Unfortunately, a good friend of mine fell and broke her hip. She is out of commission for some time. Sadly, this means she will miss her trip to China. But she wants me to buy her tour package at a discount, so “it won’t go to waste.” (She checked with the company and they are fine with this.)
China has never been a ‘must see’ place for me but since this offer came up, I am curious. A country so rich in history, a culture so different from our own, why wouldn’t I want to go?
My friends and family are not being supportive. They think I am considering this trip just to help out my friend.They are quick to point out that I’ve always said I wasn’t interested in visiting China. What’s it to them where I travel? And what if some of it is to help my friend? It seems to me we both benefit from this arrangement.
I resent having to explain myself to anyone. I’m 74 years old. The clock is ticking. I can afford it. Why not travel while I still can? My hip could be next! Fact is, I have an opportunity and I have changed my mind about China. Why is that so hard for people to accept? Any suggestions on what I should say when people stick their noses into my business?
Ready for China
I am sorry for your friend but grateful you have been offered such a wonderful opportunity. Start packing your bags – China is waiting!
As for what to say to misguided friends and family? I suggest you simply print out your own words: “I resent having to explain myself to anyone. I’m 74 years old. The clock is ticking. I can afford it. Why not travel while I still can? My hip could be next! Fact is, I have an opportunity and I have changed my mind about China. Why is that so hard for people to accept?” Then, with a big smile on your face, hand it to anyone who offers an un-asked for opinion!
Okay, you don’t have to go so far as walking around with a printed reply but please realize that if you feel a need to explain yourself, your reasons for going on this tour are rational and understandable. If people don’t get it, that’s their problem!
Your situation is a good reminder to all of us that generally, we have no business judging others. Yet, at different times, under different circumstances, we all can succumb to not only having our opinions regarding others, but sharing them with the person in question.
Judgement is one of those human traits that often seems to stem from fear. In some cases, we pass judgement because people are different from ourselves, which therefore, poses a threat to us. This kind of fear is the product of ignorance and the cure is always at hand: an open mind, awareness, and education.
Sometime judgement manifests as an “I’m right, you’re wrong” kind of opinion. Consider just how grounded this sentiment is in fear. Being “wrong” can be a direct hit to a person’s self esteem, so why wouldn’t they be afraid of a different opinion? This mentality is a waste, on so many levels. If only we could come to understand our differences without judgement … ah, what a better world we would have!
In your case, perhaps your friends and family are reacting out of a sense of protectiveness. They fear you are too old for this trip (ha!) or that you are putting your friend’s needs ahead of your own. While neither of these explanations seem valid, I hope you are able to understand their motivation. Sure you resent being boxed in, but take a moment to understand their motives.
All of this being said, perhaps your best response to such judgement might be something like, “I think you are trying to tell me that you are concerned about me. Thanks for that but truly, I know what I am doing and I am simply grateful I can do it. I hope you can be happy for me.”