Do you break your own rules? When is that OK? Or is it?

I suppose if you ask an drug addict when it’s OK to just have “a little bit” of meth, you might get something of a biased answer depending on if he’s using at the time or not. But when is it OK for you to break the rules you set for yourself? It depends on when and why you set them.

If you’re always breaking your rules, the diehard (stickler/math teacher/conservative/father, etc.) is going to ask why you have rules at all. If you ask the policeman why he gave you a ticket for going through the stop sign while you were only on your bike, he might ask back where do the boundaries of the law sit? Is there a strict boundary? What if you go over? What if you’re your own policeman? Then what? Just a warning this time and next time it’ll be for real? What about the next next time? Does it start over again? Who makes the rules? Who do the rules truly benefit? Was there a 312-page study on the subject? At least a discussion? Maybe a thought process?

Rules are Meant to be Broken

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean the law–not the kinds of things that can get you in jail. But perhaps on a less rigid scale: if the path is from A to B, break the rules and go to C. You might know this, but I’m a total goodie-goodie: I really won’t break the law unless I have to. Maybe that high school incident when I was read my rights steered me clear from any jail time … ever. Tone it down. Take travel writing: they don’t write about how it all went to plan. They write about the mishaps, the disasters, the drama, what happens when things didn’t go according to plan. Breaking the rules and not doing what the plan is–the happy medium is somewhere in there.

[box type=”alert”]Warning: food porn ahead! With a little math … [/box]

We’re in Spain. I’m a foodie. I’m something of a purist. I’m also terribly nostalgic. A beautiful taste is one that’s not smothered in others. So many foods are buried alive in sauces, creams, and spices. If you take just a thin slice of only that one ingredient, let’s do the math: the surface area of the most thinly sliced food is increased exponentially as compared to a chunky block of the same food. When it reaches your tongue, every little crevice of taste hits each tiny pore of your taste buds and it’s a bit like those civil war films when 2,000 soldiers are about to clash with 2,000 other soldiers and they just go head on, full blast, basta. It’s eye-closing, sigh-inducing, head-rolling culinary ecstasy. And what was it?

[quote]A fresh baguette with a smidgen of butter and thinly sliced Iberia chorizo.[/quote]

It has just a tang of spice, just enough flavor to remind you what it is, where you are, and to stop you in your tracks and remind you the last time you had this particular flavor in this certain way [Valencia, Spain with high school friend DECADES ago]. If the taste and the memory are strong enough, it’s time travel. It’s worth it. Thinly-sliced chorizo on a fresh baguette hands over my vegetarian membership card. The veggie board of directors might slowly shake their heads in disapproval, but I’m floating away in a taste they don’t know. I’m a rebel, I know.

So when is it worth it and when is it not? I’m convinced that you can convince yourself of pretty much anything because, well, you’re both parties in the debate. But also because you’re both parties in the debate, it’s up to you–and only you. Who’s at stake? You. Who’s going to get hurt? Who’s going to benefit? Who cares? You.

  • Possible: Do whatever you want.
  • Impossible: Enforce your rules like the best of tyrants.
  • Repossible: Make exceptions when they are … exceptional.

I'm a vegetarian ... except when I'm not. [Chorizo in Almeria, Spain]

I’m a vegetarian … except when I’m not. [Chorizo in Almeria, Spain]

What’s a rule I won’t break? Write every day. I’m a stickler, a diehard, a conservative, no excuses, I don’t care how, I’m going to make it happen. It’s important, it’s mine, it’s my rule to break–I don’t want to break it. It’s not worth breaking, there’s no benefit I see for now. That’s the difference.