Response Crafting

To really enjoy it, give it up

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I give it up.
In fact, I like to give it up on a regular basis.

What I am really talking about, though, is this: there is nothing that builds an appreciation for something quite like doing without it.

We all want to enjoy life more in the long run, don’t we? To do so, just simplify it for a while. And if you want to enjoy something specific like you used to, do without instead.

Okay, example: I went vegan in September. But then my French sister in law served a cheese course at Christmas, and given that I am often not a very good vegan and given that it was a holiday and given that she had painstakingly gone through the effort of selecting and preparing the cheese plates, I had some.

And I don’t think cheese has ever tasted so good.

Obviously you do not have to go vegan, if you do not need or want to appreciate cheese. And you do not even have to go vegetarian to appreciate meat or give up sweets to appreciate cupcakes. (Though you could certainly do any of those and gain the respective effect.) This isn’t really about veganism or vegetarianism, though, so much as it is about life in general:

“sausage girl”

The point is that if your life feels dull or foggy or fuzzy or a little bit inconsequential, the issue may not be that there is too little in it, but rather that there is too much. 

We over-indulge in things that we enjoy and, in doing so, desensitize ourselves to it. When we instead do without it, we break down the sensory “callouses” that have developed over time.

If you want to taste a food like it is your first time eating it, for instance, avoid it for a few months. Miss the days when you could get a buzz off of just a drink or two? Don’t drink for a while. And only those of us who travel every week for business know that nothing keeps a spark alive quite like finally seeing your partner after a 3-day hiatus come Thursday or Friday night.

Because yes, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

And taking something away from ourselves gives us more, rather than less, in the long run.

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