I couldn't help but laugh. I knew she meant every word of her ridiculous statement, but it was the way she said it. Recently she had been on this tirade to get me to do things for myself -- without considering even one other person.
"You know what? You don't give people enough credit!" she said, thoughtfully. "You have this weird idea in your head that if you disconnect yourself for some much needed TLC, everyone will just... I don't know... fall apart or something."
OK, so maaaaybe I thought that. Maybe just a little bit. But she didn't have to be so Judge Judy about it. Sheesh.
"I'm just used to life this way," I said.
"And what way is that?"
"Just the way it is, you know? I mean, of course I want to do all the fun stuff, but who doesn't?"
I wished she would just give it a rest. But ever since she realized I was pretty much done school, she had made it her mission to evoke the ME gene in, well, me. She was convinced we all had it. Some people embraced it earlier on and never looked back, while others required some coaxing.
But she never fathomed that having it was a bad thing. In fact, she thought quite the opposite. To her, being able to go through life while loving yourself unconditionally and putting yourself first 95 per cent of the time, was the key to happiness. And she was determined to get me at least 50 per cent of the way there.
"I am selfish," I said. "I do things for myself all the time!"
I could feel the wheels spinning in my head as I prepared to answer the next question that I knew would come.
"Lot of stuff!"
"Like what?" she repeated.
"Like... taking that vacation after undergrad."
There, that had to throw the scent off.
"Could you afford that vacation?" she asked.
"Did you make the decision to go, on your own?"
"Not selfish!" she said, with a look that started to irritate me.
"I'm talking selfish like... looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing only you... selfish," she said.
"I do see only me. Do you see two of you when you look in the mirror?" I asked.
"Sometimes... but the good one usually loses."
"OK, here's a prescription for you," she said, with seriousness. "You need to go home and make a list of 5 things you want to do in the next two months. They don't have to be be big or extravagant things... just easy stuff... and then? Just. Do. it."
"What's the catch?" (always a cynic!)
"I'm the catch?"
"Oh, and one more thing," she added, as a side note.
"Do yourself a favour, and stop thinking."