Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Enjoy the Journey..Focus less on the destination!

The weather was a bit weird yesterday. I went out to the garage at about 4:15 am to get something out of my car and I noticed that it was very warm. Great, I thought. I’m going to try to get in a short bike ride before work. While outside, I decided to turn the sprinkler on to water my new gardens but it was still too dark to see the faucet so I went in the house to turn an outside flood light on. I was literally only in the house for about 2 minutes when BOOM, a huge bolt of lightning struck and it began to pour. I didn’t even know rain was in the forecast, but I was thrilled. We really need the rain and I certainly would enjoy the 1 ½ break this morning that would have been spent watering. The bike ride…..well, I’d have to take a “raincheck!” (groan….. :-)


The rain continued for quite some time and when I left for work, it was still raining very hard. As I drove, I noticed the sky looked a bit odd. In the east, near the horizon, the sky was a lovely shade of pink. Hmm….it was pouring rain…and yet, the sky looked somewhat like the beginning of a beautiful sunrise. It really was a bit unusual, but as I got closer to work, I noticed that the sky was beginning to get more colorful and brighter the further east I drove. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it “wasn’t raining” there and indeed, it was the sun beginning to rise. It almost appeared that I would cross a “magic line” and go from compete thunderstorms to sunshine. I wondered if the sun was shining at my office.

This unique weather situation made me think about the times when people try to “out-run” a storm. There have been times when traveling when I could tell it was raining ahead or  behind of me on the road and I would say to myself…”when I get up-north…or to my destination…I bet I’ll be out of the storm”. Other times, when traveling home for the holidays, I’ve tried to stay ahead of the snow when wintery weather was imminent.  My thoughts quickly changed to our journey to better health.

How many times have I/we said….”I’ll be so happy when I reach my goal weight” or “when I lose 100 pounds…THEN I do…..this or that”.  What about, “I can’t wait for the kids to grow up and get out of the house” or “When I retire, THEN… I’ll take that trip…or take up that hobby…or enroll in that Spanish or Art class”.   “IF I can just get……or make enough money……or lose this amount of weight…..or…..(you can fill in the blanks)…..THEN….  the rain/storm/struggles will be over and I’ll be Happy….the sun will be shining… I’ll do this or do that or feel this or feel that.   Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

Often in a journey to lose weight, we put all the focus on the end. When I reach my goal…..THEN… I’ll get a new haircut….or buy that new dress….or THEN I’ll be happy with myself…or THEN…my significant other will find me attractive, or I’ll get a better job….or have the nerve to go to a gym…...or whatever.  Too often in life, we put all the focus on the END….and we fail to enjoy the NOW.  We often find that when the kids are all grown, the house is lonely and we long for the chatter and chaos of activity, or we reach retirement and suddenly find ourselves bored and without purpose/meaning, or worse, we don’t have the health to take that trip or learn to dance or do that home improvement project. If we really stop and think about it, the HERE AND NOW….even if it’s raining or we’re struggling or living paycheck to paycheck…even if we are OVERWEIGHT… the best time of our lives!


As I think back over the 2 years it took me to lose the weight, I reflected on all the AWESOME, incredibly joyful moments that happened along the way….like the morning I was sitting in the living room and unconsciously crossed my legs and discovered that for the first time in many many years, I could now cross my legs! I remember the day I walked for the first time without a cane the 50 yards or so to the mailbox or the first time I went up the stairs at work. I remember walking through the turnstile in the subway in New York City and being able to fit,  and the time when a neighbor invited me to sit down…..and I sat in a regular folding lawn chair for the first time without worrying that it would collapse under my weight, or the time I stepped on the scale and was under 400 pounds…then 300…..then GASP…200!   Or riding my bike for the first time…or fitting into a pair of jeans that were half the size I used to wear….or seeing an old friend that didn’t recognize me… or….or…..The list is endless!   Had I had the mentality that…..”Life will be good…. I will be happy….I won’t be content or joyful or healthy or……whatever…until I’m thinner, I would have missed all those wonderful, joyful moments along the way!


I’m sure if you really think about it, you will recognize many of these “small victories” or “moments of incredible grace”….even if you are A LONG way from reaching goal….even if you are struggling with a life crisis…even if your world is chaotic….even if you are grieving or sad or broke or ill.   It just takes a bit more work to find the joy/grace/peace during the storm or rain.  Certainly we all prefer ‘sunny days”….certainly we all hope to reach our goals….see our dreams fulfilled….reach retirement age….build a nest egg…..graduate from school/college….land that dream job, whatever…….but even now….at this point in the journey…THERE ARE….moments of grace and joy.  I pray that you find them and celebrate them! 


And…..don’t wait until you reach your goal to “buy that dress….or get that make-over….or enroll in that dance class….or wear RED….(whatever)….”   Don’t wait until you have an empty nest to take up that hobby or until retirement to take that trip. Don’t wait until you “have time” to write that letter or visit that elderly friend/relative. Tomorrow may never come.  Live today…..enjoy the journey….and DANCE in the RAIN!!!!!!