Hedonism for the soul: thriving on partying, traveling, insanity

Angelina Jolie has a Latin quote tattooed on her pelvis that reads: “quod me nutrit me destruit,” which translated means: that which nourishes me also destroys me. That quote seems to encapsulate a lesson I learned over this vacation.

There I was, facing my last summer as a college student…my last chance to bask in irresponsibility without remorse. But instead of conjuring up old ways to indulge my hedonistic instincts, I found myself surprisingly pre-occupied with thoughts of the future. Much to my dismay, those wild sleepless weekends that once felt so good suddenly felt iniquitous and guilt ridden.

Finding it impossible to ignore my impending sense of maturity, I decided to try in earnest to behave this summer. So I passed on the spontaneous oversees vacations, opting instead to conserve my meager paycheck…I had no whirlwind summer romances…I broke no hearts…and did not even once feel momentarily enamored by a Gavin Rossadle look-alike.

Trading Coronas for Cosmopolitans, I embarked upon the swankier, more mature side of summer vacation. My plans to travel India and Thailand were replaced with a copy of The Bhagavad-Gita. The closest I would come to adventure would be a visit to my hometown Providence and a camping trip with my dog.

My calm new lifestyle did wonders for the circles under my eyes…the eight hours of sleep that once seemed so elusive was suddenly my reality. But after a few months of sleep-filled nights, I felt more exhausted than ever. While the relaxation was nourishing my body, it was destroying my spirits. I was aching for some sort of profound and extraordinary experience. All of the resting had left me restless.

All of you nomadic souls out there can sympathize with my inherent need for adventure. I had planted my feet in the steamy Miami sun for too long and I was starting to wither up.

When I surrendered myself to normalcy this summer, I didn’t realize I’d also be surrendering my sanity. Traveling the world…taking in different cultures…partying in exotic lands…these are the things I thrive on…these are the things that nourish me. It’s true my lifestyle destroys any chance of good sleeping habits and healthy bank accounts, but we all have different ways of nourishing our souls on vacation, and each of them bring their own consequences. The bookworm nourishes his soul by reading…but too much reading may destroy his love life…the bar-hopper nourishes his soul with beer…but too much beer destroys his liver (and maybe his love life too).

The point is that we should ignore that nagging feeling of guilt that sometimes comes from over-indulging in the things we love. Sometimes, particularly on summer vacations, we need to observe that old cliche about throwing caution to the wind.

Vacations are intended to re-ignite our zest for life. Because I didn’t seize this vacation the way I should have, I’m now stumbling through my first week of classes, half awake and half asleep.

But I’ve already started to think about my next vacation. I’ve got to make up for all the nourishment and destruction I missed out on this summer. Next year, I’ll make Angelina Jolie look like a saint!

~Jackie Pitts