We are bombarded daily with tips for how to live longer, healthier lives. How to treat our bodies better, bolster our minds, and nourish our souls. We’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day, get eight hours of sleep per night, eat our greens, meditate, take time for ourselves. Blah, blah, blah.
I’ll tell you what’s really good for you. This:
Potato chips and chocolate are good for you. If you’ve been beating your head against the wall for hours trying to get that paragraph just right or learn that new song on the guitar or achieve the right lighting for that photograph, you need a pick-me-up. And, no, I don’t mean a stalk of celery, I mean something salty or sweet. Something decadent, because making art is hard work, and we deserve a treat.
Missing sleep is good for you. But only if you’re missing it because you can’t stop thinking about that story or reworking that painting or messing with that tune. We can’t control when inspiration strikes, so if it hits in the middle of the night, and it feels right, do it!
Caffeine is good for you. If you were up half the night creating, you need that cup of coffee. If you’ve got a deadline and you’ve hit that four o’clock brain drain, you need that Mountain Dew. If your artist friend calls at nine o’clock in the evening needing to vent, go ahead and make that cup of Earl Grey tea. You might be up for a while.
Bragging is good for you. When that stupid-ass piece of art finally comes together, you gotta tell someone. Sure, you could do the “right” thing and modestly state, “I finished my piece today.” Or you can declare, “I’m done! And it’s awesome. And I’m a goddamn genius.” Now doesn’t that feel better?
Alcohol is good for you. There’s a reason we have the expression, “I need a drink.” Sometimes, you just do. And I think artists and entrepreneurs need it more than most people. Why? Because we are responsible for all aspects of our work and creation, and that can be overwhelming at times. Of course, if you can’t drink, you can always have more chocolate. That works for me too.
This is not permission to lead a destructive life. If you don’t take care of your mind and body, you can’t do your best work. But sometimes, just sometimes, your creative soul knows better than the experts what is really good for you.