|I love bacon|
From the moment we are born, we are set on a journey that
can have only one destination. The price of living is death.
You might think this is a bit heavy. I guess it is. But
to me it’s no more intense than the constant barrage of articles in the media
telling us that everything we do or don’t do, and particularly everything we
consume or don’t consume, is sure to make us sick and sad and dead. In fact,
I’m afraid, life itself is terminal. If you get too much of it, you will die.
Last week, the World Health Organisation announced its
decision to place processed meats in IARC Category One, which covers substances
that are definitely carcinogenic to humans. The media had a field day with this,
and now people keep asking me whether I’m going to give up bacon forever.
Obviously, the WHO knows what it’s talking about. The
evidence seems fairly clear that eating too much red meat is unhealthy. But, as
I believe I’ve said before, there’s scarcely anything in this weird and
wonderful world that, when overconsumed, can’t do you a nasty mischief. So the
answer, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty clear: everything in moderation. Also,
I’d like to point out that alcohol has been in this category for ages, that
everyone knows drinking can kill you in a variety of inventive ways, and that
even if it doesn’t, it can still make you feel pretty awful – but we still keep
drinking it anyway, mainly because it’s fun and it tastes nice.
But I think the problem here goes deeper. As a species, I
think we’ve lost sight of the fact that the purpose of life is not to live as long as possible. To
forestall the inevitable:
|YES, I really love bacon.|
YES, living long enough to do everything you want to do
is, essentially, desirable, even though for anyone with a decent imagination
I’m not sure it’s actually possible to have a life that long.
YES, it would be a sad thing to waste that life by dying
of bacon overdose.
YES, it makes sense to avoid a certain amount of risk by,
for example, wearing a seatbelt.
BUT – life is not just about length. If you had to
choose, I reckon you’d probably say that it was about quality, as well as
quantity. And in order to pursue both, you need to balance the two. That means
accepting a certain amount of risk. So if you fancy a bacon sandwich you should
have one, just don't have six.
Most of all, I think it’s quite a good idea to be
reminded, every now and then, that life will come to an end – if only so that
you don’t waste too much of it, worrying about you look like in your Facebook
photos or that time you laughed so hard wine came out of your nose. No matter
how much you juice, and jog, and get early nights, you won’t be around forever.
So make the most of the time you’ve got.
If juicing and jogging is what you
enjoy, what makes you feel good and energised and alive, go ahead and do it. Work
out what it is that fills you up with energy that fizzes right to your fingertips,
and makes you leap out of bed in the morning, and do that. For me, it’s Sal’s
Kitchen, hanging out with my awesome friends
and family, getting a really good new book, walking around the beautiful city I live in, and yes, eating a lot of delicious food (including bacon
sandwiches). It’s a cliché because it’s true: life is short. Enjoy it while it