A year ago I was, quite frankly, a mess. I was a complete wreck...physically and emotionally. Everything came to a head one night after hitting the wine trail with some friends. A great friend...an old friend...had come along as my "date". After departing the drunk bus, we headed to McDonald's for some grub before heading home. She was staying the night to avoid the drive home, so we knew we'd have some good "girlfriend gab" time. It was just what I needed.
See, I think you have some friends that are surface friends. They see what's on the surface and don't dig any deeper. If you say you're fine...then you're fine and everyone moves on. Then there are those "below the surface" friends. Those are the ones that hear "I'm a friggin' mess" when you say "I'm fine" and they DIG...they dig deep baby, 'cause that's the kind of friend they are, and they WANT to help.
Debbie is a "below the surface" friend. We've seen each other through job changes, births, marriage troubles, family troubles, death, and just about any other miserable thing one can endure. Let me say...for the record...Debbie isn't my only "below the surface" friend. I am blessed to have several. But, she was there that night, and she did the digging that led to my return to life.
We started talking about the past 8-9 months. So much had happened in my life...Schuyler (my nephew) was killed in Afghanistan...my Mom died unexpectedly...physically I was a mess on a whole other level. My weight had increased to probably the highest it had ever been. I was severely depressed but hadn't admitted it to myself. But Debbie asked...she asked how I was.
"No, REALLY...how are you DOING?" (this is digging deeper)
I thought about that and ended up breaking down completely. I lost it. I was not fine and it was time to face that.
Debbie and I talked at length that night. Maybe it was having a trusted friend...maybe it was the wine...maybe it was just time...or maybe it was a combination of all of these. But this would end up being the night that changed everything. Debbie encouraged me to talk to someone about medication. She got me to admit that I was depressed...really, really depressed. And she got me to realize that it wasn't getting any better as time went on, but actually getting progressively worse. She helped me realize that I needed help in getting out of the fog.
So, I ended up taking Lexapro to help me deal with the depression. Thankfully that worked really well for me and helped me climb out of the hole that I was stuck in. I made it through the holidays...those first holidays without Schuyler and Mom. I made it to January 2010...a new year and hopefully a happier year.
And what a happier year it's been. Life isn't without sadness...nobody should expect that. But, I have found that HOW you deal with those disappointing or sad times makes a world of difference. I'm not the eternal optimist, but I do try to see something good even in the most difficult of situations. I am trying to look at the simple things in my life that bring me happiness. The year after Schuyler and Mom died there was a LOT of family time...LOTS and LOTS....and those were really happy, really comforting times. The 6 hour drive to visit "home" isn't such a "task" anymore, but a destination where fun times and memories are being made.
Mid-January I decided that my mental health was on the right track so it was time to get my physical heath in check as well. I started this "Fit By Forty" journey, and honestly, I would NEVER have imagined I would be where I am today. In January I weighed 265 pounds. I was wearing a 22/24 and XXL shirt. I THOUGHT I felt pretty good. Then I started losing the weight. Initially I set small goals...at 265 my goal was to be in the 250's. At 259, my goal was to be in the 240's...and so on.
Here I am...the end of September and beating down the door to under 200! I am at 203 as of this morning. I am wearing a 16 jean comfortably, and a 14 is button-able and zippable, but not comfortable! YET. I buy Large shirts. My shoe size has even gotten smaller! From a 9.5 EE to a 8.5 B.
But, the best thing about all this isn't the numbers. It is how I FEEL. I feel energized. I want to go DO something...not just lay low. I am active...I am happy...I am fit.
Life is good.
So, this brings me to the title..."Time Marches On...Are You Marching or Standing Still?".
I was totally standing still in 2009. But 2010? Oh, in 2010 I'm Marching...I'm leading-the-band marching....and it feels GREAT.
Life is hard...nobody should expect it not to be. But how you deal with those curve balls you're thrown will make a HUGE difference in whether or not you march or stand still.
Maybe life is like living in the jungle...the weak, injured animal that stays still is going to be the one to get eaten by the mighty lion. It's OK to be weak and injured, just don't stay still for too long so that the lion has to go elsewhere for his dinner.