Sometimes on the journey of life, we'll find out that there are roadblocks. One minute we are coasting along admiring the scenery with our trip plugged into the GPS and the radio blaring our favorite music, and the next...we are at a complete standstill because something has gone awry up ahead. Our inclination is to assume that the something up ahead of us has gotten off track but it has nothing to do with us...such as some poor soul crashing into someone else or a vehicle malfunction.
Other times, it is because there's too much trying to crowd into a space not equipped to handle it so it is a bottleneck that will sort itself out eventually. Like rush hour traffic or roadwork that is necessary but often scheduled at the worst time possible.
But occasionally, it is because we have a detour. Some bridge is out or there's serious road construction going on that requires all lanes to complete it. And on your GPS, you'll get the dreaded "recalculating" with a new path that is 30 minutes out of your way.
Okay, maybe I'm just recalling past trips to the beach. Which is on my mind right now since both children are visiting the beach this week and I keep seeing everybody's beach posts on Facebook.
But why am I thinking about roadblocks? Because some days my scale is not kind and other days I just keep wondering if I'll ever get to the point I want to get to because if it is this difficult this early...then the rest of it won't be a cake walk.
Roadblocks. Specifically, attitudinal roadblocks that we set up for ourselves or that jump out at us at a vulnerable point in time.
Every person who has tried to improve their lives has encountered these. It's like making a cake for someone and getting every ingredient mixed together except the last one that cannot be skipped...like flour or sugar...only to find out that you're out. You have to find someone to borrow from or schlep into town to get the MIA ingredient, finish it, and then find yourself up at midnight waiting for it to cool so you can put the dome on and sleep for five hours before you have to get up and face another full day.
Oh? I'm the only one who's done that?
Right now, I'm running into a few annoyances in my weight loss plan. Trying to eat oatmeal with only a few berries and a ton of cinnamon instead of dolled up nicely with a little almond milk and sweet n low. It's doable, but not ideal. Drinking coffee black instead of with some carefully measured sugar-free creamer and a little more sweet n low. Hopping on the scale and not seeing much of a difference because - after all - it's the weekend and I did eat a filet mignon last night. Knowing I'll be at a baby shower later today and the food table will be impressive...and all I'll be able to eat is some fruit if it is there.
But these aren't really roadblocks, are they? They are like lovebugs all over the front of my car...annoying and with the potential to damage the paint of the car - or in my case my resolve - but not enough to make me throw in the towel by any means. I did, however, obviously think about it.
Over time, though, if we focus on the damage and the annoyances...it will spoil the whole idea of travel or change...or of staying on the right path. Collectively, that can sometimes become a roadblock because all of us have a level that we can contend with before we scream, "Enough!"
We've all done that. Had poor service with a company or a restaurant and vowed and declared that we aren't going back. (I'm looking at you, FTD.) We'll never be able to get past the experience to be able to form new impressions.
I think that's what happens with a lot of people in trying to lose weight or do anything that is going to take awhile is that there are going to be times of doubt. We can be "all in" for a respectable period of time, but after awhile...it gets too hard. Too annoying. Too time-consuming. Too everything. It is at this point that people quit.
For me, however, quitting is really not an option.
So, just as you must address the little annoyances in life before they become a cluster of great magnitude, it is necessary to examine what your original purpose is for being on the road in the first place.
For the beach...that's easy. You want to hear the waves, feel the cool breeze, put your toes in the sand. Eat fresh seafood. Have no distractions. Enjoy slowing down. Spend time with people you enjoy, float on a raft and stare at the blue sky, or get a major infusion of natural Vitamin D. You want to kick back and take in the beauty of God's masterpiece. Watch the sand pipers...hunt for shells or shark's teeth.
For weight loss...it's a little different. You want to feel better, look your best, and be free of the monkey on your back. You want to honor your body, your God and yourself by embracing discipline. You want to push yourself to be better than you were and to set those little goals that make it possible to endure the long race.
Long race is an understatement in my case.
I know people that have been successful by focusing on the end result. Who have done well because they've had to for health reasons or were able to pull on that invisible reservoir of strength, dedication and determination that it takes to get there.
I want to be one of those people. After years of being a "horrible warning"...I am yearning to be a "good example."
But there are roadblocks. Times when I step on the scale for days in a row and nothing moves. Days when I have "movement" problems of another less couth variety. Days where I work out beyond what I think I can and I'll wonder if I can keep up the pace. Days where I am stuck between two sizes and neither fits. Times when I think eating the same breakfast and lunch every day is going to eventually wear thin. Times when I think I'm doing well and then I catch a glimpse in the mirror and am reminded of the fact that I'm still a long way from my goal.
Any of those could be roadblocks. At any moment, the towel could be thrown in, and I could sit down with a lovely cup of coffee fixed the way I like it and a plate of chicken salad, crackers and a piece of chocolate cake.
But not today.
Knowing that there are going to be roadblocks keeps me on my toes. And much like the Christian is instructed in Ephesians 6 to "put on the full armor of God" - I have to arm myself for the possibility of slipping back into bad habits EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Sometimes every hour.
Occasionally, I am caught off guard by how they pop up out of nowhere. Finding myself out of oatmeal one morning. Wanting something other than chicken for lunch. Wanting a big bowl of chili when tomatoes are considered a fruit (and I don't part with my fruit easily). It can be frustrating. And if I think about it too much...it can become unbearable. Fortunately, I am aware it's coming. Maybe I won't know until I'm in the midst of it, but at least I open my eyes and begin fighting it back.
To do so...sometimes I'll review how far I've come and how close I am to my next mini-goals. Or I'll treat myself with a movie or a nap. Anything. Usually after that, I'll look up and see the roadblock for what it is...a figment of my imagination. A denial of the fact that things take time...including undoing years of bad eating decisions. In time, it'll work out. I just have to not get so frustrated with the process that I find myself eating a cupcake and then berating myself for it for weeks. Only to promise to go back on a strict plan...on Monday.
For me...EVERY day is Monday. Except steak night. :)
I don't know what roadblocks other people are facing right now. Maybe it is a job they didn't get that they hoped for or a house that won't sell so they can't move. Perhaps it is a class that they need to graduate that isn't offered again until Fall. Or maybe it is a lack of money, creativity, initiative, time, other resources or research that is making the roadblock seem so ominous. I don't know.
All I know is that today...I have to do what I have to do to get where I want to go. If I keep working on it that roadblock will move. Sounds awfully familiar to a mountain moving, yes?
I hope that your path will be smooth...and that the journey will be filled with a lot of joy and good memories. I hope that my path will be as well. Yesterday felt a little like a trip through the briars...but I'm not bothered by that. Been here before. Will be here again. But this time...I have a little perspective. So there's that.
Today is another day. So far, all is quiet. Hope it stays that way. I could use some smooth sailing. And a trip to the beach. Definitely a trip to the beach.