42 versus 24
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
So in the process of cleaning out some stuff this past weekend, I ran across some old journals. Randomly peeking through them, I stumbled onto the pages that marked one of my "mythical" years. You know, one of those years that's a definite turning point -- such a profound turning point that you even recognize it at the time. 24 was that year for me. (30 was another one, but for entirely different reasons.)
At 24, I'd ended a long-term relationship and was dealing with months of depression and heartbreak... at the same time I was starting the incredible stress of graduate school. It was also the beginning of my first love affair with exercise. I'd NEVER been an athletic kid or teen. I was tall and skinny and clumsy (and introverted and artsy) and just didn't think fitness was for me. But somehow I had decided to lose 10 pounds and joined a gym, so that my ex-boyfriend (who constantly criticized my appearance) would see how "hot" I had gotten after our breakup. (Ah, youth!)
Seriously though, at the time, my self esteem was shredded and I'd given up all my power to this guy. In one entry--I kid you not--I talk about how Joe had been nitpicking the deposits of fat on my inner thighs. I was utterly skinny back then... but in my journal, I agreed with him. (In hindsight, I want to hunt him down to deliver the slap that he so soundly deserves!)
Reading the journal was fun and sad. Entry after mopey entry, at first. And then, I started feeling better about myself. (I was going to the gym before classes each day.) I started piecing my self-esteem back together. I started having more energy. I remembered that I was fun, and cool, and actually liked spending time alone. I got over the breakup.
And, about 5 months later, I met my husband. (Those entries were especially fun to read... falling in love!)
Anyway... it was a powerful time for me, because up until that point, I'd not totally claimed personal control over my own life. Nor total responsibility for my happiness (and unhappiness). I did the right things "on paper." I finished college, worked a decent job, got accepted to grad school, dated a successful guy... had amazing girlfriends. But in total, harsh honesty... I'd coasted by without too much introspection, just "checking off the boxes" of stuff it seemed like everyone else was doing. Trying to get it right, but letting boyfriends, friends, parents.... others sort of guide me and my decisions.
24 was when that started to change, and I took life on, and started making decisions that were right for ME. I didn't get it all figured out at that age, obviously... but it was at least the clear beginning of what has continued to be something I struggle with. Just being true to myself. To never let anyone push me around again. To not let LIFE push me around, at least not too much, or for too long.
I am one of those people who believe in signs and portents. Whether they're external or, more likely, just internal ways of creating private meaning of this crazy journey we are all on... a journey that is at once intensely unique, personal, private... AND undeniably universal. So I'm going to look at my finding that old diary, and stumbling across that "mythic" period of my young life as a sign that 42 (my birthday is in a few weeks) is going to be another turning point that echoes the previous, powerful theme. I'm in control, and happy, and living a lifestyle that works for ME (as well as for my husband, kids, clients, etc.). I'm once again feeling that "love affair" with fitness (and healthier eating), making changes and choices that are not necessarily easy, but they feel amazing. my self esteem is soaring. My mood is soaring. I want more of this feeling.
Anyway, enough of my personal (boring!) blather.
My "official" weigh in each week is Wednesday, but I'm going to go ahead and celebrate a day early because the scale has consistently read 190 the past several days. Woo hoo! Down another 4 pounds for a total of 21 lost. (That 4 took 3 weeks to come off!!) Feels great!!