I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time with my head up my butt. It’s just so easy to get there and to stay there. And the pity parties I’ve thrown for myself there are off the hook. I usually overstay my own welcome at them. It’s just so comfortable there, why should I care if I am healthy and happy? What is the point? I’ll just stay in this pity party, because if I leave I’ll be too overwhelmed by life and feel in flux and question my decisions and wonder how I’ll ever live my purpose and…
then something happens.
I get so sick of myself, I kick myself out of the pity party. My body screams to be moved. Just a little, just anything. Stop watching Game of Thrones and do something with your life. I call out ENOUGH. Enough self pity. You’re not the only person in this world, and do you know how lucky you are to even have the time to feel this way? Let’s not waste the time you have left. And while you’re at it, why don’t you help a few people too?
But it’s hard to get out of my own head. I ask a friend for guidance. I tell her all of the directions that I want to go but I’m not sure which is right so I don’t take any step forward. And she says, perhaps meditate for five minutes and then just do the next right thing?
I sit still and breathe, and am reminded of how I got back in shape when I lived in Chicago – I signed up for a 5k and I started running. I’ve never been a good runner, but a 5k seemed manageable, and I found an app that helped me gradually evolve from pure laziness to running three miles straight.
I grab my phone and dust off the Couch to 5k app. Then I search for my running shoes, my armband, my headphones…all the tools for all the times since then that I tried to start a running practice and failed.
Because I’ve been here many times before. I finally get motivated to get healthy. And I get a few days in, sometimes weeks, and even months in some rare occasions. My determination lasts through the constant temptations of delicious foods, the need to rest after a long day at work, the saying no to weeknight drinks, and that determination continues to last…until it doesn’t. Until it just takes too much effort and all I want is to rest, or have a glass of wine, or eat that tasty Italian sub. And then it slowly spirals, until I find myself back at the party, the only guest, knowing that I shouldn’t make myself too comfortable.
While I’m re-filling my cup at the punch bowl, I start to remember what my life looked like when I went to the grocery store once or twice a week, and bought fresh produce, and cooked healthy meals, and enjoyed it!? I thought, what if I did that again? What if I went to bed every night around the same time, and woke up and meditated for ten minutes, then jogged with my dog? What if I even made space for my yoga practice, or even something more sweat invoking, like the MMA workout DVDs I have right there on my computer?
Yes that life looks great, doesn’t it? But what about the reality that my life that is constantly changing? My job changes as a freelancer, my schedule, my everything. How can I keep up a routine when it all changes? WHY EVEN BOTHER STARTING?
My friend with the sage advice had recently made the change. She went from eating and isolating to doing the Whole 30 Challenge, and pilates 3x week. She is glowing, healthier, happier. I ask her, what was the shift?
I just decided to go to the grocery store.
And that’s what it is:
One. Step. At. A. Time.
Get back up.
Stay down a little longer if you have to, then get up.
I hit play on the phone and Pele and I started our walk/run. (PSA: A great motivator for getting moving again is an adorable dog who reminds you that going for a walk/jog/run is THEE BEST POSSIBLE THING IN THE WORLD!) As soon as I started moving, the world started to change, along with my place in it. Nothing felt like as big of a deal. What was once overwhelming started to feel do-able. I felt that comfortable feeling again – but it wasn’t pity – it was happiness.
How will I know if this is the time I start and really follow through? I don’t. All I can do is the next right thing.
I can fall flat on my face again too, and I probably will. But right now I’m up, and I’m pulling you up too.
Sometimes you get so sick of yourself you don’t have a choice but to change.