It’s a common occurrence. Most of us have done it more times than we care to count. I’m guilty. I’ve done it repeatedly. What you ask? I’m talking about pushing the boundaries. I do that with a lot of things in my life. As recently as three days ago, I was guilty of improper driving etiquette regarding the cautionary yellow traffic signal. Surely I can’t be the only person who throws caution to the wind while disregarding the entire purpose of the yellow light at an intersection, can I???
Unbeknownst to many – the yellow light is not an invitation to go faster as we approach an intersection. Yellow in fact, means the opposite. Slow, proceed with caution and come to a complete stop. The red light is imminent. Yet, what do we do? We hurry through mentally calculating the minutes we’ve just shaved off our commute by squeaking through another time delayed red-light waiting game.
I know I’m not alone as last Friday on my way home from running a quick errand, I found myself flying through intersections, like everyone else. I was anxious to return to my cozy nest and don my favorite pair of comfy sweat pants and baggy tee-shirt ensemble. This of course, is the unofficial uniform of an anti-Black Friday shopaholic.
***INSERT Public Service Announcement SIDEBAR HERE: For those of you who live outside the United States, the day after our American holiday of Thanksgiving is officially known as Black Friday. It’s a day that has gained popularity and a near religious-cult like status with a broad-based following. A religion created by retail manufacturers for the sole purpose of sucking the joy out of the holiday season; designed with the intent to separate men and women alike from their hard-earned money in order to continue the crippling credit card strangle-hold materialism has over today’s society. Simply put: It’s a day dedicated to buying more stuff we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t really care about.
I’m not a fan of Black Friday shopping. Never have been. Never will be. I tried it once, and only once, a million years ago. I refuse to be converted and will not bow down at the altar of bargain priced merchandise. The long lines, mob mentality and people resorting to fisticuffs, name calling and body-checking one another all for the sake of a cheap, so cheap-they-are-practically-giving-it-away, 65” 4K HD television, just isn’t worth the anxiety.
My Black Friday tradition consists of binge-watching sappy Christmas movies, a veg-out marathon in my jammies or sweats, with a sprinkling of couch potato semi-healthy snacking and the occasional nap attack.
I make it a rule never to leave the house on Black Friday. I live within a few miles of a busy shopping mall which poses the problem of inflated mall traffic snafus, and an increase of horn-honking and middle-finger salutes.
Thanks, but no thanks – or at least that was my plan. A daughter with a sick infant at home precipitated the need for me to break my cardinal rule of social interaction on Black Friday. I was forced to venture beyond the boundaries of my bingeing bubble for an emergency trip to the grocery store.
Generally speaking, I’m a fairly conscientious driver; one who adheres to speed limits and traffic signs. Mostly. Okay, maybe about 92% of the time. As I was nearing home on Friday though, I found myself driving rather hurriedly, falling into that 8% bracket of traffic non-compliance.
Normally, thanks to the installation of crosswalk countdown displays, I’d slow and stop at a light about to turn yellow — but I was anxious to get home to my slippers, sweats and the TV remote. As I raced through the light, I noticed in my rear view mirror the car behind me and three more cars behind that car all followed me through the light that was clearly red by that point. Apparently, I wasn’t the only lawbreaker in a hurry to get home.
Pushing the envelope of good judgment seems to be an epidemic – and not just with traffic laws. Dieting is a perfect example. I’ve been known to take that extra dollop, scoop, bite, lick or taste of whatever unscheduled snack catches my fancy. Rather than heeding the yellow caution sign blinking in my head, I sample the snack rather than stopping and avoiding the temptation altogether. My reasoning is loosely based on the premise, “But everyone else is doing it!”
This is a popular past-time at Costco. A long line forms at a snack cart and the popular opinion is, “whatever it is, it must be good, otherwise all these people wouldn’t be standing here!”
This was never more evident than it was last week at my family Thanksgiving meal. Desserts and coffee were put out and as soon as one person made the first move, everyone followed suit. Even me – in spite of the fact that I promised myself I wouldn’t touch anything sugary! That mob-mentality-everybody’s-doing-it-so-it-must-be-okay flawed reasoning got the better of me. Rather than stopping at the intersection of “I’m full” and “I don’t need the extra empty calories,” I caved and followed the others like a lamb to the slaughter. Thankfully, I didn’t eat much in the way of carbs and desserts for the day on a whole. But I’m still disappointed in the fact that I so easily succumbed to the “but everyone else is doing it” thinking.
If one person ignores the signs and warnings, then it must be okay. WRONG! It’s not okay for those of us pursuing weight loss and good health to chase the herd. Eating like everyone else with no restraints is exactly how most of us end up carrying excess weight.
Just as a yellow light at an intersection serves as a warning, so does that little niggling voice in our spirit that reminds us of what we should and should NOT be eating. What we should and should NOT be thinking. What we should and should NOT be feeling. What we should and should NOT be pursuing.
Every mother worth her salt has at one time or another uttered those famous words, “if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you too?”
I don’t want to end up where I was for so many years … overweight, overtired, depressed and in chronic pain.
Success will only happen if we heed the warnings and STOP for all potential hazards. What are YOUR hazards? A busy intersection of indecision; feeding your depression with junk food;, a long sample line at Costco, the dessert table for the family dinner or the all-you-can-eat buffet? Whatever your issue, make the responsible decision today to proceed with caution!
QUOTE OF THE DAY: