Last year was the year I started juice fasting– four juices a day, two days a week, more often than not. ‘More often than not’ is a buttery way of saying that I sometimes did it, and because of the inhumanity that temporary starvation involves, ‘sometimes’ is actually very frequent. This year, however, is different. I picked it up again in May with an overzealous hand, as you do when reaching for something fresh; it had been enough time. As I’m speaking to you, there are currently three juicing weeks behind me, and I am staring down the endless steel tube that is the rest of my life, feeling very sorry. Because sadly, this could be a forever thing, as in, why wouldn’t it be? I feel great. It looks pretty sitting with all of the others– the gym, the creativity, the bible; such rich habits, such rainbows that lead to pots of gold. But, forever is a long time.
On the flipside, I’ve experienced the joys of a bad habit. I started smoking at 16. When I did stop, it was the agony of maturity that forced my eyes down the barrel of the gun. I relied on imagination– the eventuality of a sunken face, and the anticipation of a molten voicebox. The future had been anaesthetized, and then I woke up from my eight year induced-coma, and gave up the fags. But for all that is good and lovely, it takes but a month to consider the discomfort down the road.
There are a few things waiting at the ends of my big four. At the end of a two-day juice fast is a bask in all I’ve managed to get done– I do more when I don’t eat; there’s post-starvation clarity, a renewed relationship with food– which is much like lost love returning. At the end of a daily, morning bible study is a big brain, bright eyes, and a warm breeze that follows the whole day through. At the end of a workout is a feeling that is very hard to replicate– the natural high. And at the end of a creativity session, there’s me. These are all podium prizes, punctuation points. Nobody starts a sentence with a full stop, and nobody starts a race with the ceremony. But in order for this to be a thing, there needs to be a race every, single, day. Athletes eventually retire, but being good is hardly a career.
The currency for both instantaneous pleasure and the pleasures of endurance is time. Only one of the two is truthful about that. But honestly, I’m not always hungry for honesty. I realise that is my issue. Sometimes I yearn to bite into a sweet lie– maybe the one about living as if there’s no next day. A habit itself holds its breath for tomorrow, but a good habit is eternal by design. If your life is full of them, there’s nowhere to look other than down the long, dark pipe. It is said that the acts of being good bleed into forever, meaning that I’m stockpiling for eternity. That is what the training is for, which is far more annoying than it is pointless. It’s like this, everybody diets before the wedding.