Friday, October 17, 2014

Plan now to stay on track for Halloween

Good Morning everyone!  I went back to work yesterday after being gone for over a week: three days last week to attend the conference in Petoskey and then three days this week fighting off illness. It was good to get back to the office but I may have pushed myself a bit too soon by going back before I was feeling completely up to it. I’m glad that today is Friday, however, and I’ll have a few days over the weekend to continue to mend.

When I entered the college yesterday morning,  I smiled as I was greeted with all sorts of Halloween decorations that have sprung up while I was away. One of our student workers decorated the college library (where my new office is located) with hanging bats and pumpkins. It’s cheerful and festive.  I’ve always enjoyed the festivities and fun associated with Halloween, but as a rather conservative Religious Ed director, I never really embraced the “dark” side of the holiday, and always objected to any ghosts, witches, devils, or ghoul decorations in the school, but enjoyed the pumpkins, scarecrows, and the friendly, happy décor of autumn.  Despite my protests, I never won that battle and even in the Catholic School, I was out-ruled.

 Even though I hated the “witches’ and “devil” costumes, I always enjoyed dressing up for Halloween and won several costume contests in my younger years, mostly because it allowed my “little child” to come out to play, and for a brief time, I could be ‘someone” or “something” else. It was easy to hide behind a costume and just simply allow my “somewhat silly and quirky” personality to come out.  This, of course, was several years ago, and for a period of about 8 – 10 years (that dark period of life when loss, weight gain, and pain ruled) I didn’t participate in the festivities at all. It was a true sign that “New Theresa” was beginning to find the joy that she once knew when I donned a costume for the first time two years ago, and then again last year. It is good to be able to have fun again.

 There was a lot of talk on campus yesterday about Halloween and how the students and staff will enjoy the day. I won’t be able to dress up this year for work because the college will have a costume contest and students and staff a day early this year because we won’t have many students on campus on Halloween Day because we have only a few classes on campus on Fridays.   Unfortunately, I have a big meeting that day with Michigan Works employees and it wouldn’t really be too professional to show up to that meeting in a costume. I will, however, dress up on Halloween night because I am going to take my friend Marcia and her three children trick-or-treating this year. She told me recently that due to her financial situation, her elementary-aged children usually can’t partake in the festivities. I was saddened to hear that they typically can’t go Trick-or-Treating like other kids in their school, so this year, I will take them….and have a perfect excuse to be a kid again for an evening.  Last night I spent some time digging around the garage in the many costume boxes I have trying to find costume ideas for myself and the kids. Such fun…and reminded me of the 15+ years I dressed up entire classrooms of 5th graders as saints for the All Saint’s Day parade we had each year during mass on November 1st.  So many wonderful memories….

So....Halloween is two weeks away…..and I’m getting ready for it now.  I am no longer usually tempted by Halloween candy and treats, but always have a plan, just in case, to ward off any moment of weakness. Yesterday, I shared that I always buy candy to give away that I don’t like….as a preventative measure. “Old Theresa” could eat an entire bag of peanut butter cups all by herself. “New Theresa” is wise enough NOT to bring that stuff in the house anymore. There is NO REASON to push the envelope. Instead, I’ll buy candy with nuts….something that I would never be tempted by.  Being successful means “you have to do what you have to do” to stay on track. 

How are you going to handle it?  NOW….is the time to plan ahead… set yourself up to succeed; not fail.  I won’t allow myself to eat even ONE piece of candy….but that is just MY OWN strategy and I readily admit that I don’t trust myself to eat just ONE piece. You know your own strength….your own level of self-control. Perhaps you can eat just one or two fun-size bars. Perhaps you can enjoy a ‘cheat day” for one day only and get right back on track the next day. Your plan is YOUR PLAN….and what works for you….is up to you.  But, I’m curious….How will you get through Halloween without totally sabotaging your journey?  Please share your tips with us…..

I have a week or so to decide on my costume…and to help Marcia put things together for her children. Whatever I choose, I’m sure it will be fun. I’ll make it fun, regardless of what happens.  Opportunities to have FUN and LAUGH:  Another great motivation for me to continue on this journey.  Three years ago I was thinking only about getting through the day…..NOW….I’m thinking about costumes, trick-or-treating, and fun!  Oh, how different life is for me….and how different life can be for you too….when and if you decide that you want it to be! 

The leaves are falling by the hundreds now…..blowing in the wind all over the yard. Try to enjoy these remaining days of autumn glory….the dreaded “snow” is only a few weeks away!  Happy weekend!