At my job, like most, whenever someone has a birthday, leaves for (much) greener pastures, or, really, sneezes, we have food to celebrate. There is literally a constant stream of goodies at this place! Vendors bring by sandwich samples, every one of my co-workers has a candy dish and we even have a giant potluck every year around the holidays called the Christmas Feast, where each member of the 200+ faculty and staff is invited to bring a dish to share.
Today was no exception. Being it was my boss’ birthday, one of our colleagues brought in donuts. As any member of my family can tell you, pastries are my ultimate downfall (my parents’ latest attempt to turn my pastry passion into a joke involved them gifting me a bottle of Cupcake-brand wine for Christmas). When you combine that with the peer pressure that comes from standing around a conference room table with your colleagues destroying two boxes of pillowy glazed perfection…well, my willpower was definitely put to the test. I tried not to make eye contact with the confections as viciously as one avoids eye contact with a giggling younger sibling in church.
When my co-worker, Kelly, later commented that she wanted another and maybe I wanted another, too, I pointed out that in fact I had resisted and not had a treat. “Why?” she queried. It dawned on me at that moment (and why it has taken 27-years for this realization is quite sad) that I don’t want a donut because I would rather get married some day. Or wear cute lingerie. Or, as Kelly and my conversations tend to go, have really great sex. I don’t need the momentary deliciousness that junk like this brings because I have such bigger things that I want for my life. Some of them may be shallow and material, but they are still very important parts of leading a “normal” life–things like the lingerie or fitting comfortably into a freakin’ airplane seat. And there are other milestones–getting married, being a mommy–that I know I absolutely will not achieve if I keep choosing the literal and metaphorical donuts in my life. It’s a matter of re-shifting priorities.