see restraint as a life-enhancing, rather than a life-restricting principle.

Here’s the way I see moderation now:  

Moderation embraces every thing, each at the proper time and in the appropriate season.

Moderation accepts the gifts found in everything, without hoarding or clinging to anything:

Living and dying; planting and harvesting; joining in and sitting out; tearing down and rebuilding; wine and water; feasting and fasting; weeping and laughing; grieving and celebrating; embracing and distancing; meats and vegetables; searching and waiting; working and resting; stocking up and discarding; fats and carbohydrates and protein; saving and sharing; cutting up and mending; loving and despising; knowing and not knowing; every emotion from exhilaration to sadness; every thought from confusion to understanding to re-evaluation; every experience–whether meditative, routine or adventurous–

Healthy living demands moderation in all things.

The philosophy of moderation is not restrictive; it is expansive.

Moderation welcomes brave ideas. It says, “And the converse has its place, and the contrary is useful, and the other is important, too.”

Because the moments of our lives are momentary gifts; to enjoy and to share and to let go.

And that’s enough of my opinion.

Of what do you think, when you hear the word moderation?

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34 thoughts on “M is for Moderation”

  1. I like your definition of moderation Tracy, in terms of everything having its proper time and season. Moderation does get a bad rap – I think it has become a word with negative connotations, yet if we still lived according to moderation, so many of our issues wouldn’t exist.

  2. I love this post Tracy. It’s relevant to us without pain as well. My first thought when reading your question at the end was: Too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily a good thing.
    Diana xo

    1. It’s hard to remember, in the moment of “the good thing,” to practice restraint. At least I know I struggle with that.

      Awareness is one of the keys, I think. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. My husband has always said “Everything in moderation.” I’m sure he doesn’t mean absolutely “everything,” but I know what he means.
    Another superb, honest, personal and helpful post, Tracy, and the opening picture is excellent!

  4. I wanted to comment last evening but I’d already had a long day of it and my right eye, which is damaged, went to bed around 4:00 while the rest of my body carried on! So I had to practise moderation by waiting until this morning to comment. I think of moderation in relation to multi-tasking – you learn the hard way what doesn’t work, and what doesn’t get done today may get done tomorrow, or you may discover tomorrow that it really doesn’t need to be done at all. A wise older woman said to me when I was a young mom “Your children will never remember the day you scrubbed the kitchen floor, but they’ll never forget the day you took them on a picnic”. Yes, I have a lot of work to do maintaining my home and property, but I also have to take time for myself. Wonderful essay! Can’t wait for “N”!

    1. Is your eye damage permanent? I hope not….

      It’s so true, about what builds memories, which is what makes for a life well lived. I hope you’re talking ample time for yourself! Thanks for leaving a comment.

      And I think you’ll like “N” 🙂

      1. Unfortunately the eye damage is permanent, collateral damage from Celiac Disease undiagnosed/misdiagnosed for decades. There is obscured vision in one quadrant and it doesn’t track with my left eye. Sometimes while reading or on the computer I’ll suddenly realize that I had shut my right eye without even realizing it. Just one of those adjustments a person has to make. And now I’m really eager for “N”!

    1. Oh, Francesca, I can’t imagine you being boring. And I think the word is properly applied to food and alcohol. The struggle in moderation for me has been applying it to everything else. I tend to get caught up in projects, and work myself to a frazzle until they’re done. I’m slowly overcoming that, but I constantly have to restrain my first impulse (to keep working, forgetting to rest…)

      Are you back from the wedding? Or is it still in the future?

      1. I have been back for a while. A few days ago I published an … unusual wedding report. If you have time, check out my last post on FsT. Let’s say that my aunt was not pleased! 😉

  5. Tracy … I love the photo of the child who does not know moderation in the love of books. “Everything in moderation,” as Marilyn Warner noted, is a sensible way not to get into sensory overload. I have to temper my love of everything-pumpkin to my desire to watch my weight and be healthy. Your approach is sensible. My daughter used to tell her children when they were younger, “Listen to your body.” It’s good advice. Understand when to say ‘whoa.’

    1. I think children tend to let their enthusiasms carry them away–

      or maybe I’m talking about myself. I’m still struggling with moderation in the love of books. I justify it by telling myself books are a good addiction. 🙂

      It’s not easy to understand when to say whoa, especially when it comes to all the autumn goodies. Mmmm, pumpkin!

  6. Everything in moderation, including moderation, right? I believe that was a quote from someone..don’t remember who.
    Sorry Tracy, trying to catch up with some blogs..(I have a good excuse 😉

  7. Moderation is the word used at school here for checking exam candidates course work. In each subject, so many scripts are sent for ‘moderation’ to ensure that staff are marking fairly. This can cause grade boundaries to leap up and down. It’s an unfair way to test anyone. Bring back regular exams for those that are able, I say, and for those who aren’t, put a meaningful programme of alternative vocational options together and get this country back on its feet!
    Oops, sorry Tracy, my comment there was anything but moderate – almost turning into a bit of a rant … but you know me by now 🙂

  8. I do truly believe that moderation in all things is the best way. And I love your photograph…one of my daughter’s favourite books was Goodnight Moon 🙂

  9. Tracy, this is once again timely advice for me. When I get caught up in a project or activity I like, I forget not to use all my “spoons”, then I have to deal with the fibro aftermath for a couple of days. Most recently, it was berry-picking; my legs and hips are still aching. When will I ever learn?

    1. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Jennifer. You’ll learn. It’s particularly difficult to learn how to balance everything when living with fibro, because there are so many, many factors involved. Sometimes we choose to do an activity for a few hours, to be with family, to enjoy nature, to have berries, and put up with the aches and pains after. Immoderation in that case, would be to berry-pick for 6 hours, or 2 days in a row. Moderation will minimize, but unfortunately it will not eliminate our pain.

  10. I used hear the word moderation and grimace. I lived with wild abandon, with little thought of consequences. And then I grew up. Now I realize that there is peace and satisfaction in moderation. There is a hieghtened appreciation for the occasional indulgence. Moderation is the stuff of the wise.

  11. I always think of moderation in terms of diet, because it is what I say to my kids when it comes to eating…everything in moderation. But I love your idea that moderation is expansive! Now, that you mention it, I agree whole-heartedly…in a moderate way, of course.

  12. T’is amazing just how much we can be all so much in tune. Us… Linked by just belonging to a generation. My friend Dave (he has a wondrous blog at pairadox farm) and before him Colin (math publisher) reminds me that we all belong to a gang with parallel lives. Such a wonderful journey. You recently commented on one of mine and now with a few moments of grace i came here and was blown away – like you were reading my mind. What a world we live in!

    1. Indeed. What a world we live in.

      That we live parallel lives is nothing new (which is why literature survives). That we can so frequently discover them, (via the internet) while we’re living them, is just plain mind-blowing.

      Links, please: for Dave the wondrous; and Colin the math publisher…

      P.S. I am no mind-reader. But you know Who is….

  13. It seems I’ve been practicing moderation in moderation … overdoing it is my natural modus operandi, and I have a hard time holding myself back sometimes, even when I know the outcome will be unpleasant (oh, those aching wrists!). One of these days I’ll get there, with your wise example to guide me 😊

    1. I’m definitely LOL. Practicing moderation in moderation….

      Reminds me of the time I said to my husband, “I know I have a compulsion for self-improvement, but I’m working on it!” 🙂

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