BUMPS IN THE ROAD: One Month on My Journey
SUNDAY, MAY 6th
IT BEGINS HERE
Today is the day. Oh, you’ve heard that before? I’m not surprised; I’ve said it before! I’ll bet most of you have said the same thing a time or two. THIS is THE day it all begins. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to change my career. I’m going to get in shape. I’m going to take the trip of my dreams. I’m going to meet the person who is meant to share my life. I’m going to… I’m going to… I’m going to, and it starts TODAY. Yep, I’ve said it. I’ve even followed through a time or two—for a time anyway. How often do any of us say, “Today is the day I am going to look in the mirror and say, I love you?” How often have any of us done that? And, how in the world do we expect to change and accomplish all the many things we dream about when we can’t look at ourselves and say those three words—I LOVE YOU? It’s one of the most challenging and uncomfortable things to do, and it is the first step in altering your life for the better.
Let’s be clear; telling YOU that you LOVE yourself doesn’t mean you don’t see your flaws and opportunities. On the contrary, accepting your struggles, your shortcomings, owning the mistakes and missteps in your life is part of learning to love yourself. Without acknowledgment, without acceptance of where you are on your journey and where you have been, you can’t honestly set the intention for where it is you hope to go. TODAY is THE day; those words are that intention. It’s important to remember that every step that you have traveled before TODAY informs the journey ahead. You decide how the past informs the present. Embracing that is often the line that separates success from frustration.
Today is the day. At least, today is one of those “intentional” days for me. It’s the day that I declare a new beginning. Today is the day that I commit to shifting my focus, to living my life in a way that paves a path forward that honors the way I want to feel, to love—to live my life. I recognize the triggers that often lead me off course. I acknowledge that I am my worst enabler. An unkind word from someone, a disappointment, a reminder of the past, a momentary fumble toward a goal, and the trigger gets pulled. WHY BOTHER? That moment hurt. That moment drained my energy. And so, why bother at all? Why bother today? And, if I’m going to skid off the tracks today, I might as well keep wobbling tomorrow. Too often, I have fallen prey to that inclination. A moment is just that—a moment. Big deep breath, and let it go. There is another moment to come. There’s not a thing any of us can do to change the second that just passed. We can’t change how we felt. We can’t alter how we reacted. It is over and done. Let it go—new second, new opportunity, new mindset.
As I set a new intention for my future, I am striving to find ways to remind myself that MINDSET is EVERYTHING. Things happen. Painful events occur. Life entails loss. Life throws us curve balls. And, in those moments we remember that we are HUMAN. We feel anger, fear, and the deep ache of loss—all types of loss. What I forget, what I believe we all forget along the way is that it isn’t the momentary sensations of joy, grief, fear, or even longing that send us careening off course. It’s the GUILT that fear, longing, and grief conjure. It’s our propensity to believe that somehow, we can make HAPPINESS a permanent state of being. We lose sight of the reality that happiness, sadness, anger, irritation, fear, and hopefulness are emotions we experience in a moment. Some of those moments last LONGER than others. We do not exist in one, static feeling. We are multi-faceted, multi-feeling beings. The state that we can exist in permanently is gratefulness. It is gratefulness that propels us steadily forward through both trials and triumphs. There are ALWAYS bumps in the road. Gratefulness is the navigation system that allows us to course correct and continue in the direction we both need and desire to travel.
We live in a world where we are immersed in each other’s journeys. And, most times what people allow us to see is their shining accomplishments. Faces are airbrushed, bodies are slimmed and toned with software before a selfie is even posted. Friends and strangers tout their incredible successes. “Before and after!” “Look at me! These were my jeans. NOW, LOOK!” “I did it! LOOK at my beautiful new car, my gorgeous new home. LOOK! I got cast in this movie! I just landed my DREAM job!” Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. We SHOULD celebrate our successes. Somewhere along the way, our society decided that the bumps in the road are failures. And, we should NEVER share our failures. I believe that is a flawed concept. There is NO failure as long as you press forward. The ONLY failure is the decision to quit or not to try at all. Slips and trips, falls and bruises shape not only our perceptions, they develop resilience. We’re STILL here. And, guess what? One day if we KEEP GOING we will be able to say, “LOOK AT ME!”
In the next month, I am going to endeavor to steadily drop the last 40 pounds I have wanted to lose for more than 3 years. I don’t expect to LOSE 40 pounds. I DO expect to weight significantly less than the 174 pounds that I do currently. That means obeying a 1200 calorie-a-day diet and exercising daily. In the next month, I am going to commit to strengthening my body. I’m embarking on a plank challenge I have started 3 times and failed to complete. In the next month, I am going to focus my energy and attention on the people in my life who consistently SHOW UP rather than the people who, for some reason, I keep hoping WILL show up and seldom do. In the next month, I am going to take time each day for me—solely for me. One hour each day to read, listen to music, hike, work in my yard, paint, draw, or write purely for pleasure—an hour for something that reinvigorates my soul. And, for the next month, I am going to look in the mirror every morning and every evening and say ONE thing that I LOVE about me. I know all the things I DON’T like. Time to change that MINDSET. FINALLY, for the next month, I am going to allow you to travel with me. And, I will let you see glimpses of the breakthroughs I have. I will also let you experience the BUMPS in MY road, the struggles I have to breathe and let go, to remain grateful, the ups and downs on the scale, the frustration and the elation.
Four years ago, when I built my first professional website, I adopted the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination. You create it.” I still believe that. We create our world with every breath we take, and every word we speak. That includes the words we speak to and about others, and what we say about ourselves. Life isn’t an airbrushed, slimmed down picture. It has blemishes and curves. The adventure is full of bumps and potholes along the way. What matters is that we KEEP GOING. So, join me if you dare. I promise nothing beyond honesty.
You can follow Nancy and her journey on FACEBOOK.