Sunday, 5 August 2018

A slippery slope

I'm not good at self-indulgence, at enjoying myself freely and spontaneously. I always hold back, as if too much personal fun might be a bit decadent and immature.

I see other people letting themselves go so eagerly - boozing, bingeing, joking, raiding the shops, cheering football teams - I'm taken aback. I'm seldom that enthusiastic or uninhibited about even my biggest passions. A sort of quiet pleasure is all I can manage.

I guess I come from that social background where too much obvious enjoyment was seen as "showing off" or "drawing attention to yourself". All horribly undignified and childish. Enjoyment was fine up to a point, but not if it meant "making a spectacle of yourself". That would never do. I'm trapped by the stiff upper-lip tradition of the English middle classes.

A part of me thinks too much enjoyment is the slippery slope to total debauchery and public humiliation. One drink too many and I'll end up an alcoholic. Too much cheesecake and ice cream and I'll be a 20-stone fatty in days. Just go too far and in a trice I'll be like a runaway car.

Maybe I'm influenced by occasions when enjoyment turned sour. I once drove a girlfriend home when I was roaring drink and could have killed us both. Another time, on a heavy dose of LSD, I was oblivious to traffic and almost killed myself again. I've played practical jokes and seriously upset the victims. Such memories make me wary of too much abandon.

But I do my best. When others around me are getting wilder and wilder, I tell myself to loosen up and get in the swing of it all. Come on, Nick, throw away the rule book, forget all those childhood vetoes and indulge your natural impulses. And the result? A bit like a lifelong virgin sampling a brothel. It's hard to change the habits of a lifetime.

17 comments:

John Gray said...

I guess we all have to grow up sometimes

Mike said...

A lot of people are naturally reserved and introspective. I am, myself, but I don't let it bother me. It's who I am, without any stiff-upper-lip tradition, and that's all right with me.

Drunk and driving, guilty -- but not in a very long time. We are "blessed" (sarcasm) with county laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol, so one has to travel 50 miles, round trip, to obtain the stuff or buy it on the way home from somewhere a distance away. We don't bother. We didn't drink a lot before we moved here. I can't remember when I had an alcohol beverage of any kind.

LSD... really? Never had the opportunity for that or any other drug other than marijuana, which I've smoked exactly one time. And, even had I had the opportunity, I wouldn't have.

20-stone? Already there... and I do like my ice cream.

Joanne Noragon said...

I have a friend raised as a house slave by an evil stepmother. The result--she doesn't know how to have "fun". She enjoys being with adult friends and seeing their fun.

tammy j said...

maybe there's something to be said for not always "letting it all hang out!"
I think it's good to be yourself. now if you were just dying or chomping at the bit to break loose it would be something. but I think you're happy in knowing yourself and your limits and that's a good thing. and when did falling down drunk or being overly loud qualify as 'fun?'
I do think it's healthy though to be able to laugh at life. especially when you have to endure some parts of it! and stones or not... I LOVE ice cream!

CheerfulMonk said...

I'm afraid I've never been roaring drunk or tried LSD or marijuana. I don't think I've missed anything --- I love my life just the way it is.

nick said...

John: I'm still waiting to be grown up - when does that happen exactly? But does being grown up mean you can't enjoy yourself any more?

nick said...

Mike: That prohibition on buying drink must mean a lot fewer road crashes, domestic quarrels, work accidents etc. Strict but beneficial.

The LSD overdose was unintentional. I was offered some punch at a music gig and it turned out to be laced with acid. Very lucky I didn't kill myself. Fortunately I was with my girlfriend who was keeping an eye on me.

nick said...

Joanne: How sad that she never has any fun. But good that she enjoys other people's fun and doesn't resent it.

Tammy: Yes, some people's idea of fun is a mystery to me. I never understood the attraction of being out-of-your-head drunk or drugged. Or of stuffing yourself with food until you're physically ill. But then I guess a lot of people wouldn't understood my idea of fun either.

nick said...

Jean: I'm sure you've missed absolutely nothing. There's more to life than getting drunk or stoned!

Bijoux said...

Lol, not sure why drinking, criminal activity and cheering on sports are all in the same sentence, but the important thing is to be who you are and not worry about it.

nick said...

Bijoux: Oh, raiding the shops just means doing lots of shopping, not the other kind of raid! Indeed, just being yourself is the key, I guess. Some people are naturally exuberant, others naturally quiet. But I do sometimes wonder if the exuberant ones are getting more out of life.

Liz Hinds said...

I'm trying harder but as I don't drink at all I can't completely let go either. But I can be quite silly and care less now.

nick said...

Liz: Sounds like you're better at letting yourself go than I am!

Joared said...

Mind-altering substances do lower the inhibitions, not to mention other effects as we all know. I guess each person has to determine their usage guidelines, hopefully to not create problems for themselves or others. Some people are more outgoing than others, I guess — a combination of genetics and life experiences. Important to just be, which allows us to feel comfortable and relaxed — to like ourselves. It’s all these personality differences that make life interesting, I think. Too many of all the same kind of people might be less desirable.

nick said...

Joared: Indeed, a mixture of outgoing and self-contained types makes for a healthy (and more interesting) society.

It's hard to control drug usage when so many are obtained illegally and users usually have no idea of what exactly the drugs are and at what dosage. Overdoses are all too common.

Rummuser said...

I had my share of letting go and having fun till the ealy part of this century when I had to assume other responsibilities. During the last eighteen years, I have not really indulged myself in the way that you talk about though I have not denied myself anything. I am just more relaxed now and don't need stimulants to have a good time.

nick said...

Ramana: Yes, I remember your rather onerous "other responsibilities", which I think you were glad to see the end of. No, I don't use any stimulants either. I prefer to experience things just as they are.