Is there a bad boy or girl bursting to get out? Some carefully repressed, irresponsible desire that you’ve always wanted to indulge on but you keep under wraps? Maybe it’s as simple as sleeping until noon on a Saturday morning; maybe it’s renting a Ferrari and hitting 150mph on the highway; maybe it’s being a love slave in an all-girl orgy.
I’m a firm believer that all of us – all of us – have a little hedonism lurking just below the surface. These are our secret wonton desires that we keep packed away because they are not the territory of mature, responsible adults.
I have a buddy – a great Dad and a good husband. But when he gets away on a business trip… all hell breaks loose — strippers, drinking, hangovers. Total debauchery. So far, he’s never gotten himself in too much trouble, but he will. He has such a need to release all of that hedonism that has been bottled up for so long, he loses control of it. There’s only so long he can continue to avoid either professional or marital ruin with these explosive releases.
But what happens if we don’t – every once in a while – let that tiger out of the cage?
Another friend – actually a couple [well, former couple] lived such upstanding responsible lives that it smothered them. They lived such perfectly responsible lives – as parents, employees, community members. They never indulged in any thrilling or irresponsible behavior. They never discussed it; they never sought it out. And then – out of nowhere – they’re divorced. Both so helplessly bored in their lives they simultaneously hit the eject button. Now, 3 years later, they both travel, climb mountains, go to nice restaurants… but separately. Their inability to acknowledge and indulge in their hedonism cost them their marriage.
So, my point…. We need to find space in our lives for our hedonistic indulgences. We are all a combination of responsibility and selfishness. And finding time and space to indulge our selfish desires is a big part of being able to put energy and our own best selves into the more responsible elements of our lives. For my wife and I – well, we have lots – but the big ones are (i) sex and sexual adventure; (ii) coffee with the newspaper on Saturday mornings and (iii) regular date nights or nights out with adult friends… oh yeah, and rock climbing… Yes.. we have lots. For another buddy of mine, who works like a dog, he does 8 weeks of vacation each year to the most amazing destinations – Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia… amazing stuff that allows him to work 60 hours a week the rest of the year.
So what is your indulgence? And are you finding time to let it breathe?