Approximately 52 million people die every year. That figure breaks down to 142,000 every day, an estimated 24,000 of whom suffer fatal lightning strikes, while another 100,000 die from snake bites. I know, a bit Debbie Downer of me. But stay with me on this, I am going somewhere good — I promise!
With the aging of my circle of friends (well, and me) — like a fine wine, of course — something is starting to change in the people around us. Everyone seems to be “fighting” something lately, be it the bulge or the hands of time; everyone seems to be at war. In a lot of cases, at war with themselves. I have never heard the words “I can’t” so much and so often as I have over the past couple of years. “Oh, I can’t do that,” “Oh, I can’t go there,” “Oh, I can’t eat that…” To which I say: Oh, please! I have four children and if I have taught them anything, it’s that “can’t” doesn’t belong in their vocabulary. Do yourself a favour and strike it from yours.
Mind you, I do see/get/understand what the fuss is all about: everyone’s fighting to live a little longer. Plain and simple. The war and the “I cant’s” all have one sole purpose, and that is to survive. What I wonder is, with life in a state of constant battle and with denial and avoidance and rejection becoming kneejerk reactions to new situations… well, when are you “I cant’s” actually living? Don’t get me wrong: I believe in staying healthy and keeping yourself as fit as possible, as it certainly leads to a better quality of life. But, again, life is the keyword, here — it is meant to be lived.
How did I get on this rant? More like, where: at a party, over the dessert table. I stood there, gobsmacked, listening to a friend go on for a good 20 minutes as to why she couldn’t “eat the brownie.” Nope: not because it wasn’t gluten-free, or because she was allergic to chocolate. It was because she is “fighting,” and her fight, at least right now, is against the bulge.
Fair enough, I suppose, but let’s just step back and consider that she wasted 20 minutes of the life she is preserving, by rambling on about why she was denying herself a brownie. A brownie! Isn’t time part of life? (Yes, that’s rhetorical.) Her approach strikes me as counter-productive, to say the least.
All I could think about was the marathon runner that collapsed and died at the end of the race; after all, life’s finish line is 6 feet under. (I know, again with the Negative Nellie.) And a switch inside me flipped. And I am sure I jumped outside of my own skin as I bellowed, “Eat the freakin’ brownie!!“
I snapped out of it right away, and realized everyone in the room — everyone at this nice, civilized party — was staring at me. This is why I wear nice shoes: because my foot is often in my mouth. I promptly followed up with, “You just wasted 20 minutes of your life talking about why you can’t eat the brownie, 20 minutes you will never get back. If you walk outside and get hit by lightning, you’re going to wish you ate the freakin’ brownie.” And, of course, I ate a brownie.
So, I said I was going somewhere good with this, and here’s where. More like, when: today in your busy, busy life of fighting father time and the “I cant’s,” do something for yourself. Make it literal, or make it metaphorical, but eat the brownie. Treat yourself — you deserve it. Too many people forget that, and they forget it far too often.
Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.