Today I am feeling a little bit lighter. Unshackled. Freer. In spite of the fact that today is Monday, I actually am a little bit hopeful. Not that this can't be dashed in a New York minute once I begin my day in earnest. But for now...I'm enjoying it.
I feel lighter in that I quit eating junk and have started actually thinking about everything that goes into my body. I'm 50 years old, and I am the sum total of some really good genes and some really heinous decisions. But I can't reverse my affection for the drive-thru or the appreciation for coffee in the morning. For loving to celebrate with food and for hating to leave anything on my plate. For enjoying starches and detesting brussels sprouts. It pretty much is what it is, you know.
Don't even get me started on party food. That's "Danger! Will Robinson!" territory if I've ever seen it.
I am not on some weight loss plan, not trying to convert the world, and not really that worried about it. I know I should be worried. I mean, I do have mirrors around here. But I've finally come to accept that my best isn't going to match that of people who have been meticulous and active all of the years that I chose to let it fly and sit it out. I've had periods of living that life during these intervening years of looking great and where I am now...and because of those...I have the courage to pick up the plow and start moving. But I am at a place where I'm finally ready to turn down something in spite of how good it looks. Where I'm content to just have a bite and take the rest home. Where I'm okay with salad every day for a week or cutting my portion size at the exact point where I feel full instead of when whatever it is has been completely eaten.
I've set some goals for myself that I don't dare share for fear that someone will tell me it can't be done and I'll believe them. I have decided to push myself even though I'm quite certain I look ridiculous doing it and I may pass out from mouth-breathing (yes, ragweed season is the devil). I've decided to test my limits and see what happens. It will more than likely take months just to see anything close to results.
But the gradual changes will be there. The ability to do one more rep, or not to quit when every fiber of my being is telling me to stop because I can make it to "...4-3-2-1...well done!" It will be the quiet realizations that will keep me going. That an an extremely supportive coach or two that I have leading classes that I take. The guy in the gym who tells me "keep it up, rock star!" every time he sees me. The hair that looks like Sasquatch's when I finish wallowing on the floor doing something that is supposed to make me stronger.
I am stronger. I will be even stronger.
But the lightness of mood doesn't end there...it is also because I've decided to free myself of twelve boxes of items that are currently serving no purpose in my life other than to make me feel guilty. Uncomfortable. Like something needs to be done all of the time. As though I cannot enjoy my entire home or any weekend because I don't have a handle on it. I had kept it thinking that I'd have a yard sale someday. I rethought that after remembering that I don't have good luck at yard sales, I have no desire to waste a Friday night and a Saturday morning putting this stuff out for people to offer me a dollar for the privilege to cart off. I think I'd prefer that it be shipped off to Goodwill and let them have what would probably bring less than $200 if I sold every item. It is a small price to pay for my sanity and for this feeling of lightness.
Lightness is one of those things that is highly underestimated. I'm referring to lightness of spirit in this instance. The freedom to be spontaneous because you have time not managing "stuff." The joy of taking care of the "stuff" that you have. The enjoyment of seeing the "stuff" that makes you happy because it is in your world. Most of us spend way too much time overwhelmed with it...so we put it in a storage facility. Or the attic. Or the garage. Or a closet. Before long, we are to the gills with items that need to be moved along. Desperately.
In the boxes outside is a coat that my daughter wore in 5th grade. I know this because her teacher's name was on the tag. It has been hanging in there for half her life. But it was too good to throw away, and since she has been almost the same size since that time...we kept it. We have sheets for beds that are mismatched and the old beach towels that have long since been replaced with ones that we like much better. There are books and decorative items and some things that sounded like a good idea at the time...but so weren't...or we've moved on and replaced them with something else. There are old sofa pillows and pencil boxes. Baskets and what-not. All manner of items that are in good condition...but who followed us from house to house (Jill lived in four different places in college...each with a different decorating theme) or just for whatever reason are no longer serving any purpose other than to make me crazy.
Today I feel lighter knowing that this job is done. Three closets are cleaned out. Two remain. One will need Brian to sit there and give me a "yay" or "nay" to various items. The other will require Big Dave.
That'll be interesting.
I suppose what I'd like to share on the other side of this...is that it is possible to start. To just decide. To move past the excuses, lack of time, or even the desire to address something. I am finding that it is the kindest thing that I've done for myself lately...this moving toward my goals. It has taken me months...and possibly even years...to get to this point. And I may fall back into old habits again. I'll have to fight that tendency and that uphill battle every day.
I believe that when we release "things" and the hold that they have on our mental energy...that we are freer to follow what God intends for our life. In my life those "things" are food, the control I like to maintain over my schedule, and the items that are all over my house demanding my attention in terms of dusting, or washing, or finding a place for it to reside. I'm freer just saying "no" to my own desires and saying "yes" to being under the yoke of discipline. Because that yoke is light...and discipline is freedom.
It really is.
So, as you go out into your life today...just remember to travel lightly. We can't take it with us, and between us...I don't want my kids to have to sort it. I want them to be free to live their lives without that cloud hanging over them that my poor Mom and her siblings did when my sweet Gammy's house had to be dealt with in 2006. It took them four years to get up the courage to face it. Not kidding.
I wish you the best in whatever makes you lighter today. Be it eating to glorify God through the temple that He resides in or the home that He has given you to live here while waiting to go Home. I don't know. I know that my body, my home and my spirit have huge "Under Renovation" signs out in front. The load is lighter already just putting up the signs.
Have a wonderful day. I hope that it is filled with lightness. And joy. Peace. Love.