I grew up in a family where Mom & Dad were Depression Era children. Some of what they learned as children themselves, they passed on to me. Sometimes that served me. Many times it did not.
One example of the latter is never ask someone for anything which I might think would be an inconvenience to that person. Someone would invite me for dinner, for example. “Oh, having an extra body at the table might be an inconvenience. No, thanks, I’ll just eat at home.”
Yesterday, February 15, 2022, was my 70th birthday. For many, many birthdays, I celebrated alone. I didn’t ask anyone because they might feel obligated to come, or worse, they might feel obligated to pay for my dinner or whatever the celebration entailed. Heaven forbid I would inconvenience even my closest friends with that. Mom’s voice in the back of my brain: “Don’t inconvenience your friends.”
Except, Mom’s been gone since 1979. It ain’t her voice. It’s mine. And not a very helpful or productive one. Certainly, not a very self-loving one.
This year, the beginning of my 70th trip around the sun, I didn’t care. Well, that’s not true. I did care. But I vowed to work past it. When my closest friend in Dallas-Fort Worth texted me just to check in, I asked for what I wanted. And, that was for him to come celebrate my birthday with me.
Still, I didn’t want to inconvenience him, so I told him I would take him to dinner. His answer? “By the way your attempt at scare tactics in order to buy dinner doesn’t work with me… I insist… Are you kidding me? 🤪😂😁😍”
OMG. Would I really have to let him pay for dinner? Kind of a selfish act to ask someone, even my closest friend, to come celebrate me. Especially if it might obligate him (in my mind, not his) to pay for the celebration. Did I deserve it? What do you think my inner voice said?
And, I was determined. He was coming. And, he was bringing two of our friends with him. His idea, not mine. Goodness, more inconvenience. But what happened in the end?
The four of us went to dinner, had drinks and food, but most importantly, we experienced a wonderful fellowship. For five, marvelous hours. I had pushed through my inner voices and had a great time. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much, out loud, at dinner. I deserved it!
How Am I Changing? I’m starting to push through the ideas which may have served me at some stage of my life, but don’t serve me all that much today.