“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” – Abraham Lincoln
As the year was winding down, I was listening to someone tell me that coffee was their last vice and they were in the process of giving it up. I thought to myself, “Why would you do that?” What is the purpose of living a life with no vices. I understand the importance of moderation (although struggle to moderate) but I don’t want a life with out coffee, cocktails, or television. Needless to say, her viceless life comment gave me a bit of anxiety. Naturally, I related her life goals to my own (as we always do when people assert themselves). I think Amy Poehler said it best when she said:
“Good for her not for me.”
A life without vices stinks of perfectionism. And we all know the dangers of perfectionism. I also struggle to believe that someone can life a full life without a few vices. Where is the depth? What about experience? Really, what does a viceless life even look like? Is it possible?
I appreciate the fine line between a vice enhancing your life and a vice becoming an addiction. I think that many people struggle to walk that line. And, there may be a good reason you are giving up caffeine (maybe you’re pregnant or you don’t sleep well). However, if the goal is living a vice free life, I don’t know if I believe that is possible.
The term vice may connote bad behavior for some but it does not for me. In fact, I think it helps people better understand what kind of person I am. My vices currently involve craft beer (if you knew where I lived you’d understand), coffee/green tea, wine, and vinyl records. These parts of my life are not always the best choices financially or health wise but so be it. I’m not about to live in a straight jacket feeling guilty about indulging on things that make me happy.
Isn’t anything in excess a vice? Even “healthy” things can be vices?
I surround myself with a strong support system that has no problem calling me out when my vices become problematic and my self-awareness fails me. My partner and friends made mention when my box of wine a week habit became unhealthy. Begrudgingly, I heeded their advice and my migraines diminished (thanks, folks). I feel I am able to provide them the same feedback and this is how we keep each other accountable.
I wonder why we all try to figure out where we fit in relation to one another? Why did her comment related to eliminating caffeine cause me to reflect on my own habits? In fact, it inspired a post about my need for vices.
Perhaps viceless living is goal worthy for some people but I don’t think it’s feasible for me. As I enter the new year, I will gladly carry on with a few habits that may not be the healthiest. It might just be semantics and vices to some are indulgences to others. To each their own, right?
“I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.”
― Mark Twain,