In my early 20s, the pursuit of pleasure was one of my primary motivators. The majority of weekends, I was out looking for adventure, whether that entailed getting high as fuck at a concert, drunk as fuck at a house party, or doing hallucinogens in the forest with a good friend or three. I also got involved in the Southern California Renaissance Faire in my early 20s, not for history, but for the after hours parties. When the customers left, the workers would camp out and party hard, which entailed sex, drugs and rock n roll. Well, maybe a little less rock n roll and a little more EDM and belly dancing music but I digress. Basically, I’d party hard on the weekends, but be (mostly) responsible during the week. I enjoyed these years, but I also knew it was going to take its toll on my body. I pictured myself in my 30s, haggard with thin gray hair and wrinkled, spotty skin, and in a raspy voice reminiscent of Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, saying “yeah, I partied all the time when I was young…” between coughs. Yeah… Not for me. I realized I was going to have to become fit and healthy in order to maintain my preferred levels of hedonism.
I have made several honest attempts at going to the traditional gym, where you lift weights, use machines and run on treadmills. But to be blunt, that stuff is boring. I mean, it’s just mind numbingly repetitive, and everyone is just sort of in their own bubble. Bleh. But I realized Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai were incredibly fun and engaging. Practicing a martial art or two or three was less monotonous and the environment was more social and interactive. It was a fun alternative to the traditional gym. I realized I could use the martial arts to stay healthy. This adjustment also started my general tendency to eat healthy during the week only to then become indulgent on the weekends, something I still tend to do to this day. So in a sense, the wanton hedonism of my youth led to better lifestyle habits today.
Now, to be clear, that phase of my life was back in my 20s. As of this post, I am in my early 40s but look about 10 years younger. Absent from my lifestyle are the self-indulgent pursuits of yore. I have long held the philosophy that life is short and incredibly impermanent, so we should do everything in our ability to enjoy it. What that entails I suppose is up to the individual. So, I do enjoy my life, but I enjoy it differently than I did in my 20s. As much as I enjoyed martial arts at that age, I wish I had spent more time on the mats. So, that’s what I do now. These past few years I’ve been remarkably consistent. My coach described me as a kid in a candy shop when I am in the gym, because I am there frequently, soaking up knowledge and trying to improve my technical prowess. Sure, I also enjoy some weekend indulgences, such as gross, delicious, unhealthy pleasure foods, occasionally a couple of beers or a shot of whiskey. But for the most part, I eat healthy and put in a lot of time at my local fight gym, working on Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, Judo and Wrestling in an effort to not only become a well rounded martial artist, but also to continue enjoying my life for as long as possible.
So what’s the point of this rambling? Well, sometimes enjoying unhealthy things can lead to forming healthy habits. I realize this is not the moral you’d put in a kid’s cartoon, but the Universe functions in weird and nuanced ways, and doesn’t really need network approval to do so. I basically wanted to be an indulgent little fuckwad without paying the physical or medical consequences, so I opted to adopt a healthy lifestyle and restrict my epicurean escapades to weekends and special occasions. So fuck it. Enjoy your fleeting existence as well as you can, just party responsibly by becoming a healthy martial artist during the week.
Anyways, enjoy your practice and remember to breathe.