A friend of mine readily admits some of her fondest memories involve watching “Pretty Little Liars” with her grandmother. Her nana.

Nana told me she had no interest in the program, but it was a way to spend time with her youngest grandchild on a regular basis. Despite her lack of concern for the fate of the various characters, she could handily talk through any given plot line from the show. Heather, her granddaughter, would proudly ask Nana a question about the series, and Nana would give a complete answer, smiling as she relayed the tale.

I’ve written before about the right or wrong of spending time doing something you don’t enjoy for the sake of one you care about. I believe sometimes you suck it up and go to the shower you’d rather avoid, because your love for the cousin who’s being honored is greater than your disdain for ditzy party games.

I understand the thinking of those who say “life is too short for me to do something like (fill in the blank), no matter who’s involved,” and in some ways I endorse it. There are certainly multiple opportunities to honor a loved one (and if there truly is only one chance, consider that fact carefully).

How do we balance looking out for ourselves first without being unnecessarily selfish? With children, it’s an easier decision. Sometimes the best way to build trust with a child is to watch a television show they love or read aloud a book that sends you screaming.

It would be a rare situation where I’d watch The Young and the Restless just to make a roommate happy. And yet, that’s exactly what happened nearly 30 years ago. My then-roommate and I weren’t getting along. We liked and respected each other, but living together presented challenges. We also had one television set between us. Compromise was essential.

We agreed to air the taped episodes two nights a week, and reluctantly I joined her. I never did embrace soap opera fandom, but watching and safely gossiping about those shows created a bond. We are friends to this day.


In today’s world this example is a bit moot. With the ability to watch your favorite program at your leisure on your choice of devices, you can easily distance yourself from the undesirable family member or roommate.

But where does that get you?

I offer no answers, only questions to ponder. When is being selfish cutting yourself off from healthy relationships? On the flip side, when is it saving you from an antagonistic experience?

Life is full of choices, and the answers so often are ambiguous. The thinking process, however, needn’t be so vague. Ultimately, the decision is yours. And sometimes taking care of others is taking care of yourself.

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3 Replies to “Choices”

  1. Wow, this is such a topic close to my heart. I tended to be a people pleaser and a giver – I often did many things I hated in order to please others. Religion was an big example. I never wanted to upset my mother by dodging the religious occasions that meant so much to her. But eventually, I broke away and it was painful for me. Still, I love making choices for myself now more and more. I am able to say no when I realize that It’s something I don’t really want to do.
    Most of the time, I like doing things for others and you’re right – if it’s not something I love, I don’t always mind because I get pleasure making a difference. I’ve been visiting sick friends quite a bit this past year. Wow, that isn’t easy but it is a choice I’ve made.
    Thank you, Belinda – you always have such thoughtful posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Judy. This is a difficult topic for me to write about because the range is so broad. Visiting sick friends is something I would say is a good thing to do whether or not it feels comfortable, yet attending religious ceremonies out of obligation doesn’t seem so essential. Yet that;s you and me, and for others, it may be just the reverse that makes sense for them. So we have to make the choices fhat work in our own lives and not be afraid to stand by them.

      Liked by 1 person

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