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Consider the source when making promises

I'm about to edit a post I wrote two days ago called "Two New Time-Limited Promises, made to myself this time".

Here's part of what it says right now: "Other than those excluded days, I'm not going to have any sweets until I weigh less than 185."

Here's what I'm going to change it to: "Other than those excluded days, I'm not going to have any sweets until I weigh less than 185, in situations where I am in control."

Since I made the promise to myself I knew what I really meant, and I didn't mean that if I happened to be offered something in an Arab home that I would refuse the hospitality I was being offered. (I didn't expect to find myself in an Arab home and being served some delicious canafe and nothing else -- I just had to eat it, although I did feed most of it to my kids when my hosts weren't in the room, and it wasn't that sweet anyway. (But it tasted great!)

My vice, which I promised away until I weight 185, was rather the chocolate ice cream I watched my kids eat the day before, and the sweet scone that tempted me at the bread store this morning, etc.

Had I made that promise to one of my kids, I'm not sure what I would have done, although I probably would've used more words when making the promise in the first place so as to not find myself in such a situation. That said, had I been offered Coke, or fried potato chips, or a candy bar in a wrapper -- things I've promised away to various family members -- I would not have drunk/eaten them and would have had to figure out some creative diplomacy. (Then again, in this situation my wiife would have intercepted the tray before it got to me.)

Lesson learned: when you make your promises, always consider the source of the thing you're promising away. For example, a friend of mine has promised away pop, unless someone else buys it for him. That's not exactly the same situation as my canafe, but for him it still gets to the heart of the matter.

These asterisks can seem like a cop out, but actually they're the realism that make most promises do-able.


 

 

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