Be true to yourself and enjoy a happy holiday season!
A week from today I fly home to Australia.
My goal is to have a relaxing holiday without butting heads or requiring a chemical detox afterward.
There is an adjustment period whenever I visit my home country. In Japan, where I live and work, it is relatively easy for me to lead a holistic lifestyle.
- Food portions are smaller with natural flavors.
- No one comments if I chose mineral water over an alcoholic drink.
- The party culture is quite tame (by comparison).
- I walk everywhere by choice (I don’t own a car).
- During summer, I carry a parasol (it’s the fashionable thing to do).
- I don’t sunbath, period.
Some habits I have acquired since I moved to Japan. Like the Japanese, I bath at night and remove my shoes indoors. These customs make perfect sense to me.
But some of my quirks are peculiar to me.
- Ever since I was a child I have disliked condiments.
- I eat sandwiches but without margarine or butter.
- I don’t put dressing on salads.
- I am not a vegetarian but I eat very little meat.
My quirky habits fly under the radar in Japan, as people tend to keep their personal views to themselves.
Australia is a very different proposition to Japan
First, it’s a sun-loving country. We have the highest instance of skin cancer in the world.
Second, the food is often high calorie, flavored and portions can be huge.
Third, my Aussie friends are a sociable bunch — but they drink a lot more than I can match these days.
Fourth, no topic is off-limits at the dinner table or backyard BBQ — you need to pack your thick pineapple skin when you visit Down Under!
Having spent much of my life outside of my home country, it is clear to me how much our immediate environment shapes us.
Would I be a different person today if I had not left Australia?
When I look at the choices my friends and family have made, I am clearly on a different path.
And that is perfectly fine.
My personal sense of self-worth is not dependent on what everyone else thinks.
I read somewhere that 41 years is the age we stop caring what everyone else thinks of us. Although I wouldn’t say that I don’t care what people think.
Alienating people is never a good thing.
I care what other people think because I aim to be a well-functioning member of society.
I want to visit and see friends and family but at the same time I wish to be true to the person I am today. I have worked hard to establish a number of healthy lifestyle habits these past 12 months.
As a well functioning member of society, I need to find a way to reconcile my year-end holiday conundrum!
Habits are easier to maintain when they are part of your identity.
For example, diets are temporary and often fail. A smarter approach is to make incremental changes that you maintain all year round.
When you diet people ask questions like, “Don’t you miss sweets?” If you define yourself as someone who likes sweets but can’t eat them your willpower or resolve is weaker in the face of temptation.
None For Me, Thanks
It is better to define yourself as someone who doesn’t eat sweets, period.
You don’t eat sweets in the same way a vegetarian doesn’t eat meat. You have a higher resolve. Much like an observant Jew doesn’t eat pork or a practicing Muslim doesn’t drink alcohol. They simply don’t.
“None For Me, Thanks” is a powerful phrase at your disposal
Saying, “I don’t” as opposed to “I can’t” is a game changer. It empowers you. It gives you control. The decision is yours.
If people insist you accept a treat, I recommend accepting and then putting the treat aside. It’s a little wasteful, but better than alienating people or appearing ungrateful.
Your lifestyle choices define who you are.
Be true to yourself and enjoy a happy, holiday season!
Till next time,