It's funny how the little things can mean so much and the simplest of things take on such significance. In my case, it was the simple act of ordering a pizza.
I learned early to consider the needs of others. The way I was raised, failure to do so was considered selfish. As a child, I was aware of my parent's work schedules and responsibilities. With a younger sibling, I learned the world did not totally revolve around me. As a teenager, I became aware of other's pain and did not wish to add to it. As a young adult, to make a living, I had to meet the needs of managers and co-workers. As a wife I learned to compromise. As a mother, I learned to put another first.
I became very adept at predicting the likes and dislikes of those closest to me and shape my choices accordingly; Miracle Whip instead of mayo, beef instead of pork, rap over rock. I shaped my schedule to accommodate my family's needs. As a teacher, I catered to the needs of my students. My working out, hobbies, going out with friends etc. took a back seat to what everyone else was doing or needed. It never seemed that big a deal. I wasn't that attached to my likes and dislikes. I simply told myself if it was something I absolutely didn't like, I would take a stand.
Suddenly one day, I woke up and I was on my own. No need to compromise. I could do what I wanted! Woo Hoo!! What I like!! My way!! As I pondered my new reality I was suddenly struck by the fact that I had no idea what I liked anymore. I knew what everyone else liked, favorite colors, collectables, flavors, hobbies. I knew my sons favorite teams, my brother's favorite cartoon characters, my mother's favorite coffee, my grandmother's TV shows and snack food. I knew my co-workers likes and dislikes, even my student's. Whenever I went shopping, things I saw went into categories and mental columns of the perfect gift for so and so and this is something so and so would really like. It was the way I looked at the world- all in terms of other's likes.
The realization took me aback. Somewhere along the way, I lost something. I had no idea where to begin to fix it. I remembered what I used to like. I went back to my old likes and dislikes, but that was 20 years ago. It wasn't the same. I was not the same person. I simply sighed, now what?
Frustrated and overwhelmed, I decided I would take the 'Scarlett O'hara' approach and think about it tomorrow. Besides I was hungry. I decided to order a pizza. Out of habit, I started to order it the way I always had, the way someone else liked it. I caught myself and made a purposeful decision to order something I had never tried before. How could something so simple be so liberating? It was the best pizza I have ever had, sinfully decadent!! From that moment I decided I would try new things, all kinds of things, wonderful things and spend time discovering what I liked and enjoy doing. It's pizza my way.