2020-what a year. I don’t think I’m alone when I say this year has been NOTHING like I anticipated. I
thought 2019 had some significant challenges which made me happy to bring a new start with 2020. However, 2020 has proven the challenges of 2019 to be mild comparatively.
My 2020 has had hurdles that include Covid, a tachycardiac event during the Covid shutdown, social distancing, the flu, taking care of my father-in-law during his chemo, my son unable to keep food down for months, the election and more. It’s been difficult to not get overwhelmed. In fact, there have been a few times I’ve lost the battle to stay composed and in control.
As a result, I’ve found myself having a lot of honest conversations with myself. One thing I had to acknowledge is that I’ve overcome a lot of challenges in my time here on Earth and have always done so by focusing on the positive, but I’ve had times this year when my focus has been on the size of the mountain and not the strength of my God. I’ve let my hope fail, I’ve failed to focus on the positive.
I’ve heard a lot of people struggle to find something positive but most still have hope. They hope for a better 2021. My honest, straightforward conversations with myself have me holding myself accountable. I’ve spent time doubting. I’ve spent some time compromising the dietary changes I’d made to avoid any further heart issues. Time compromising my self-care, movement, entertainment and social life. Which can be a slippery slope. And it was.
I’m ready to take back the changes that were very positive and helped me be discharged from cardiology care. I’m tired of looking to the wrong things for comfort. Trying to get people, things or food to bring me happiness-it doesn’t work. I am responsible for my happiness. My health. My attitude. My actions. I can choose to suffer or conquer.
I don’t do victim-stance, I’m nobody’s victim. I refuse and I’ve felt that way for decades. So why have I spent my time this year allowing circumstances and events to overshadow the victories of the year?
Why have I started feeling like more of a victim than a survivor?
I’m making a resolution. I’m not waiting for 2021 or until after the holidays or for Covid to
start/stop/improve/get worse, etc. I’m committing to refocusing my food choices. I’m going to make a commitment to being active regardless of weather, housing circumstances, meetings, etc. I’m committing to spend time in reflection and gratitude for all the positive things that have come from this year. And I’m committing to posting weekly regarding my successes and shortcomings. If anyone wants to join me, I welcome them. If anyone needs help, let me know. But I am committed to making 2020 the year I changed more for the positive than any previous year. It’s going to be my year of new and vibrant growth.
2020 is going to go in the history books for me as the year I decided to take my life back. I’m ending this year with far more optimism than I’ve had during the majority of it. I’m taking the life lesson-it’s time for me to be me, to take care of me and to do it proudly!
I’m good at that. Rushing around, gotta do this, gotta do that, yep I can squeeze that in here or there. I don’t need time to breathe or relax or recoup. But is that really true? No. Sometimes I can keep myself so busy with busyness that I forget I need to slow my roll for a day or so but it always catches up with me. Eventually I find myself feeling like I’m exhausted and unable to focus. I realize I’m not really enjoying myself, everything is now just becoming a chore. Ever feel that way? What I wouldn’t give for a vacation or a night off or a little pampering or a nap? I do. Too often I do. Guess this old dog is getting to learn a new trick. . .
You know what I’m learning? When I slow down, when I try not to go, go, go 7 days a week. When I make a conscientious choice to limit my activities to what I can actually, reasonably do-I enjoy the things I do more. Now some things I can’t stop. I still have to work Monday through Friday. But I don’t have to take care of everyone and everything all the time. If I can’t watch the grandkids today, my son and daughter-in-law will find someone else who can. If I can’t make it to the store today I’ll find something else to make for dinner, I’ll figure it out. They’ll figure it out. I’m not the sun. The world doesn’t revolve around me taking care of it. I’m a better Meema, a better mother, a better wife when I take the time to smell the roses. Remember that Mac Davis song? He was my childhood crush. But he was also onto something there. I think that in this day and age we’ve forgotten that. We’ve forgotten that for millennia people took a day off each week, they spent a day resting and recovering from their busy week.
They didn’t travel at 65-90 mph or more, they took time to travel and enjoy the scenery, visit with friends and family and they worked together to resolve any problems that occurred along the way. Moral of this part of the story-I’m not Wonder Woman. My hips are too big, my chest too small to fill out that suit. And I get sick when I spin so no way could I spin fast enough to put that suit on. But I try. What about you?
For the next few weeks I’m going to commit myself to taking a day off each week. That means I’ll have to plan my other days to make sure I get everything done that needs done. But I’m worth it. I started this yesterday and you know what I found . . .I felt like I could actually breathe. One day of not going and doing and being for everyone else and I was able to breathe.
I heard someone once say “I’m tired of being a human doing, I want to be a human being.” Amen!! It’s time to learn to be a human being again.
Have you ever had one of those days? Weeks? Life? What do you do when you have a past pain and you feel stuck in it? Like you can’t move on no matter how hard you try. What do you do in that situation?
Step one-acknowledge the issue. Whether it’s a betrayal or rejection or attack. Acknowledge the pain and hurt and the feelings that come from having been through this issue/matter. Give validation to how you feel, after all, nobody else is in charge of your feelings. You don’t need their validation. You can validate yourself and the feelings you have. But then what?
Step two-come from a place of understanding. It doesn’t invalidate your feelings. It doesn’t excuse the behavior but when you can find understanding you can find a way to understand that your hurt wasn’t necessarily the person’s goal. Someone who is abusive was most likely abused themselves, someone who is unfaithful was taught to objectify the other sex or that their value lies in how many partners they can satisfy. Someone who lies is just trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation of themselves or their life. Trying to be as “great” as the person they looked up to but feeling like all they do is fall short so they make up stories.
Step three-Forgive. It doesn’t make things go away. But it takes the guilt off you for not forgiving. Forgiving isn’t forgetting. Forgiving is deciding you won’t allow someone else to turn you into a bitter, vindictive, hateful person. Forgiving is choosing to be a survivor and not a victim. Forgiving is having the mindset that in the pain and hurt and horror you learned something. How to be stronger, kinder, more loving. . .You don’t have to tell them, you only have to acknowledge it yourself.
But what if someone bumps the scars left by that pain. Sometimes it’s like reliving it all over again. Worrying, watching your back, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Tapping can help, meditation can help. Loving yourself even though you feel like you’re broken because you still feel the pain. That helps. Acknowledging painful events, understanding what you don’t necessarily want to and forgiving don’t make events not affect your life. But loving yourself and understanding that sometimes things will bump your scars and bruises and when that happens and it hurts- and that’s okay. You’re not broken, you’re human. Feel the feelings, live through the fear and be the survivor. You can do it!
So, I was spending some time today in mediation and prayer and I started apologizing for all the time I wasted not taking control of my health and not listening to my body. Then it went past apologies and went to self-depreciation. Putting myself down for not knowing what to think and what to do to improve my health. Feeling poorly about all the years that I could have been healthier and feeling like a fool for not researching holistic health and taking care of my body the way it was designed to be taken care of. I had to stop myself. I was starting to go down that dark hole of coulda, shoulda, woulda.
I then had to apologize to myself for starting to go down that critical road. I gave myself a spiritual hug and remembered that the roads I’ve been down are part of my story. Part of my journey. Part of the plan for my life. To be critical of living the journey I was designed to live was non-productive. The truth is I’m now on the path of healing. I am working to heal myself and instead of chasing all sorts of diets and fads, I’m listening to what my body says it needs. I’m doing the Me diet-it’s all about me.
No need to put myself down or have any regrets. This is my journey, my tapestry and at the end of it-it will be beautiful. I refuse to allow myself to spend so much time regretting past mistakes that I forget to enjoy the present. Those mistakes made me who I am. I am on the path I’m on because those paths lead me here. How refreshing is that. Instead of regretting choices that didn’t produce the results I wanted, I embrace them as the choices that lead me to the place where I am now. Happy, fulfilled and working to continue my personal growth.
You may have noticed, I took some time away from the website and blogging. I was struggling. Struggling with the idea that someone would want to listen to me about health. That someone would value the experience and education I have when it comes to improving health. Afterall, I’m over 50 and, though it’s coming off slowly, I’m overweight. I’ve been overweight most of the time since I was 8.
In my 30’s I was thin, at one point far too thin, but I didn’t eat healthy. I barely ate-1 meal a day and a yogurt and a granola bar each day-that was it. As a single mom with little help financially, I didn’t have the money to eat a lot. And I didn’t think anyone would want me if I wasn’t thin. Everyone I knew thought I was one of the healthiest people they knew because I would walk 3 miles a day each day. But the truth was I was so afraid of being fat and rejected I couldn’t eat-even when I did get more money for food.
In my late 30s I got re-married and started eating more meals because I didn’t want my spouse to know how poorly I had been eating. As a result-I gained weight. I continued to gain weight and get sicker. I was so sick at one point that it was all I could do to go to work each day. I’d come home and sit on the couch and fight to sit upright and not lay down on the couch. I had no energy and thought I was going to die. I was beginning to become convinced I’d be “that girl.” You know that girl that everyone would remember by saying, “she was so young when she died, we had no idea she was so sick.” Then I got handed an unexpected gift-I was sitting at my desk one day and felt a clot (or something that felt like a clot) clog the bottom of my heart and stop the blood flow. I remember thinking “oh God, is this it? I don’t want to die yet”; then the clot got pushed through my heart and out the left side and I felt the blood pumping through again. I did what I’d yell at anyone else for doing- I didn’t go to the doctor or the hospital. I didn’t go because I was afraid of what medicine they’d put me on and how bad they’d say my health was. I didn’t want anyone telling me I was the victim of poor health.
I’ve been through a lot in my life-rejection, domestic violence, divorce, single motherhood, etc. But I’ve always refused to be a victim. I had to take the same attitude with this. Instead of giving up or giving away my power, I decided to take back my power and learn what it really meant to be healthy and actually participate in my health, not my illness. What does a healthy diet look like? What does it mean to be healthy? Truly healthy . . . food, relationships, physical activity, finances. As a result, I have more energy and vibrance than ever. I had to redefine some relationships, let some go, learn how to communicate better with my spouse. When I look over the past 3 years at all the progress I’ve made, I’m amazed. I have stamina, I can exercise, I have energy and I rarely sit down when I’m not working. When I get home I keep active until shortly before bed-with the exception of eating.
During my time of reflection one message kept nagging at me. One message kept being heard over and over. I felt compelled to tell my story and pass encouragement on. To send a positive message to people of all ages-You can be proactive in your health care. You can improve your health naturally and you can take back your life. No matter what age. You just need someone who believes in you. Someone who has been there.
I specialize in older clients. People who, like me, have lost all hope that there could be a time when they could feel energized and empowered to do the activities they want and eat the food they never thought they’d like. To make choices for healthier lives and healthier habits without much effort. To not have anyone tell them what to do but to be able to listen to their bodies to give it the foods and activities it needs to feel good about the world and their place in it. To be able to work with your doctor and your health coach to have true health care and resolve the causes of illness and not just mask the symptoms.
One of the primary concerns I hear from people when they talk about me coaching them is that they're afraid that all I'm going to do is give them a set of “don't do's”. I try to reassure them that the changes we make are going to be slow and easy. Rarely do they believe me, but over time I'm able to show my clients how easy it is to make lasting, healthful changes without making yourself feel guilty, deprived, shamed or stupid.