Eating Orange Chicken While Learning To Be Human

It was one of those days today. You know the kind, where you cannot wait to leave work because your eyes are so heavy you’re about to drop. I barely made the one minute walk it takes me to get from my office to my apartment (I guess I’m kind of lucky that way). As soon as I got home I threw on pajamas, poured a glass of wine, and stared at my bed, tempted to just turn out the lights and go to sleep. Did I mention it was 5:30pm?

But I was hungry, out of fresh produce, and the only meal-type substance was the Trader Joes’s package of frozen orange chicken that I intended to combine with left over brown rice. A dinner that I would normally crave every once in awhile, but then close the freezer instead and turn to grilled chicken and fresh veggies. But today the package came out. Because it was a long day, and I was hungry.

As I took the finished chicken out of the oven and poured that oh so yummy orange glaze over it, my stomach turned just a little. What was that? Had to be nothing. One night of breaded, high fructose-glazed chicken wasn’t going to kill me, right?

I got down a bowl, filled it with rice, added the chicken, and made sure to get some of the extra glaze with a spoon. But as I saw down and ate it, I found myself overcome with a feeling of dissatisfaction. All I could think about was “I wish I hadn’t been so lazy to drive the 5 minutes it takes to get to the grocery store and make a fresh meal. How much yummier a fresh green salad would taste right about now.” You know the feeling – when your body is so used to eating “healthy” (a relative term – but for me meaning no fried or breaded foods, low in calories and fat, etc.) and you go off the course KNOWING it’s not going to be good for you, but you give in to tempation anyway? Yet all it results in is a yucky stomach and pounds of regret? Yah, that one.

So as I sat, eating my orange chicken, wishing I had stuck with my gut knowing what the outcome would be but doing it anyways, wishing I had made better choices, I reflected on life choices. I thought about the difficult and challenging decisions I have had to make along my journey to get to where I am today. I thought about being stuck in that moment of feeling that causes us to forget about all of the hard work and hard decisions we’ve had to make for ourselves and our well-being in order to get to the point in which we’re at right now…and for all of it to go downhill or backwards in that moment of weakness. It’s the same story each time, and it only leaves feelings of dissatisfaction, guilt, regret, and sometimes disappointment (in ourselves).

So as I sat, eating my orange chicken, thinking about it’s metaphor for all of the other things in my life, I stopped. I listened to my [now disgruntled] gut and realized I know what’s best for me!

Life’s choices aren’t easy. There’s plenty of times I want to contact someone from the past knowing the end result is always going to be the same and it never turns out any good. There’s that sweet tooth of mine that would rather be eating fruit tarts and Subway cookies instead of fresh made juices and smoothies. Oh, and don’t forget about the infamous Snooze button that I’d rather press in the morning instead of getting out of bed and getting in some exercise.

Life is a constant battle of choice. As I continue living and learning, I’m learning to allow myself to focus on my accomplishments and achievements. I am learning to leave room for forgiveness of myself for the mistakes I am sure to make along the way. I will not get so deep rooted in moments of mishap that I allow myself to get completely off course, because I will recognize that I am human.

We live and we learn! BUT, the next time I see some orange chicken, I will most DEFINITELY be running the other way!

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