My struggle with this question surfaced as an interesting topic when I was writing last week’s blog, following my bout with the flu.
You might recall:
Lesson #2 CHOOSING HEALTH OVER A PARTY IS NOT EASY
I had been looking forward to a friend’s birthday party on Saturday night for weeks. I like getting dressed up and dancing and having a good time as much as anyone does. I chose to sit this party out, and it wasn't easy for me to do. (watch for blog about this topic coming soon)
I’ve often wondered about two life approaches that people regularly quote:
‘Life is Short, and so Live NOW’ - this mantra is heard usually after a loved one or someone we know dies.
‘Live and Plan for Tomorrow - Better Safe than Sorry’ - for the savers and those of us who are more future oriented.
For me, both statements have always been true, and therein lies some conflict. It is also part of why it was difficult for me to choose NOT going to the party………..I wanted the fun of NOW.
With my life possibility being a happy, healthy and loving world - beginning with me - I had this running dialogue in my head about being healthy or being loving with regard to the party attendance. The conversation was more like a tug of war, trying to have 'loving' or 'healthy' dominate.
The possibility of both healthy and loving wasn’t initially an option. My mind was busy playing tricks on me.
In the past, I would have considered it positive to show up for the party and for my friend, despite my health. Besides, I thought, even though weak, I was able to keep food down now, and the fever and headache were gone….... The ‘Live for Now’ approach.
Many of us do this in our workplaces too - feeling a little better, so go to work and 'tough it out' .
With my more current mind tug of war, there was the side that tried hard to note the ‘loving’ gesture of attending the party. That side and argument seemed strong, as it matched up with my past ‘Live for Now’ approach, so it felt comfortable and ‘right’.
I further justified that in going I would be a good friend and someone who goes above and beyond for others. I and others would have assured me that after a couple of drinks, I wouldn’t feel a thing, and so the partying would go on.
When in reality, the justification about friendship and being loving was much more about throwing caution to the wind, so I could join in the fun.
Exposing my friend and everyone else to my germs, plus stressing my own immune system further would not have been convincing arguments to keep me home in the past. I would have pushed myself when deep down I knew better......but I refused to listen to how my body was really feeling.
I’m not sure what finally gave me some clarity on the situation, maybe the ‘magic oranges’ that my friend bought me to strengthen me after being sick. I told her the oranges tasted so delicious that it was like the first time I had ever eaten one.
Whatever it was, I paused a bit and honestly considered the situation.
I plan to be friends with the birthday girl for years to come. There will be other celebrations of all kinds to share, and each of them unique and wonderful in their own way.
Missing one birthday didn’t mean I wasn’t a good friend. I had sent her a gift, and I let her know that I did not feel party-ready. I was not well enough to join in THAT night, but that I looked forward to other celebrations yet to come with her.
I was certainly living in the present, by paying attention to how my body felt and what my energy level really was and then choosing and acting accordingly.
If I had gone to the party, I would have chosen to ignore the present condition I was in and the signals my body was clearly sending, and instead chosen to live FOR the party - not really living for the Present, but for the Party.
What’s interesting to me is that I finally realized going to the party would have made the party more important than me, my health, my friend or her friends or any others that I would have encountered throughout the night.
Not loving at all, and not healthy either.
It shouldn’t have even been a tough decision, and yet it really was. I kept envisioning getting ready and being at the party and talking and dancing, and what I was wearing and how I would fix my hair.
There will be a next time:)
In the end, I’m so glad I chose to be happy, healthy and loving!
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