We’ve all heard that all work and no play makes Jack a dull gentleman. The same goes for you. If you live for only the serious parts of your life, you’re going to miss out on the finer things. What is life without some time set aside for pleasurable leisure? A pretty piss-poor life if you ask me.
The caveat is that anything pleasurable can easily become an addiction. The trick is moderating your vices so you don’t become a slave to them. I have come across a few tricks that have helped me keep my own vices under control that I will now share with you. So without further ado…
Make It A Ritual
I’m not going to mince words here; I smoke. I like tobacco in it’s many shapes and forms. I enjoy a good cigarette and absolutely love Maraschino cherry pipe tobacco. Cigars are also on my list, but I am less experienced with them. I was keenly aware of the addictive nature of tobacco so I set strict limits on my consumption. Usually I allow myself only one cigarette/cigar/pipe a day. As such, I make sure I get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of that one smoke. It has become a ritual for me; a reward for a hard day’s work.
On my way home, I roll down my car windows, turn on some upbeat music, and smoke my allotted daily cigarette. I do not mindlessly puff away while distracting myself with my phone or something else. I savor every drag. By the time I am done, I do not want another. It’s similar to mindfully eating a meal as opposed to just cramming food down your gullet while watching TV. One will leave you satisfied and full while the other will leave you wondering what happened to all the food as you head back to the pantry.
The result: I am completely relaxed and mellowed out by the time I get home which is a good thing because I have three children, all under the age of five, ready to greet me as soon as I walk in the door.
Consume Stronger Versions
By stronger versions I do not mean taking up meth or cocaine. If you drink alcohol, try switching to something more potent. Beer used to be my drink of choice and since it was relatively smoother than liquor, I could consume quite a few in a short time. Finally, I switched to harder drinks, such as Whiskey and Scotch, which forced me to slow down. Since it’s typically unpleasant to slurp down straight Whiskey, I am forced to slow down. This accomplishes a couple of things.
- The drink lasts longer
- A single drink leaves me more satisfied
I have also developed an appreciation for the subtle flavors of these harder drinks and enjoy trying different Whiskeys and Scotch from various regions.
Every time I pull a cigarette out of the pack, I ask myself this simple question, “Do I want this cigarette or do I need it? If the answer is “need”, then put it back in the pack. A man doesn’t become a slave to his vices. There’s nothing fun about addiction and I refuse to allow that sort of weakness take a hold of my life.
Also, be sure to listen to your body and make certain you aren’t experiencing any adverse effects or exacerbating any existing ones.
If my sinuses are acting up (a common thing down here in Tennessee), I’ll forgo my daily cigarette until they clear up. Or if I start finding it harder to breath and my cardio begins to drop, I will stop completely. The same principle applies to any other vice. If I begin to notice a significant decrease in my health, I cut it out, even if it’s just temporary.
Conclusion and Caveats
Modern society has become so sterile that most social vices have been regulated to the point of absurdity. A gentleman might be dapper and cordial, but he is not sterile. He has a sharp wit, refined tastes, and the occasional eccentricity.
I want to add a caveat to this post though. If you are a recovering addict -be that alcohol, tobacco, gambling or whatever else- it is best to avoid these kinds of pastimes rather than risk falling under their sway again. Don’t become a slave once more!
I will leave you with a quote from our 16th President…
“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” -Abraham Lincoln
You heard the President. Be a virtuous man.