Last night I went out for coffee with my friend. I suppose it had been a little more than a month since the last time we were together, so it was good to sit, relax, sip our beverages of choice, and just catch up.
At one point, my friend was relating one of her stories (she is a most excellent story-teller) about an interaction that she had with another woman during a study on friendships. They had been asked to share about one of their friends, and my friend shared about me. What she was relaying to me last night was a mere recap, so I don’t know what words she actually said about me…although it would be interesting to know. The basic gist of it was that she was proud of me for making changes in my life and being healthy inside and out.
For once I didn’t mind the tears that came to my eyes, because my contacts were feeling in need of some moisture! But seriously, those words were like a warm hug!
Four years ago, I was at the beginning of this journey: depressed, overweight, inactive, bitter, isolated, wounded and hurting. I had finally reached the point where I could accept that I was not in a good place and was ready to make some changes. Those changes didn’t happen overnight, and there were plenty of ups and downs along the way. I have not yet arrived at the magical destination, but, to quote a cigarette ad, “I’ve come a long way, baby!”
There are different types of change. I whole-heartedly embrace change when it comes to re-arranging the living room furniture, my Facebook profile photo, and the order of songs on my playlists. I feel constrained by our current living room furniture, because I cannot re-arrange it. I have been stuck with the same living room layout for the past few years, and I am internally chafing against that restriction. But other changes are not so much fun.
It’s not so easy to make changes to a lifetime of unhealthy habits. I know refined, processed foods are not the best for me, but I still like the way a lot of them taste. Even after several months of making better choices, I still feel the pull of an ice-cold Diet Coke, Kraft Singles grilled cheese on white bread, scalloped potatoes from a box, potato chips, and a Quarter Pounder with Cheese! The pull is not as powerful as it used to be, and I am determined enough to make better choices more often than not.
When life is busy, being active often feels like just another chore, and finding time to fit it into a busy day is a challenge that is easily lost. Four years ago I considered myself a fair weather type of outdoors person, which was rather silly when I think about it now because I was seldom physically active outside in any weather! When I started running, I discovered that I actually enjoyed running in all kinds of weather. I soon found myself embracing winter instead of hating it. But those weren’t instantly easy changes to make either! It is hard to remain committed to a run when the temperature is -15 Celsius. Motivation for an early morning run wavers when the alarm goes off and your body isn’t finished sleeping yet. After being run off your feet at work all day, the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is go for a run.
I could never have imagined that I would have a personal trainer, that I would enjoy lifting weights, that I would enter a power-lifting competition, that I would register to run a marathon! Four years ago, if someone had told me that this is where I would be today, I would have laughed myself silly. I was ready to make changes, but I simply didn’t have the vision to foresee that much change. How could I have!
I didn’t get this far on my own. I have amazing people in my life. In big ways and small, those people have helped me get from there to here, and I have no doubt that those same people will help me get from here to the next place.