You must remember also that there is a certain amount of allowance to be made for some rather indefinite objects, which are none the less important, and which, for want of a better name, I shall call the Discard. Among these can be named the education of the imagination, having a good time generally, foolishness, mysticism, good fellowship, aesthetics, humanity, and humanities in general. The fact that many a man has thrown himself away by putting all his time into these things, and lived solely for good fellowship, for foolishness, or for imagination without attainment, is no reason why you should not partake in a small measure of these qualities, which is like the wheel grease on the axle or the clown in the circus. It is apt to be even more important yet, as it may prove to be the road to friendship, societies, society, and love. Moreover, you should not forget that, in the pursuit of your object, you must provide a material recreation for yourself,—literature, music, art, billiards, anything; something that will give you (and others, if possible) pleasure and diversion, and render your happiness independent of your work, if for any reason you are prevented from devoting your life to it.
We are now prepared to go over some of your pursuits with our touchstone, and see which ones we can recommend and which we cannot, which of the desires with which you are confronted or may be confronted are worth while or worth the expenditure of energy.
You should make no stipulation about your food, except that it be wholesome. The pleasantness of its taste in your mouth should have little weight with you. If you confine yourself to just that food which you like, and get so that your comfort depends on it, you will deliver over your freedom just as though you delivered yourself to be bound hand and foot in a dungeon. When the time comes that you must cut down your expenditure and live less “well,” you become unhappy, as you have taught yourself to look upon all food with the idea that it should give you pleasure rather than sustenance.
By all means. It gives judgment, coolness, and readiness to face and overcome danger, muscle, ozone, handiness of hands, steadiness of eye, experience, and a sense of the depth and expanse of the ocean. By all means, yachting, but not for the purpose of show, as giving orders before other people, of taking dilatory trips in fair weather only, and lounging in an easy-chair on the deck of some yacht while others take the responsibility and do the work. While going to the expense of keeping a boat, you should so mould your life as to use it constantly. If you keep a boat on the off chance of wanting it every other week or just for the sense of having it ready, you will make it an annoyance to yourself rather than a pleasure. But here caution is recommended; and you should only keep a yacht if you can do so well within your means, and thoroughly understanding that some day you may have to give it up, and that you must not think that a hardship.