Back at the tail end of last year, I volunteered to plan a date with someone I really like. We had been hanging out for a while now but because of conflicting work schedules, we hadn’t had an opportunity to have what we call a “Day Date”. After setting the date, type-A Anita came out in full force.
I made a list, checked the weather (chance of showers- typical Vancouver), and then made another list for rainy day activities. I was on vacation with two of my best girl friends at the time and I proceeded to poll them for ideas as well as bounce my own ideas off of them. Aquarium? Nope. Not 17 anymore. Go to a hockey game? I’m not into watching sports. Eventually, I threw my hands up in the air exclaiming: NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO WORK. WE HAVE NO INTERESTS IN COMMON. And proceeded to throw myself a pity party.
The next day, I was still going on about this needs-to-be-perfect Day Date when my best guy friend who was also on the trip, stopped me and said
“I don’t get it. Why are you putting so much effort into this?”
I replied- “…because I care about this person and I want him to have fun?”
And he said “Are you sure that’s it? It sounds like you want him to have fun because it makes you feel good.”
He was right. Here I was thinking I was being selfless by planning a day that would make someone else super happy when in reality, my sneaky ego was the driving force. I did want him to have fun because it would make me feel good about myself. Did that make me a bad person?
And then I realized- the ego gets a bad rep.
New age philosophy these days teaches us that the ego and its desires and attachments is the source of all suffering; and that ideally, we should all live ego-free if we want to be better people. While lovely in theory, the application isn’t as practical.
The fact is, we are going to be individuals with egos, preferences, desires, and attachments.
We’re flawed and we’re human.
It’s all a part of this human experience we’ve been given. The important thing is is not to let any of these things- egos, preferences, desires, and attachments rule our lives in such a way that we are unconscious. So long as we are aware and we can reign it in every so often (rather than be forced to react), we can continue to choose to live by the higher road.
So to Wilson, I retorted
“Yeah- so what. He has fun, he’s happy and I’m happy he’s happy.”
Nothing wrong with that.