Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Of Ice Cream, Addiction, Purpose and Love

Welcome to new follower Lizz, a neighbor right here in the NEPA town where I live! Lizz's son and my son are very good friends. Her entire family has made my son feel welcome and comfortable in their home. My son is, for all intents and purposes, a "lonely only," as his closest sibling is 9-years his senior and living more than 1,000 miles away. My boy loves Lizz's family, and has learned what it's like to be a big brother, thanks to her adorable little daughter. With delight, wonder and humor, my son keeps me updated on the little girl's accomplishments and adventures. Thanks for following, Lizz. And thanks for sharing your family, kindness and patience with my son!

Of Ice Cream, Addiction, Purpose and Love

Knowing yourself, weaknesses as well as strengths, is half the battle won toward a purposive life. Throughout my adult life, I've tended to be, in some aspects, immature regarding men. I've jumped head-first into relationships with all but one of the men I have desired, with little regard or thought given to exactly what I was diving into.
As Twitter and facebook became flustered and flabbergasted by a risque line uttered during last week's episode of a popular TV show, I reacted by matter-of-factly agreeing that my heart, as well as my brain, had quite often been in my vagina. (I hope I haven't offended any one. We are all adults here.)
I've wondered for at least the past 10 years if I have ever truly been in love, or if I was instead, smitten and consumed by lust. I've also asked myself if perhaps, love and lust are simply entwined, one unable to exist without the other, two parts that contribute equally to the whole. Once upon a time in the 80s, I loved the man I married wildly, irrationally, more than I loved myself. How then, did I fall out of love with him? Or did I not fall out of love?
Well, those are questions that may never be answered here on Earth. But I have learned that I do have maturity/control/judgement issues when it comes to men, alcohol and sweets.
I've addressed and conquered the man-based immaturity by admitting to a long-lusted after and much-admired (for his brain, kind and nurturing demeanor, and success) friend, that I felt desire for him.
I admitted and thanked him for being "the one" who allowed me to learn that he means more to me as a life-long friend than as a lover. I've finally matured to the point that I know not to screw-up a friendship by surrendering to lust. It didn't hurt that I really like his wife (he was divorced upon my admitting that I had a thing for him, but still . . .), or that more than 1,000 miles separated us, or that I was already in a long-term relationship.
None the less, I had desired him, loved him, for so many years, that fessing up was as painful and tearful as it was a relief and an act of maturity that strengthened our friendship.
I've addressed and conquered the alcohol-based immaturity by admitting and embracing that I'm just one of those people who can't drink. I used to be able to drink most men under the table, which was really hazardous to all involved. Once pumped to the bursting-point with booze, just one more irresistible drink - disguised in a pretty glass and all-dolled-up with fruit , olives, an umbrella or a cute stirrer - sends me into black-out oblivion. I'll simply say that having spent the first 38 years of my life in close proximity to bodies of water easily accessible to an impaired driver, I'm fortunate to be alive. I didn't drink often once married, but when I occasionally did, it wasn't pretty.
I also can't drink because of diabetes and cardio vascular difficulties.
Additionally, I quit smoking, cold turkey and permanently, more than two years ago because of health issues. I feared that I would never quit smoking. I really, truly enjoyed it. But maturity prevailed when push came to shove.
I do sometimes wax nostalgic for the days of margaritas and martinis expertly shaken or stirred to perfection at a restaurant called B. Smith's overlooking a yacht-filled harbor in the bucolic village of Sag Harbor, N.Y.; and along with a heavenly concoction, a long drag on a cigarette; but I've matured to the point that I know and control my weaknesses. I'd rather live less recklessly and less indulgently than die.
I've conquered men, booze and tobacco. Why then, can I not turn a cold shoulder to ice cream? More specifically, the creamy dreamy yummy goodness of a chocolate milk shake?
I hate to sound stupid, but in this respect, up until yesterday, I was.
I know that each time I give in and turn into the drive-up line - which isn't often, but more often than it should be - I'm indulging in a self-justified treat that will, in no uncertain terms, shorten my life.
A woman who checks her sugar regularly (except after a shake break-down, because I just don't want to know how bad it is for me!), reads labels and counts calories, carbohydrates and sugar content, becomes a self-destructive fool in the face of a milk shake.
Talk about being immature. Images of a foot-stomping five-year-old, eyes clenched tightly against reality, insisting that if she can't see you, you can't see her, come to mind.
But yesterday marked a turning point in my war against chocolaty sweet temptation in a take-out cup.
A headline inquiry of "What's Really in Your Food?" on MSN Health leveled the playing field, placing victory squarely in my corner. Now I know and have admitted and accepted how undeniably bad the commercial fast-food chocolate shake is - and oh, baby, it's BAAAAAD!!!!!
A McDonald's large milk shake contains a whopping 1,160 calories! Add its 510 mg of sodium, 27 grams of fat (16 of those saturated), and 168 grams of sugar, and I may as well ask McDonald's to install a drive-up adjacent to the cardiac intensive care unit of my local hospital for the sake of convenience!
The news continues to improve, as I looked up (at the calorie and nutrition count of a homemade chocolate shake.
With 1 cup of whole milk from a local dairy and 7 ounces of chocolate ice cream (that's twice a single serving according to government regulations), a homemade shake passes the lips with 500 calories, 208 mg of sodium, 20.8 grams total fat (12.8 saturated), and 40.4 grams of sugar.
There's just no reason, except lack of self-control, not to forgo the commercial shake for one made at home, if one must indulge. And now that all the numbers have been revealed, I'll be denying the homemade shake-cravings much more often than not!
Another triumphant step toward sane and healthy purpose, another step away from addiction and ice cream. Mature, refreshing, honest love remains, as it continues to lend more joy than sorrow to life.
What do you think? Be well and happy!

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