On Dos and Don’ts

I love hot lemon water. I usually drink 3-5 glasses a day with 2-3 lemon wedges per glass. It’s usually hot, but not boiling, because that kills the good enzymes and vitamins.

My mom’s told me all my life to drink it as soon as I wake up, but I only managed the occasional cup. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when drinking hot lemon water kept coming up as a miracle morning habit on a health blog I’ve been subscribed to for years, did it become part of my morning and, eventually, all day routine.

I went to the dentist a few weeks ago and they told me how bad lemon water is, even diluted, for your teeth and enamel. I grind my teeth and have worn away a lot of the good stuff so, I’m even more at risk. If I don’t want yellower and decaying teeth in the long run, I should stop drinking the stuff (and soda water, which I’ve also grown to love). The news broke my heart for a few hours.

When I go down the list of things that are bad for me, I’m like – SHIT, JUST LET ME LIVE. Add in all the good things that I’m supposed to remember to do and life starts to look like an endless list of dos and don’ts.

But our lives already are a list of dos and don’ts. Ones that we’ve absorbed since we were born. Family, caretakers, teachers, managers, friends, partners, society, the media, etc. have all impacted our perspective of what is good and what is bad. What we should and shouldn’t do. What is important and what is not.

Over time, those dos and don’ts become part of the silent fuel that we use to power our beliefs as well as our judgments of others and ourselves. Even as we grow up and learn/believe new ideas that may contradict the old, they don’t just simply go away. It can still take time and effort to identify the old ones, make sense of them, and unroot them from the impressionable soil they were planted in.

Hot lemon water is an easy one to decide whether it stays or goes (and it may actually be bad for my teeth), but others are far more complex that I’m still working on extracting (e.g. Mistakes are acceptable and you’re not less smart/valuable/worthy for having committed them). Some are still to be identified, which is a little terrifying.

All that to say, whether it’s hot lemon water you’re trying to make the call on or whether your “silly” dreams are worth chasing, your life is yours to design however the hell you want – all experts be damned.