Sunday, August 10, 2014

A good reason....or just an excuse? DO IT ANYWAY!

Good Sunday morning! I’ve shared this before but I was thinking about this all morning as I was trying to talk myself out of taking a walk by coming up with all sorts of lame excuses.  Many years ago, a very special person in my life, Chuck Bowden, was encouraging me to go on to pursue another college degree, and I was coming up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t want to. One of those excuses was, “But Chuck, at this rate, I’m going to be 50 years old before I graduate.”  He simply smiled and said, “Theresa, you’re going to be 50 anyway; you might as well be 50 with a college degree.”  He was so right and I did go on and graduate, well before I turned 50. Going to college full-time, while working full-time, dealing with RA, barely able to walk, and weighing over 400 pounds was an incredibly difficult venture, but one of the best decisions I ever made…..much like embarking on this journey. I’m so glad that I didn’t let my “excuse” stop me.

I’m not feeling super great this morning; joints are very stiff and sore, and I’m in a lot of pain. It’s just the nature of the Rheumatoid Arthritis beast and a pretty common occurrence that I deal with on a regular basis. Fortunately, it’s not a 24/7 situation like it used be a few years ago when I was carrying around the extra weight, but it does hinder my desire to ride my bike and limits me from doing a lot of the things I enjoy. When I woke up this morning, I knew that it would be too painful to ride the bike today and I was contemplating taking a walk instead to see if I could loosen up the joints. As the darkness faded, however, I began to come up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t want to even go for a walk. Pain was one of those excuses, but I also convinced myself that I was “too tired,” “had too much to do,” “didn’t have time,” “didn’t really feel like it,”   and so forth. I had, what I thought was a pretty good list of excuses drawn up in my head….but yet, I knew that although those reasons had valid merit, they were just really EXCUSES to be lazy and sit in the lazy boy for another hour.  And then….the words of my friend began to echo in my mind: “You’re going to be 50 anyway, Theresa, just do it!”

Obviously I’m not taking about college or being 50, but the principle is still the same.  Even if I don’t go for a walk, I’m still going to be tired; I’m still going to have a lot to do; I’m still going to be stiff and sore….but perhaps a walk would energize me, motivate me to get my stuff done, and ease my pain and stiffness…..and so I laced up my sneakers and went for a walk….even though I didn’t really want to or feel like it.  Once I got moving and in my stride, however, I realized what a beautiful day it is and I had a glorious walk. The flowers are blooming; the birds are singing; the sun is shining; and I actually enjoyed being outside and walking….in spite of all my excuses. I ended up walking a couple of miles and although I’m still stiff and sore, I’m glad I did. 

So many times in our journey we come up with all sorts of reasons why we can’t….or don’t want to….make changes to improve our life.  It’s too hard……It’s too expensive to eat healthy…..I have to cook for my family and they don’t like healthy food…..I don’t have time……I’ve tried before and failed so what’s the use…..I’ll just gain it back anyway…..I just CAN’T live without chocolate, cigarettes, a glass or two (or bottle) of wine…..I’m not strong enough.  The list is endless; I know, I’ve used those and many others for years….and look where it got me: over 400 pounds and unable to walk!  Have you used any of those excuses?  The truth is that life is hard no matter what you weigh; but it’s easier to deal with when you lose a bit of weight….even 10 or 20 pounds; do it anyway.  It does cost more to buy produce and whole foods, but if you prepare more meals at home and eat out less often it will balance itself out and besides….junk food, soda, and candy is expensive too….so you might as well invest in yourself and your health….do it anyway.   It’s always going to be “someone’s birthday,” “a special occasion,” or a ‘holiday weekend”; you might as well be healthier/thinner/sober/happier when those special days come.  If you wait until the perfect day to begin our journey, you will never begin.

There are so many reasons (some very good ones) why we don’t….we can’t…..we aren’t… but reasons aren’t necessarily very good excuses.  I encourage you today….think about your excuses and ask yourself if they are really valid…..or merely excuses…..and if they are just an excuse…..get up….get moving….put the donut down…..and just do it! I’m thinking you might be glad you did!   Have a great day, my friends!!!