This I Believe

Grant - Egg Harbor Twp, New Jersey
Entered on September 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Moderation provides the framework towards a secure, balanced, and healthy existence. Whenever I feel that too much of a good thing is bad or too little of a bad thing good, I stare straight down the middle and discover equilibrium.

How many devastating, barren Syracuse winters must I endure simply to appreciate a warm summer stroll on the beach? Just enough. How many times have I taken a dangerous gamble on the roulette table but was still smart enough to pocket that last dollar and walk away? A wise choice indeed. How many people in this world have been promised they can eat whatever they want and still lose weight, only to find a dependency in something besides themselves? Too many, and that is why moderation is the key to triumph.

The essence of moderation is everywhere around me. My grandfather, a man still going strong in his nineties, gave me a great piece of advice a few years ago. I asked him how somebody who drank and smoked a pack of cigarettes everyday for well over fifty years can still make it to age ninety. He then told me, “We’re all lucky to be alive… but just to be safe, I never did more than I could handle, and I always knew when to quit.” That, to me, is a model to live by, for he could never let a bad habit get the best of him. He taught me to pick my battles; to understand the dangers of crossing the proverbial line. He taught me that no Saturday night out with friends is complete without a family dinner on Sunday afternoon. And, in all honesty, this state of mind always wields the same result: happiness.

I also realize that moderation is not a secret. Many religions preach that in order to love you must be willing to sacrifice. Our government rewards the hardest of it workers during the best of times for hanging in there during roughest. Above all, I also see the success of moderation in our favorite stories. Perhaps the best example is the tale of the quintessential underdog, Rocky Balboa. Despite the odds and the naysayers, he ultimately found victory. While his opponent was busy showing off for the cameras and signing autographs instead of training for the fight, Rocky stayed his course and shocked the world. I saw that victory is never certain, and the champion ultimately gets taken down because too much success often throws the character off balance with a false sense of security. The true heroes are the ones who live the simple lives and find success, and they are also the ones who manage to prevail in the long run.

Hopefully, my words on moderation can speak to others. It is something we can all attain in perfect harmony. It may not be the most glamorized philosophy for people who are always looking for more, but I promise you, it has never left me too empty or too full.