Within 90 minutes this morning I heard the same sentence uttered by two different women I admire. In each instance, a second party had commented on a lifestyle choice my friend/client had made and remarked, somewhat snarkily, “It’s so nice that you have that choice.”
One woman heard it from her husband after mentioning the delightful time she’d had at the beach with their grandchildren. The other was a client who doesn’t take business calls over the weekend. Her client couldn’t comprehend why a call made on Sunday hadn’t been returned that day.
That left-handed (sorry, Lefties!) compliment–“So nice that you have a choice!”— carries an underlying message.
Let me see if I can get it right. What they really meant was that “If you were in any way a responsible human being LIKE I AM, you’d surely work as hard as ME and quit fooling around and having fun.”
Right? Isn’t that the subtext you read into that statement?
I was hoping and praying that my client’s response would line up with my thought bubble, which it did. “Thank you,” she responded. “I do realize how lucky I am to have that choice.”
While the martyr uttering those words wants to appear supportive, the self-righteousness inherent in her assessment belies the wish for the other.
The truth is, we are ALL always at choice. That’s a bitter pill to swallow when you’re talking about tuitions, mortgages, car loans or professional self-image. Someone else’s seeming disregard for your chosen way of life is not a crime.
This post is actually a plea for those of you on either side of this equation to choose to take some well-deserved time for yourself before the end of this glorious summer. I promise you that you have the choice and whatever it is you’re choosing NOT to do for the hour or three of relaxation and self-care is well worth it.