Believe it or not, I make my living giving people advice on how to live a better life. More specifically, I help them identify the areas in which they can improve their health- mental and physical- which will, in turn, give them a chance to live a life more suited to their interests. Working with people, as we sort out what's wrong, what's right, what needs to change, and how to get there, is the crux of it. Success requires diligence, patience and compliance. Sigh, finding out what motivates people is the real journey. Turns out, being "healthy, happy, and sane" is just another trope in the health practitioner's handbook. Everybody wants it, nobody wants to work for it.
So, I have decided on a different approach this year. I will need some input, as I know I have not lived far enough out on all the edges to explore all the ways in which self indulgence may actually be the answer to everything. So much of the modern attitude towards "success" is work hard, wait longer, abstain from everything, relish little, as you still need to keep walking through the storm.
I have compiled a short list of resolutions, and their natural, hedonistic opposite. With a careful examination, perhaps our reluctance to dance in the fountain of pleasure is the real problem. Please, feel free to expand and expound, to grow the list, and help fertilize it with your dearly acquired wisdom.
Why go through the effort to live a longer life if it's just going to be full of more and more suffering?
1) Lose weight! Yes, you need to lose weight, because the Earth is spinning slower on its axis because you weigh too damn much!
Hedon: I have more surface area in which to feel the pleasure of fingers massaging my skin. I will take more baths, swim more often, luxuriate in larger swaths of fine satin, 1000 count cotton, and Snuggies. There is not only more of me to love, there is more of me to laugh with, and more of me to enjoy all of your culinary efforts. Bring it on, I would rather die eating than live in hunger!
2) Exercise more! Yes, you need to exercise more, because there is not enough CO2 in the atmosphere, it is mostly trapped in your fat. Exercise makes you live longer, if you don't acquire a crippling knee injury first.
Hedon: if it hurts, it is bad for me. The point of enjoying this luxurious body of mine is pleasure, not pain, so I only stand to gain by limiting my movements to things that bring me absolute pleasure. Why climb a mountain, when I can get a much better view of it watching PBS specials? Why run a race, when some foreigner is going to win it, again? No pain, no pain. Keeps me off the meds.
3) Lose my temper less! Yes, you need to pipe down, your anger and attitude are hurting the relationships around you, and the stress is driving up your blood pressure. You are stroke material!
Hedon: lose my temper more! It makes me uncomfortable, and carrying it around everywhere I do, I need to unburden myself frequently and often. If everybody did this, nobody would mind it so much. It makes no sense to keep it together if it is all one, big, together lie! I am truthful and I feel much, much better when I just get it all out!
4) I need to detox! Yes, you totally needed to squeeze the sponge, rinse the liver and flush the old bowels. Chances are you are saturated with hundreds of chemicals that cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and neurotoxicity. Even if you think you eat well, you don't live in paradise.
Hedon: fuhgettaboutit. I'm not going to drink that shit.
5) I need to have better sex! Yes, a healthy sex life is part of a healthy life, like sleep, exercise and food. Taking care of those three things can improve your sex life, which is part of a happier approach to aging healthfully!
Hedon: you don't need to tell me that, duh?
6) I should give more to those less fortunate around me! Yes, participating in a charity or volunteer situation reaps emotional and social rewards that go beyond the mere capacity to serve in a job. A meaningful life has purpose, continuity and kinship, all of which are better supported through generosity and kindness.
Hedon: I should give more to me. Come to think of it, I will revisit my tax accountant and see if I can get reimbursed for the time I spend trying to improve myself, can that not be counted as a capital loss? If I don't get fit, are my gym receipts deductible or just a write off? Hmmm, I could use that cash and go to Rome, they know how to party there!
Alright, folkaccinos, give me your best advice for hedons. I think that 2012 needs to be a remarkable year. No need to improve your already terrific self, just run with what you've got and make sure you enjoy the trip!