Last month I received a message letting me know that someone I used to know had been addicted to heroin for awhile.
I don’t get as many messages like this as I used to — phone calls about friends dying from overdoses or emails about how to help a loved one with a substance problem. Because I’m not as closely intertwined with addiction after being clean for almost eight years, it was a story I wasn’t entirely prepared for.
I worried about her family, I worried about her job, and most importantly I worried about her. I wondered what she was feeling at that exact moment and if it was the same mixture of loneliness, sadness, and sheer terror that I had felt when everything came to light and I had to make a life-altering decision.
I write this because just before I received the news, I was thinking about food. More specifically, I was thinking about desserts and if I should eat more of the cookies that I’d been recently obsessed with. How had I been eating lately? Was I disproportionately eating more desserts again or had I mostly been on track with balancing the moderation that I continued to strive for? Had I had enough protein? Should I eat a yogurt instead?
It’s no secret that finding a balance in life has been difficult for me. I’ve shared about my issues with food and exercise. I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. I don’t micromanage what I eat, but I do still reflect to see if it’s healthy on the whole.
The moment I received that news, it put cookies in perspective.
Suddenly cookies — or how many I ate — mattered not at all. In fact, they made me angry. I was wasting time that could be spent enjoying life by wondering if two or three more cookies was a wise decision.
I imagine that this is what happens when people lose someone close to them. It offers them a new perspective on life and they decide to go after their dreams or make decisions based on the fact that life is shorter than we often imagine.
For me, I decided to eat cookies. Was it emotional eating? After that news, hell yes. Was it going to kill me? Absolutely not. You know what will kill me? Heroin. Cookies are the least of my problems on any given day.
We spend so much time analyzing our decisions or making them based on guilt or shame that we lose precious moments where we could be living. We spend time pouring ourselves into work that’s not going to matter when we look back on life. We compare likes, status, comments, engagement, etc. instead of focusing on what truly makes us happy and fills us with fulfillment. We forget how to slow down, take care of ourselves, and honor who we are as individuals.
Every moment we waste doing these things is a moment lost and often slips by unnoticed in the pursuit of whatever we think we should be doing instead of what we could be doing.
I’m writing this to remind you to find some perspective. What’s important to you? What fills you up? What makes you you? Now consider the opposite — what is taking up unnecessary time in your day? What takes you away from being content with your life?
What is one thing you can stop doing today that will add more time for happiness? You don’t have to do an entire life overhaul, but take some time to figure out if there are some thought patterns and habits that can be changed or removed for the better.
I like to take it on a day to day basis and for me, that day, it was cookies.