I have crossed through some sort of personal barrier since December, one that I’ve attempted to do battle with for quite some time but just never could break through to the other side. The passage was nothing dramatic, no fireworks or grand revelations; just a quiet shift in a new direction for which I have been aching to go for years.
It’s not easy to articulate what the impact of this paradigm shift means to me, but I feel compelled to sort through it so that I can absorb all of its lessons. I have written several times over the past years about feeling frozen, unable to move forward with positive changes for my health, including struggles with weight and dealing with what can often blossom into crippling anxiety.
That frozen feeling, that stasis, has been one of the most frustrating things of my life. I have always worked very hard and I’ve been fortunate to have been successful in my career; perhaps I have always put my career, in fact, most things, ahead of taking care of myself. Finally, on December 2nd, something in my brain finally clicked to alter that.
I began with a change of lifestyle, doing intermittent fasting and increasing my exercise, and my body began the joyous process of real change. As the excess weight has dropped, I have noticed other changes; I am making more time for me and working hard to not feel any guilt about it. I don’t mean I’m taking off on solo vacations or anything like that. I’m making time for the quiet time I need to recharge, time to exercise, time at home with Dan; all of the things that I need to recharge and be truly happy. You truly can’t pour from an empty cup.
My career is taking me in exciting new directions. Sometimes it is overwhelming and I feel the old terror of the ‘what ifs?’; what if I’m not good enough, what if I fail? However, more often than not now, I feel a surge of confidence that I can do this. I’m not perfect and don’t have to be. My heart is in it, I will give my best, and I will surround myself with great people. No matter what happens, I can honestly say that I did my best. As I often tell my students, doing your best is all anyone can ever ask of you.
I know that nothing magical suddenly happened on December 2nd when I began intermittent fasting; there has been a slow evolution happening as I have aged, experienced joy and sorrow, as I’ve discovered what I truly need to be happy. I’ve learned to (mostly) let go of the compulsion to be perfect, and instead, embrace the idea that if I take care of myself, so many other things in my life fall in place. I still stress myself out, I still have moments of doubt and fear, but I know those times will pass- they are not my normal anymore; the real me is a strong woman in all her flawed glory, just trying each day to do better. It’s not about the weight loss (though that is a much-welcomed side-effect for this middle-aged woman)- it’s about finally realizing that I am worth caring for as much as I care for others. One day at a time, forward.