I had just finished five hours of editing. Five hours of anything is difficult. I think even after five hours sitting on a beach and reading, I’d at least need a bathroom break. Slogging through my own prose for the 1,000th time is considerably less pleasurable.
When I came up for air, I needed something to mark the effort. I chose chocolate chip gelato. It was delicious. Did I mention that I’ve been doing a two-week edit-a-thon? That’s a lot of gelato.
Gelato was also my choice two weeks ago when I fell down the stairs and was whining about my bruised hip. I deserved it then too. That time it was salted caramel.
I deserved a break from running since I had my flu shot and a YouTube viewing session since I finished assembling the first violin folders. I only have another forty to go.
Clearly, I’m a really deserving person. I wonder why it doesn’t feel that way. After I’ve had my well-deserved “treat” I feel like I’ve failed somehow, and wrapped my failure up in a pretty package and called it a reward. I’ve eaten food that isn’t good for me, avoided exercise that I need to be healthy, and I’ve spent time doing something other than what I should be doing.
I’ve killed the joy of the moment by requiring some sort of justification for doing it other than I’m choosing what I actually want.
Gelato is tasty. Sometimes the body needs a break. There are some awesome videos on YouTube. Right now, I love that wackdoodle Norwegian video about what the fox says.
I’m giving up on the idea that I am deserving of something, because I don’t have to earn it. I’m either going to have it, or I’m not. I will not taint the experience by attaching the idea that I have to decide if I’m worthy. Just as I don’t have to justify my “no” other than it is what I need to do, I don’t have to justify my “yes” either.
If I can let go of the idea of evaluating what I’ve done in the past to validate the present, I might actually experience the present for what it is. I can break the chain of time, and just be in the moment, enjoying that gelato, that lazy afternoon, or the fox saying ringdingdingdingading. After all, isn’t that what we all deserve?
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph “Gelato” by Su-Lin © 2008 Creative Commons