Who am I trying to impress?

A few years ago, I met a friend in New York city. It was a big trip for me (almost 4 hrs by train) but I wanted to go to support her. I knew that she didn’t ever splurge on anything (especially herself) and so I also wanted the trip to be a treat for her. At the time, I wasn’t exactly prosperous,  but decided to charge most of it and take her out for a very nice dinner at an Italian restaurant that had gotten great reviews. I was a little uncomfortable …going out to a really nice dinner here in rural upstate NY never adds up to more than $50 a person. A $35 entrée would be very expensive.

The appetizers at this restaurant were in that range. The entrees more like $75 and up. I was swallowing hard but determined to push past my discomfort and really treat my friend. I was feeling like a really “big” person (a big shot was more like it but I couldn’t admit this at the time). That is until she said at the end of the meal, “This was so expensive and just think, we could have gotten just as good a meal at the Olive Garden (a chain restaurant) and it would have cost less than one of these appetizers!” What? Just as good a meal?

I felt completely deflated, a little stupid (I also was irritated with her for not appreciating my sacrifice) and was $200 more in debt without even impressing her!  If I had listened to that little voice of discomfort inside, we might have splurged for take out pizza instead.

It can be hard to look at ourselves honestly …to see what our real motives are….and ouch it can hurt when I see myself acting out of balance to impress someone. But you know, I learned something valuable. This is not the first time that I have done something like this…I hope it was the last but probably not. I am still, at 55, learning who I am…trying to be real, authentic, honest with myself and others. Sometimes I still fall down….but I keep trying.

I wanted to end this post with an Italian expression. Lest you think that I am trying to impress you with my Italian, I don’t speak Italian, but found this expression on-line and think it is perfect.

Chi non fa, non falla!

“he who does nothing makes no blunders”

15 thoughts on “Who am I trying to impress?

  1. We do it anyway and why not. Like you say we would never do anything if we didn’t try. It has happened in my life many times but at the age of 65 I don’t get fazzed by it anymore and I am glad that God has helped me to do that. Thanks also for daily blog.

  2. I would think any thing in NYC would be an extravagance, doesn’t matter which restaurant. The last time I was there was in 1976. I was being treated by a college chum. Two weeks in Riverside CT, with unlimited trips into NYC by train. Every place I went then seemed extravagant!

    It was good though that you wanted to treat your friend, who rarely splurges on herself. The motives were pure, even if it broke the bank. That’s probably how you have to look at it.

    My big splurge this past Friday was to visit Goodwill to spend very little on clothing.

    Thank you, Mary for your blog.

  3. At 70, I find that times I still do not get things right and I fall. It is not the falling that hurts, it is when we lay there, wallow in our ‘stupidity’ and don’t get up!
    I will say at this age, I more quickly get up, brush myself off and state that I won’t try that again in that way.
    Better to have failed at something, than to go about life never trying!
    I still think your friend botched a perfect moment to thank a person who had tried – I have done that too!
    Being human is not always easy.
    Peg

  4. I agree with Peg. We need to learn to receive and be thankful for the gifts given to us whether it is an expensive dinner a friend is treating us to or the artwork from my granddaughters.

  5. After reading this post I felt there was one thing missing. The point at which you learn to laugh at your mistake. Perhaps you have not made as many blunders as I. Such as trying to impress you with my comment. Ooops, there i go again. Ha, Ha, Hope I never quit saying what I feel. I learn more from my mistakes by doing. Then reading a manual on how too. Your reaction may cause you to take her to Olive Garden next time. Then she might be disappointed. Life is such a quandry. I delight at how your posts make me think about life. Thank You.

    • You know, you are right…I like to think that I can easily laugh at myself but it is one of the things that I am working on.
      Thank you for saying that my posts make you think about life…that puts a smile on my face!
      Mary

  6. I work part time for an attorney who is also a dear friend, she is self made, very successful, and when we, including her secretary, file person, all of us, go for lunch, for a birthday or such, she always picks out the coolest restaurants. The ones way out of our pocket book, she does this because she loves to share and make things special, because she is not trying to impress us, just make things fun, they are always a fun wonderful experience….she is a special lady…..

  7. Another wonderful post Mary. I do love reading them as well as all the great comments too.
    I have only been to NYC a few times in my life beginning in 2004. We went to visit our oldest son who moved there after college. As we got in the car with the two younger teenagers (we drove down from NH) I announced, as if I really knew, “Okay kids say goodbye to all the trees”. Now it’s a regular joke each time we go anywhere new! We were very cautious about eating out but somehow managed to find a tiny, family run italian restaurant with lovely atmosphere. So delicious, everything home-made and amazingly affordable for a family of 5. (Everyone was speaking italian too!). Our next trip down, a year later, we went right back to the same restaurant only to find the whole building had been demolished. : ( Too bad but made for a treasured memory. I’m sure your friend has a great memory of that meal too, even if it was expensive.

  8. Born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Queens, and with a sister who still has an apartment a quick subway trip from all the best places in New York City, I have experienced the kind of extravagance that “the Big Apple” has to offer. Not too often, I might add. We tend toward the City Freebees – like “Shakespeare in the Park”. But, when it came time to retire, my husband & I chose Cambridge, NY. We love to go to The Cambridge Hotel where we feel the elegance but not the big bucks of a big bill. (Yes, they do have some high-priced entrees, but there are lower priced items and the ambience is the same – and so is the good treatment by the staff) . I also love the Common Ground Cafe, Main Street, Cambridge. When I want to impress myself with a treat, that’s where I head for a great cup of coffee, homemade muffin, cozy fire, loving staff, & comforting music. Thanks for your Blog. A gratefully retired resident of Cambridge, NY. Mary Rita Scott

  9. Mary – Another problem in here is your friend’s lack of graciousness when you were trying to do something so very nice for her. We don’t want to do things to get a thank you nor do I feel that was your motive.

    You wanted to create a memory – a very nice memory. You probably still did, even if only for yourself.

  10. I have to make another comment. about getting older, wouldnt it be wonderful when we are young if we only knew that our worst moments will probably one day be our best funny story!

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