What have I learned in my first year with SparkPeople? It might be easier to answer, "What haven't I learned?"
At age 51, I can finally say I've learned to take care of myself in a loving way. I've learned to believe in myself and trust that I am capable of making excellent choices for my body, for my soul, and for my family. A day, a minute, a choice at a time, I have finally become the me I should have been my entire adult life, and I don't just mean physically. Yes, I have lost 50 pounds. Yes, I've gone from a tight-fitting size 16 to a loose-fitting 6. Yes, I can run most of a 5K, even at 9,300 feet elevation. And yes, I'm incredibly proud that my arms and legs are toned. (My sister told me that my legs look as they did when I was a teenaged gymnast.
Those changes are all SO good, and they're integral to the most important changes I've undergone: Internal, personal, emotional, social growth, perhaps loooong overdue. I'm HERE. Extremely present, energetic. Vivacious? Mmm, hmm. Ready to take on the challenges of a family and a teaching career. Ready to participate fully and lead the way with more confidence than I'd had as a leader in the past. (I used to question the sanity of administrators who asked me to lead teams or efforts. Now, I think, "Yup. I'm your woman. I can and will (IF I want to*) do what is asked of me.' In fact, I'm back to LOOKING for more ways to contribute to my family and my school, an outlook not possible when I was chronically exhausted by my poor nutritional hygiene and sedentary approach to life.
SparkPeople has changed me from the outside in and from the inside out. I will be forever grateful to the people who created and run this site. I will (I DO) sing its praises every chance I get. You know, that might be one of the most important lessons I've learned: Gratitude. It's a choice. It's a feeling. I was grateful to find Spark on July 10, 2011, grateful that it was free, so I could afford it. But, it wasn't until about two weeks in that a pervasive sense of appreciation started joining me on my morning walks and, like an IV drip, nourished me throughout the day. It hasn't left me. That's fifty weeks of lush, seratonin-producing, CONTAGIOUS gratitude I've sort of been drunk on. God, I'm glad to be alive (new feeling), glad to be part of my little family, glad to have the opportunity to teach and to garden and to run, ride, swim, camp, sail.
Life is flat-out good when you take care of the vessel in which you're living it. Thank you, thank you SparkPeople.
I have to repeat that: Life is flat-out good when you take care of the vessel in which you're living it. Thank you, thank you SparkPeople.
I opened with the notion that it would be easier to share what I haven't learned, but that's not accurate. It is what I've learned by unlearning: slovenliness, defeat, depression, chronic fatigue, a static lifestyle. Me before . . . Now: tidy, methodical, winning, happy, energetic, on-the-go. In short, ALIVE.
Happy Sparking, and congratulations to us all!!!