One of the great moments in my adult life is when I stopped ordering salad at restaurants. It would take me a shade-under-a-decade to communicate with the poor, unsuspecting college student who was our server what would and would not fly on a salad of mine: No iceberg, lots of greens, romaine to spring green ratio, dressing on the side, extra olives, add beets, how blue is your bleu cheese? This is not the up-side of my food OCD.
So I grew up enough to ask myself the hard questions: in this case it is the ever-important, always-looming, (in my world) much-overused question of WHY? Why, for the love of all that is Holy, do I feel like I HAVE TO order a salad? WHY? To eat light, fewer calories because I only did Yoga that day? If it is possible to punch a reason in the face, this would be the one.
I remember the day. I was 9 1/2 months pregnant with my daughter and at Whole Foods for the 5th day in a row. The Dude at the grill was familiar with my antics. I shoulda had a salad. Baby needed more veggies. Did I mention I was 42 weeks pregnant and fairly certain I would remain that way for eternity? Even if the salad was one of my own choosing from the salad bar...I just couldn't. He said "Still no baby?" I had a mild contraction, started to cry a bit and asked for the biggest double hamburger with avocado, tomato, sauteed peppers and onions, tons of pickles wrapped in lettuce with a side of sweet potato fries STAT. Dude knew I meant business and brought me the goods in record time. God bless him.
Over. It. Hand to heaven Tribe, I am soooooo over editing myself or my life in any way when it is motivated by that feeling of "have to." It's so powerless! It's an utterly defenseless position! There is no moral high ground within ten miles of "Have to" land.
Standing with swollen ankles in the middle of a grocery store with hormones raging, my internal landscape started to shift. I had just had an incredible meal because I wanted to! It was divine! In a small way, I had stepped into a braver, more bold way of living and it felt FANTASTIC!
I workout because I WANT to. I feel better when I do.
I eat healthy, hearty, thoughtful meals because I WANT to. I feel better when I do.
I go to church because I WANT to. I feel better when I do.
I'm a mom because I WANT to be a mom. I feel better when I choose joy in motherhood.
I'm a learner because I WANT to be. Because I have there is so much for me to learn. I am happier when I approach life as a learner. I feel better when I do.
I'm a writer because I WANT to be a writer. With words coming outta the center of me all the days, how can I not be a writer? Annnnnnddddd.....I feel better when I do.
You get the picture.
Are you seeing a pattern? When something is motivated by love it has a greater chance of bringing about lasting, enduring change.
"Want to" Land is a magical, joyful place with unicorns, daises,rainbows that dance and children that listen respectfully. I want to live in it all my days! I want to plant trees and frolic with my kids in "Want to Land." I want them to see me roll down the clover covered hillside in glee like one of those Cheese blocks in Gloucestershire Cheese rolling festival. (No joke. This is a thing. I don't do dairy humor).
Alas, there are circumstances that all of us have that we did not ask for and do not want. This needs to be addressed. What if, just hear me out, what if I want to show up in those moments as my best self? The only option was iceberg salad but I got to choose my toppings? Instead of looking at the bane-of-the-lettuce-world's existence (iceberg) and cringing, I saw the beautiful color and enjoyed the crunch while drinking the dressing. Sometimes you can't control the restaurant you gotta eat at, but you can control your thoughts and the way you show up to that circumstance.
Here is my decree: Bring on the Hazelnut-encrusted Halibut with a mango chutney people! Bring. It. On. Now, when I order a salad it's organic, spring greens only, with roasted vegetables, beets and a massive steak on it.
If that's what I want.