Making a lifestyle change is hard and there can be so many barriers and challenges with remaining consistent. Last summer I was challenged to change my mindset and lose the weight I had been procrastinating on addressing. Everyone has different levels of comfort with their body image and their weight but I knew that it was time for things to change. While you can be happy, self accepting, have high self esteem and be overweight, I knew that it wasn’t working for me. I was tired of taking long airplane rides to other countries and being unable to comfortably fit into the seat while being ashamed to ask for a seat belt extender. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I was over my clothes not fitting right and only being able to wear certain select items in my closet because I had “outgrown” the majority of what I had available but didn’t want to spend more money to buy more clothes. I believe in radical self acceptance but I also believe in changing your lifestyle and being healthy if that’s a goal you have for yourself. It was a long, long road that still continues but I’ve made progress. I started with a personal trainer (aka my boyfriend), made the decision to no longer be vegetarian, I got off medication (after consulting with a doctor), started weight training, and changed my diet drastically. It wasn’t an overnight change and it didn’t happen as soon as I would have liked but I lost 45lbs and I’m still working towards my goal. Last week was the first time I could pick things from my closet to wear that I haven’t been able to fit in over 5 years. It was an amazing feeling and having a supportive partner has been great. I still have some progress to make but it’s nice to finally comfortably sit in an airplane seat without being black and blue from the armrest digging into my thigh. I’m determined to remain consistent and to continue to make progress. After all, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Today is the extra day in the year that only happens once every four years. I remember being amazed as a kid that there were people who didn’t have birthdays every year because they were born on a leap year. I think back to the last February 29th in 2016 and I was totally in a different space. I had just started a cubicle job and was wondering how long I would be able to make it because I knew after only three weeks on the job that it wasn’t a good fit for me. But I was excited to finally have a stable job and the opportunity to see what corporate life was like. I was reminded today of how disconnected I’ve become from some of the aspects of my life that previously held such great importance. Since then I’ve finished school, held several jobs, relocated multiple times, and got into a relationship. It’s been quite an eventful four years and I’m hopeful to what the next Leap Year will bring.
As I’ve mentioned before, May is one of those months that makes me really nostalgic. I’ve had the opportunity to take some great trips this month and see some familiar (and new) places. I was reminded today of the fact that I graduated from college exactly 8 years ago today. I remember being ready for the next part of my life but also being terrified of what the future would hold. School was familiar to me and it had become comfortable. I had spent so much time in the library and I knew a good portion of my fellow students so it felt like a home away from home. For most of my senior year I put the finishing touches on my plan to relocate across the country to Colorado and graduating from college meant that the move was about to happen. I had taken the time to collect some medals that I had received throughout my college experience so I had the opportunity to wear them all at graduation and hear the medals clank together as I walked. It was an extremely satisfying feeling. It was great to experience the festivities of the weekend and to reflect back on the years I spent on campus. I remember feeling so happy to finally be done with that chapter of my life. I knew that my goal was to be a therapist and that I also wanted to complete a doctorate. Eight years later I have done both. Here’s to eight more years of progress (or something like that).
I have to say that this previous week has been pretty stressful as it’s been a huge change in the daily routine that I have gotten used to. I’m normally someone who can adapt quickly but the absence of afternoon naps was really difficult. I found it hard to catch up on sleep and as a result I did not feel rested. I encountered some difficult news and also had an realization that was difficult to process. Disappointment is a part of life and sometimes it just can’t be anticipated. Things change unexpectedly without warning and we have to roll with the punches. I’m finding that experiencing multiple disappointments does not make each one any easier to handle. There is always the process of finding a way to make peace with the new normal or the new circumstance. You have results or an ending that you did not anticipate and you have to create a different plan because things have changed. It’s rough because in some ways you have to mourn the ending that you wanted but never received while recognizing the need to change priorities and focus. I think that there’s also a certain level of annoyance and frustration that accompanies disappointment because of the sheer inconvenience of having to make an unplanned adjustment. However, it’s one of those things that are unavoidable. How we respond to these disappointments says a lot about our resiliency and ability to adapt. But it’s a tough place to be in.
This week has been one of stress, deadlines, and people in crisis. It started with a very stressful meeting on Monday morning and spiraled from there. As I get up to go to work each day, I think about the thousands and probably millions of people who are institutionalized in some form. The people who we never think about because we are too busy living our lives. Those who spend days, months or years in one room because of physical or mental limitations. Or even the little kids who spend a significant part of the day inside a building sitting when they would rather be playing outside. The world isn’t fair and it will never be. The sad thing is that sometimes we institutionalize or confine ourselves without even knowing it. We feel bad about those around us and feel powerless to help them while we continue to limit ourselves on a daily and maybe even hourly basis. One of my goals in this new year is to identify and disrupt negative cycles that impact me personally. In addition to helping others, I want to help myself. To not become so immersed in the struggles of others that I leave my own life unattended. We’ll see how that goes.
I love this quote because it reminds us that we are the company that we keep. That means that sometimes it’s necessary to be really picky about who we let have unrestricted access to us. We live with the consequences of the choices we made in friends and sometimes that means making the hard decision to end a friendship because it’s no longer beneficial.
I’ve never thought of myself as being a great writer. Maybe because I’m an avid reader and I’m never as interested in something that I’ve written as I am in someone else’s work. However, one thing that I enjoy doing is proofreading and editing for other people. I’ve done personal statements, resumes, research papers, term papers, and letters of reference. I love the process of turning sloppy sentences and long paragraphs into concise and easy to understand concepts and ideas. I feel like your writing should flow instead of being choppy and difficult. One thing I really appreciate about good writers is that they can hold my attention and I’m less likely to be distracted because the sentence structure adds instead of takes away from the story. That being said, while I enjoy proofreading and editing, I can’t do it for my own work. There have been probably hundreds of grades I’ve gotten on papers that could have been higher if I had taken the time to review what I had written before turning it in. Usually this occurs because I’m tired of the topic and just want to get the paper over with and I no longer care about what grade I get because the paper is finished so I know I’ll probably get a 70 doing the bare minimum (bad logic I know). Also, I get way too attached to my work and I can’t be unbiased. It’s very hard for me to take a step back and critically read my own writing for mistakes and spelling errors. I’ve been tasked with writing a personal statement. This is not a hard feat but it feels impossible because writing about myself and my strengths isn’t on my list of fun things to do. I know I’ll have to ask someone to proofread it after I’ve written it because I’ll be biased and cut myself a lot of slack if I do it myself.