It is easy to become a lifestyle snob. When you are happy with the life you are choosing to lead and the way you are leading it, it is possible to convey judgment without meaning to. As I learn more and more about living a healthy, organic, whole life I want to share it with others. It’s in my nature. I want them to be as happy and to feel as good as I do. But that can be dangerous. Because when you tell someone about something that you do differently than they do, they may perceive your enthusiasm as criticism of their way. If yours is so much better, than theirs must be wrong, right? No, just different, but that’s not always easy to convey.
It is a fine line to walk. Recently I overreacted to a comment a dear friend made about eggs. I believe they are the perfect food. I rejoiced in reports that the bad wrap they’ve always gotten about cholesterol and calories was mostly hype. I don’t consider them a dangerous food to be rationed. My husband’s high cholesterol went down this year and we eat a lot of eggs. So when my friend mentioned that her family doesn’t eat them very often for health reasons – I overreacted with an insensitive comment in defense of egg eating. Not only was it hurtful and unnecessary, it is truly just my opinion – worth not so much to anyone but me. Sometimes I start barreling down my path and forget that there are thoughtful, purposeful people who are on their own path and doing just fine. We are both headed towards the same place – a healthy, happy life – our paths may look very different but neither is completely right or wrong. I need to let some things go. Every day is a lesson.
So today, I share that lesson with you. It’s wonderful and exciting to learn new ways of doing things. It feels great when you discover healthier ways of eating and it’s satisfying to make more healthful life choices for yourself, your children and the earth. But remember you are choosing for yourself and your choices have no reflection on your neighbors. None of us have all the answers. Indeed scientists who seem to have it all figured out are contradicted every day by new studies, new discoveries, new opinions. We must be careful and judge only what works for us. If it makes you feel better, calmer, and healthier, than it’s a good thing for you. Count your blessings. But don’t force those blessings on anyone else.
I know as well as anyone that it’s hard to keep a good thing to yourself. So seek out likeminded souls you can share your discoveries with. I love talking with people who find it amazing that you can add flax seed to all kinds of recipes without children suspecting. People who want all the gory details about my latest efforts at packing healthy lunches or making my own breakfast cereal are a wonderful audience. We are organic-nerds and we can talk for hours about chicken-keeping or making homemade yogurt. I call them kindred spirits and cherish my time with them. But my life would be pretty shallow if I only spent time with those who agree with me.
My life is made richer by the people I encounter who don’t walk my path. They challenge me – forcing me to examine my own life and hold it up against other possibilities. That keeps me fresh, committed to who I am and what I’m about. Everyone has something to teach us. No one has all the answers. One person doesn’t have to be wrong for another to be right. That’s the beautiful part. So I’ll keep exploring what it means to live a kid-friendly organic life, some ideas will work and some will fall flat. Take what works for you and leave the rest. But please don’t ever think I consider you any less of a person, mother, father, friend if you don’t live the way I do. We are all doing the best we can with what we know. And that should be honored.