06.09.14: On Starting, Stopping, Backsliding, Cheating, and Forgiving

Based on that title, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that this piece was about a relationship. And in a way, I am writing about a relationship – my relationship with myself, or My Self.

My daughter just turned four (delightful!); the last four years have been characterized by brain-melting change. Now, though, we have found a rhythm for our days … sort of … at least to the extent we can control our days.

Over the past four years, I’ve started and stopped my Weight Loss Journey, Round Two, many times – much as I’ve started and stopped this blog thingie many times. I’ve used every excuse I’ve helped other people overcome and even scripted a few new doozies. I have to be honest about the last four years and how I’ve managed, or haven’t managed, to get on with things.

The uncertainty and stress of my circumstances have made me feel like a bystander to my own life. Any ground I gained I promptly lost, and then lost some more for good measure. I’ve stood by, feeling foolishly helpless, as nearly every habit from “Old Me” has come home to roost. In many ways, it’s been comforting and easy to return to “Old Me,” because I know her better. I lived with her longer. Today, none of my clothes fit and I barely recognize myself – not in recent pictures, I recognize myself in those because they’re how I always remember myself looking and feeling. It’s the skinny “New Me” pictures from the recent-but-gone-past that I no longer recognize and of which I’m slightly ashamed because I don’t know who that ghost girl is and I suspect she was never really real in the first place.

Wow, I sound mad and despondent, eh? Here’s the thing: I’m not. I’m not depressed, and I don’t hate myself. That’s how I know I’m really ready to fix things and find the new, “New Me.”

I’ve written in other places that when I first got a grip on my lifestyle lo these several years ago, my motivation came from a hopeful and positive place. I wanted to lose a few pounds to audition to be the next Sportscenter anchor. I wasn’t mad, despondent, depressed, et cetera. I was excited. That mindset made all the difference and set me on the right path, in the right way.

As I look back on the last four years, even though I’m disappointed that I haven’t achieved my weight and lifestyle goals, I’m proud of many other accomplishments – our home, my child’s development and health and sense of humor, my work, my relationships with family and with old and new friends. Instead of beating myself up over what I didn’t do, I’m going to smile and be proud of what I did do – and build on that relieved feeling of success as I move ahead. Dwelling on my screw-ups sure isn’t going to motivate me. It hasn’t the past four years, it won’t start now.

Forgiveness is a significant element of lifestyle change and in life. Look at your past transgressions, name and acknowledge them, and move on, not repeating your mistakes. There’s plenty that I would change if I could – for instance, I’d have gotten exponentially less drunk at my high school reunion – but I can’t change anything. Wallow in regret, or learn from experience. Your choice. I’m 40 now, I’m grown, I choose to learn.

I have now confirmed what I had come to suspect: that my grip on “New Me” was rather tenuous. “Old Me” was in charge for 30 years, and she’s not going to evaporate overnight, or even over a few years. Plus, the new, “New Me” isn’t going to be the same “New Me” that I crowned in 2004. My job now is to get back on the horse and head for the horizon, today.

 

Today is square one, my friends. Let’s be patient and persistent.

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