A friend of mine arrives at my apartment with a bottle of sweet guava juice. Because we are close enough for playful judgment, there is no hesitation for me to roll my eyes and flip to the nutrition facts. There is so much sugar in this! I exclaim, being someone who only drinks water and unsweetened tea… hot chocolate on special occasions.
My friend doesn’t have to respond. I know what they are thinking, But Liz, you’re someone who has two bags of vegan chocolate chips on hand at all times. One in case you want to make cookies, the other as back-up in case you don’t go to the store in between two non-negotiable urges for chocolate chip cookies!
I’m reminded of a time when I saw someone living very differently than I live. Our virtues and vices seemed opposing at nearly every step. And it wasn’t until this guava juice exchange that the past experience hit me—we consume our sugar (and our vinegar) differently.
How I choose to celebrate. How I choose to treat myself. How I choose to splurge. How I choose to relish life. My sugar? Well that might look really different than what you choose.
And is either way inherently better than the other?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking our way is the best way. But that does a disservice to the uniqueness of our individual experiences and psyches.
The way we respond to heartache or disappointment or anger or frustration? We consume that differently too.
And that’s okay.
Perhaps the most important thing we can do is make space for the way we consume sugar and the way we handle vinegar. The way we love and the way we grieve. Perhaps, equally important, respecting the way the people closest to us experience these things as well. And letting everyone enjoy their sugar, however they choose to delight in it.