Confronting the void
Monday, July 20, 2015
Today I've been emotional - a new experience on this adventure. I mean, having days when I'm touchy or weepy are a normal (if relatively rare) occurrence, but it's not happened yet in the couple months that I've been succeeding with these new habits. Probably because I'm feeling really GREAT most of the time!
But you cannot feel great ALL of the time. That's just life.
And it's brought up an important revelation: There's a gap in my planning. I know who the OLD me was and how she dealt with emotional days. I'm not really sure of my footing yet with the current me.
That's the mental piece--and it's a really essential piece--of figuring out how to make sure this is a permanent lifestyle change. I'm putting down a ton of great roots. New behaviors that are quickly becoming habits. But there are gaps, voids that I'm still figuring out.
1. Who am I when I'm feeling sad, lonely, emotional? What do I do on these days? (Again, I know who I WAS before on such days... and that's not who I want to be anymore.)
2. Who am I when I hang out with my friend who smokes? Who am I when I feel like going out to a bar for a couple drinks? (I never gave these situations much thought before, but I do need to think about how to cope with them... because, while very rare, they ARE and WILL CONTINUE TO BE part of my life in the future.)
3. Who am I when I celebrate a birthday or eat out?
I think part of what I'm exploring is the definition of "moderation" for this lifestyle change. Up until this point, I've had almost total control over the situations I've found myself in. Yes, I managed a mini-vacation with decent grace (and kept on sparking once I got home). I've done family cookouts and dinners with the in-laws where the food on offer was partly healthy, partly not. But there are birthdays coming up, including mine. Who do I "splurge" with when I celebrate? Who not? (I could potentially have up to 5 separate friends / family groups, all ready and willing to celebrate with me... with food, of course.)
Again, my sense is that each of these situations needs to be confronted thoughtfully, and treated as something more/different than just "stick to the regular program at all costs." I am finding the moderation aspect most trying, in part because I haven't yet formed a solid "new" identity. I don't know yet what the reasonable, moderate, but essentially healthy "new" me needs to do in these situations. I can't fall back on old habits. I don't yet have new habits. And that makes the situations harder and more stressful than normal.
I do know that I'll puzzle it out. I do know that even being aware that I'm consciously setting new behavior patterns up is a step ahead of any of my past attempts at lasting change.