"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's a Social Thing?

So I gave up restaurants for Lent. Specifically, chain restaurants.

I'm not normally a religious person. I used to feel guilty about this, but I have learned a lot more about the world now. I go to church for Christmas and Easter, but it's for making my family happy and celebrating our blessings together as a family.

I do believe in a higher power that kind of "knows whats going on" and I am one of those people that believes everything happens for a reason, even terrible terrible things and that if one door closes, a window or door or crack in the wall is opening at the same time. So when terrible things are happening, I try and just ride it out and wait....things can only be horrible for so long. And sometimes it just takes looking at it a different way. Or sometimes, you can't just wait for "things to happen" and you have to go out there and make a change yourself. So its a mixture, I guess. But the impetus that caused you to snap and "go out and make your own change"....was that your choice, or was that impetus placed so that you could make a change in your life? Did the chicken or the egg come first?

So thats my schpeel (sp?) on religion.

So, thinking about all that, I did Lent not-so-much just for religious reasons. I chose it because I wanted a challenge. My father and I were chatting right at the beginning of Lent, and he had mentioned briefly how someone he knew was giving up Facebook (Apparently a lot of people do this!). And I thought.....man, no way. That is really hard to do. I can't even imagine. There is no way I am at a point of maturity in my life where I can think about separating from Facebook right now. That is really, really hard.

So (I'm sorry I start every paragraph with "so") then I thought about it....what else in this world could I give up, that I love, that would be hard, yet do-able? Facebook I love, and would be hard, but not-doable. It would probably teach me a lot and be life-changing....but...no. Could I give up meat? No...what would I eat? I unfortunately rely on chicken a lot...especially at restaurants. Oh, wait- RESTAURANTS. I'm giving up restaurants, I thought. So then I narrowed it down to chain restaurants. Why? Well, It goes along with my feelings on how ridiculous this food industry is and how these large chains are getting unhealthier and unhealthier. So since I knew it would be hard to give up restaurants completely, I made it so that I could eat out if It were a non-chain, and preferably family-run, home-cooked style type food.

Well, I have slipped....twice so far. The first, was in NYC when I was with a friend and her family to see a Broadway show....we went over the span of dinner time and were out until really late. So even if I ate a huge lunch, I wouldn't make it til 1 am because I die quickly if I don't eat. So....What else am I supposed to do? So that day, I made another exception- I can eat out if I am travelling. So that allowed me to eat out when I recently attended my state nursing convention last night- we stayed overnight. So....I had to eat, and well- (we were in Atlantic City), that is not a city to be wandering around looking for a non-chain restaurant..even if we were with military personnel. SO that all worked out, AND I ended up finding a fantastic restaurant (See Yesterday's Post).

But......but now my first unavoidable difficulty arises. What happens when you get an invite to go out to eat with some really good friends, that you haven't seen in a long time because they all live out of town....and they will be in for one night...and they want to go out to eat....in your hometown....So technically, this doesn't apply to any of my already existing "exceptions". I could make another exception and say screw it- I can go out to eat when I'm with friends I haven't seen in forever....Or I could eat before hand, and just drink water with them at the restaurant. But then that rises weird suspicions that I am "Anorexic" or something now, (even though trust me- I do not look anorexic). So....that leaves me with.....nada.

What I'm going to do (to be polite) is to just eat with them. Even though its Lent, and you're really supposed to stick to what you say......or else...( I don't know what actually happens if you don't), sometimes its really hard not to.

I guess this reflects what I have known all along. I can deny eating out when its convenient. I can cook at home then. I can deny eating out with my family, because although they think I am insane, they understand. Because they have to. But social situations.......that's hard. Because what else is there to do in a small town, when friends want to get together and talk? Its like, automatic that you just go out to eat. I can't decide if this is a good thing or not. It certainly is promoting our obesity epidemic...and it isn't helping our sinking food industry. But it gives a place for friends to meet...laugh, talk, catch up, remind you of old times. We don't have anywhere else, in this town, or really- in this country- to do so. Unless you want to go bowling.

I haven't lost any weight from not eating out....which I thought I would...but it still helps a lot. It helps me feel better because it helps me stay away from Milk a lot better...and even if I haven't lost weight, it still is just a healthier lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I love going out to eat. I really do. I have like...a problem with it. A food problem. I have noticed this in myself since my early teenage years. I associate working hard all day with friends, family or yourself to going out to eat together to celebrate working hard all day. I guess that's just how I've been raised. You work hard, you get to go out to eat. So I'm trying to break that association within myself. How about- you work hard, you get to come home and cook a delicious meal at home! Yeah? Yeah? YEah! Ok well, we'll work on that. So giving up restaurants isn't easy. They taste yummy, they are easy, you dont have to cook, clean, you can order anything you want...meet with friends. So, its not easy.

So...thoughts? Is it ok to make exceptions when it comes to Lent? I guess it's gonna have to be....I really want to continue this challenge even after Lent. I want to be a little more lenient after Lent, but I really want to really cut down on restaurants.

~A Writer in a Nurse's Body


Warren Baldwin said...

So ... :)

The love principal says whatever is the loving thing, that is what you will do. Is it more loving to eat with your friends whom you rarely see, then to stick to a commitment that in and of itself is not a matter of love or relationship? Of course, someone could argue it is love for self (which, even in the Bible, predicates love for others), and there is truth to that. Discipline is often a loving thing. But the Bible is about relationships, too. And making an exception about a meal to visit with old friends seems like a pretty loving thing.


A Writer in a Nurse's Body said...

Thats a nice way of thinking about it, thank you very much! Makes me feel a lot better about it! Thank you! -Jules