Usually when we say we’re going to give ourselves a gift or treat ourselves to something we’re talking about buying an expensive outfit or indulging in a hot fudge sundae with M&Ms on top. But what if a doctor tells a woman that her health is dependant on the improvement of her diet? In that case shouldn’t the woman’s decision to forgo the sundae with M&Ms in favor of a fat free frozen yogurt with almonds be considered her way of treating herself to good health?
I’ve been thinking a lot about those kinds of gifts lately. You see today is my birthday. I’m 33 and I’ve spent the weekend taking stock of my life as well as the state of a budding relationship that I’ve been in. I really care about the man whom I’ve been dating but I see that there are big problems on the horizon. It became clear to me that unless we got on the same page regarding a few key issues our romance would become more destructive than emotionally fulfilling. So I sat down and talked to him the night before my actual birthday. I told him what I needed from him and as I predicted he told me that as much as he wanted to make me happy (and he did) he was not presently able to give me those things. It was tempting to just turn a blind eye to our problems but doing so would have required certain emotional sacrifices on my part that I am not comfortable with. So I dabbed my tears away and ended it. Right before I walked out the door I noted the time. 12:30 am. I was breaking up with this man on my birthday.
The next morning and afternoon many of my friends called to wish me well on my “special day” and one by one I told them what I had done. Everyone supported my decision and told me I was doing the right thing but it was my friend Mika who really got me to look at the situation in the most interesting light. After listening to the reasons for my decision and boosting my ego by telling me that he would never do better than “a beautiful, intelligent, successful woman who respected his need for space and independence,” she stated that she thought it was wonderful that I would treat myself to this break-up on my birthday. I hesitated and asked her to explain.
“You know your own worth Kyra and when he wasn’t able to be there for you in the way you deserved you moved on and gave yourself a fresh start for your birthday. If that isn’t an incredible gift I don’t know what is.”
And you know what? She’s right. It is a gift. I can’t say that I’m enjoying it that much today any more than the woman who wanted the ice cream is really all that thrilled about the frozen yogurt but in the long run I know I will appreciate this present more than anything I could have bought myself in a store.
So it’s been a bittersweet birthday, but given the current circumstances I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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