Monday, January 5, 2015

The time is now....

Good Morning friends!  Many years ago there was a commercial on television for Dunkin Donuts that depicted a man in the wee hours of the morning stumbling through his house trying to get himself ready to get to work to begin the day. He was a baker and kept saying, “Time to make the donuts” as he struggled to get out of the house.  That saying has stuck with me and I often use it when I need to “get down to business” and get moving, even though the word “donut” is taboo in my house these days.

Today is my first day back to work after a wonderful holiday vacation and it’s time to get back into the routine of life, even though I readily admit that I’d rather be somewhere else this morning. It’s a little after 3:00 a.m. and although I’m very tired this morning, I know that it’s ‘time to make the donuts” and get back down to the business of life……regardless of whether I want to or not. My time away was awesome and I returned home with a joy that I never knew existed before and did/experienced many things that I never dreamed possible. I will likely share more about this in the coming weeks, but for now, I simply offer a prayer of gratitude to God for a wonderful week and a future full of hope and love….and a renewed commitment to ‘do what I need to do in order to have the life I want to have.” 

We picked up many new members to this group over the holidays, very likely because this is the time of year when many people make a commitment to change their life.  Welcome!  I hope you find this group to be a place of support/encouragement. It is a privilege to share my journey with you, and likewise, to be a part of yours

Some of you are starting again or recommitting to a life changing plan. Some of you can’t even comprehend how different your life could be because you don’t know what it is like to physically free from the burden of weight or addiction, or emotionally free from the bondage of fear, sadness, or despair. I know both….and I can tell you….that it is an incredible experience….and, although it is very hard and you will want to give up many times, the journey/effort/pain is worth it because life on the “other side” of obesity is awesome!  Getting there, however, won’t be easy; in fact, it’s likely one of the hardest things you’re going to do and will require you to make some really tough choices on a daily basis. I can’t do it for you, but I can pledge to journey with you and remind you that it is well worth the effort by sharing with you what my life is like “on the other side” and assuring you that, like you, I have many days when I struggle, get tired, want to quit, have to make some really hard choices and do some things that I don’t want to do.

Today is one of those days. After 10 days of pure joy, I have returned home and have so many things to do. It is currently 0 degrees with a wind chill factor of 12 below zero and about 6-8 inches of snow on the ground. I’m heading back to work and know that these next few weeks will be very busy at work as students scramble to get registered before the semester begins next Monday. I am enrolled in two college classes myself so will pick up those additional responsibilities and will have about 15-20 hours of study time required each week. In addition, I have some personal life issues to work out and a lot of other things swirling around in my head. It all seems overwhelming and the temptation to just say “forget it all” and sit in my pajamas in the lazy boy and do nothing will creep in….likely quite often.  It’s easier that way sometimes, isn’t it?  When something seems impossible, will require sacrifice and effort, and will sometimes be more difficult that we imagine, it’s tempting to just “do nothing” and give up.  That’s exactly what I did for nearly 8 years when I was faced with some tough challenges. It was easier to try to forget about (or bury it) grief when my heart filled with the sadness of losing loved ones. It was easier to pretend that everything was okay when my sense of purpose and usefulness was tainted by job loss. It was easier to just exist and wallow in hopelessness when my life was falling apart than it was to do anything to change it. It was just easier to accept the current state of my life as my destiny than it was to even dream about the possibility that things could be different. WHY?  Because it all seemed too overwhelming. It seemed impossible that I would EVER walk again or lose weight, let alone without surgery or some sort of miracle drug.  It seemed like too much work and I didn’t believe that it was even possible.  Also…. I didn’t have ANY IDEA of what life could/would be like…if I just made a few little changes at a time.  I never imagined…not even in my wildest dreams….what it would feel like to walk into a store…any store…and be able to buy something off the rack. I never imagined what it would feel like to be able to walk without pain again….period. I had forgotten the joy of being able to garage sale, swim, plant flowers, or play with my nieces and nephews……to be physically able to do things that I used to.  I had forgotten what it felt like to be free….from worry about the future; to be happy….really happy; to be a part of things again instead of an outsider. I had given up HOPE because I had forgotten what it was like to be happy….and because I had NO IDEA what it was like to be an average size person. Without that vision…..or dream… was easier to do NOTHING. 

When I started my journey on March 1, 2011, I had no concept of how my life would change. All I knew is that I didn’t want to live that way anymore. I never even imagined how different life could/would be. I never imagined the experiences that would come or the joy that would become a way of life. I never dreamed that I would ride a bike, or climb a dune, or wear high heels or walk without a mobility device. Certainly I never imagined that I would be privileged to share my story in so many different ways.  I never imagined that I would be strong enough to change my life.  I did, however, see how losing weight changed others.  My sister had lost a lot of weight the year before and she had so much energy. She bought a blow up kayak and I watched (from my wheeled walker) as she laughed and joyfully launched her kayak into the lake and paddled away. I envied her for her commitment…..was jealous for her joy…..and wallowed in my own reality….but did nothing. WHY?  Because it seemed too overwhelming. It seemed impossible. It seemed like too much work…..and it was easier to do nothing. As a result….well, you know…. I ended up over 400 pounds, unable to walk, and at the lowest point of my life.

My friends…if you are at a point in your life where you feel hopeless and you can’t imagine your life being any different, I tell you that YES….IT…..CAN!    You can experience this same joy….this same freedom….this same gratitude…..simply by making a few small changes at a time.  Nothing, however, will ever change, unless you first believe it is possible, and then start taking action.  I’m not going to tell you that it’s going to be easy, because it’s not. I’m not going to tell you that you won’t want to quit, because you will. I’m not going to tell you that you will never falter or fail, because you likely will. I will tell you, however, that IT WILL BE SO WORTH IT…and YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER be the same!