I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while. I’ve had a few “when life hands you lemons” moments, and seemed to have lost my recipe for lemonade at the time when I needed it most. Yesterday one of those moments happened, and I was reminded that although we have no control over many of the things that happen to us, how we react to them is 100% within our control. I’m sad to say that I didn’t react to some of those things the way that I wish I would have, but I learned a powerful lesson.
Whatever the goal, be it fitness, happiness, or health – it is a journey, not a destination. If you think that you can achieve any of those without continuing to work at it, you’ve lost the battle.
Those of you who know me in real life know that weight has been a lifelong struggle. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the last 30 years. Each time, I looked at the weight loss as a project, thinking that once I reached my destination I would be free and happy and the problems that got me to an unhealthy weight would miraculously be cured and I wouldn’t have to struggle.
This past March, I reached a crisis point in my life. Some of the stressors were within my control, but many were not. My health was bad. My mood was depressed. My life seemed to be spinning madly out of control. I was not fit, healthy or happy. In desperation, I turned to diet and exercise because those were two things that I could control. By taking control of what I could control, I was able to better deal with the aspects of my life that were beyond my control. I had an outlet for that stress and negativity. This time, instead of dieting, I am focusing on remaking my life. I know that to be happy and healthy, I must fuel my body with healthy foods and get plenty of exercise. This isn’t a “fix,” it is a journey that will never end. If it ends, the trip is back to an unhappy, unhealthy place.
I have spent part of this journey sharing my story with others through Facebook and on this blog. Sharing keeps me accountable, but I hope that it also shows others that depression, obesity, arthritis, auto-immune disease and a host of other problems are not insurmountable. My journey began when someone else shared their journey and I was inspired to make a change.
On the days when I put in the work (eating clean, exercising, practicing thankfulness and being kind), I enjoy happiness. I enjoy the benefits of increased health and stamina. On the days when I slip back into my old habits and cure hurt feelings with potato chips and lash out at the person who I perceive hurt me, I wallow in pain. The emotional pain becomes physical pain as my body becomes inflamed and my joints hurt, which makes me put off exercise, and throws my whole system into a mess.
I cannot claim that happiness is merely a choice for everyone. Some people are suffering so much that telling them to “choose to be happy,” minimizes their pain. I do not want to do that. For me, though, happiness began with a choice, and it depends on me making the right choice every time I am confronted by something that makes me want to crawl back into the hole that I created for myself.
Fitness is a journey (one that I’m enjoying more and more as I progress). Happiness is a journey (one that is becoming easier day by day). Some days the journey seems solitary. Other days I am surrounded by people who inspire my every step. I am not content to just keep doing what I am doing. I want to be fitter, happier and healthier than I am today. I am doing this for myself, but if I can inspire others by sharing what I learn that is a bonus.
I am learning to reach out and reconnect with others. The journey does not have to be solitary (and it’s much more fun when there are companions!
We all need goals, but they are mere milestones on our journey. When we reach one, there must be another to look for or we will lose our way. The journey never ends. Thank you for joining me on this step of the way.