15 years

*disclaimer* this is painful. damn painful. I’ve had a damn painful year and a half and this week has taken the icing on the cake. I’m not one to typically wallow in self pity. I’m not asking for pity. I’m damn sure not asking for advice. I guess this is one of those times where I just need to get something off my chest. For those who know me personally, I’ve not published this on facebook for a reason. Please respect that. While the internet is a very open place, my little blog here is a little less known about than that is within my personal circle. And if anything on my blog is personal, this is.*

15 years ago was half my lifetime ago. It seems like so long in the past and in reality it is. I was taken back 15 years this week to one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced when dejavu struck and it happened again. 15 years ago I was 15 years old and I met this boy, not an uncommon thing to do. He was funny, he was smart, he was kind, he was thoughtful, he was super cute, and he looked at me the same way I looked at him. We struck up a relationship as teenagers do. There was some on and off, as teenagers do, but it was good. It was sweet, it was innocent. It was based in an amazing and beautiful friendship. It was clear from the get go that this boy was different and what was between us was different. And then it ended. He had to go back to his childhood love he told me. I was 17 when it ended and was devastated. I still remember the feeling. But every teenager has to go through this, I suppose. There was a traumatic moment for me later on when I knew for sure that any possibility of a romantic future between us was done, but eventually even that pain subsided. We remained very close friends however. He was best friend, and I was his. I told you, this.boy.was.different.

I moved on. I met the most awesomest of awesome fellows. I eventually married this fellow, and it was great. We had a very happy marriage. I lost touch with that first boy. It always pained me to not have him in my life anymore. My husband knew of my close relationship with him and knew I was hurt to not have contact with him. But I focused on my marriage. We had a lot of fun. My husband was an amazing guy. He was sweet, romantic, thoughtful, handsome. Anything any girl could want. Notice the use of the past tense? Our marriage ended a little over a year ago. It was no one’s fault. It just was what it was. I think we both felt the tension rising. We remain good friends and share joint custody of our dog. I have no hard feelings and I hope he doesn’t either.

Along comes this little voice on the other end of the phone one little afternoon. I kid you not that my heart skipped a beat. It was that boy. That boy from 15 years ago. Over 7 years had passed since we last spoke. We spent hours on the phone catching up. Hours in single phone calls. Our first reunion visit lasted way too long while we laughed and sobbed over things that happened between us that we both needed to get out in the air. I felt like I was seeing and hearing a ghost. A funny, smart, kind, thoughtful, and still cute as a button ghost. You know you are best friends with someone when you can go 7 years without speaking and then pick things up right where you left off.

Over the last year that boy and I have done a lot of talking and some visiting. My heart crept back up. Could this really be real this time? We hashed and hashed. I held my heart tight to me for a long time until I felt satisfied that things might really work out. We talked about long term plans. Nothing quickly, but eventually. He came to visit with my parents again for the first time in 15 years. We had planned a little vacation over the Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate my birthday. I was the happiest I had been in a long time.

And then this week that came crashing down with a severe case of dejavu. Once again I was 17 years old and hearing the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, except this time it’s about his son. He says he has to make another shot at a relationship with his ex for the sake of his son because the only way he can be with him is to be with her. That’s not love that’s blackmail. And believe me I told him that. I doesn’t really matter what I said or say. It’s a repeat of my teenage years all over again. But just like a bone that has been broken, my heart was weaker in that spot marked with his name and it broke easier and more deeply. I let myself be taken in. I allowed this to happen.

Where does this leave me? Less than a week before my 30th birthday with a canceled hotel reservation and very puffy eyes. I am once again picking up the pieces of a life that I have cracked.

To Infinity and Beyond

“We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today.”

This last year has been a year of massive personal change for me. In fact, that last sentence might be is an understatement. I’ve been through a separation and am preparing to finalize my divorce in the coming month. I have sold the home my husband and I bought together and said goodbye to the dreams that went with it as well. I have moved 30 some odd miles up the road to a new city and into a much smaller apartment closer to work. I have said goodbye to processed foods, artificial coloring, flavoring, and sweeteners, chemical additives, and most white flour and sugar. I have pretty much written off alcohol and have cut way back on the amount of caffeine in my life. Exercise has gone from being something I do because I should, do something I do because I want to. My body has let go of close to 40 pounds of dead weight. My outlook on life has switched from a glass is half empty to glass is overflowing full of good because I choose to make it that way. I have become an active participant in my own destiny rather than watching life float by me. I can’t begin to describe how much I have changed mentally.

We are truly only limited by our own boundaries, as I have come to realize.  What I can do today is not an indication of what I can do tomorrow. Tomorrow has its own possibilities. Stop and think about that for a minute. On your worst day, the day you think you have f-ed up the worst of the worst, everything that could go wrong has, you still have the chance to start all over again in the morning. Just like the phoenix, you can rise from the burnt ashes of who you are today to become something new and amazing tomorrow. And if today has already been amazing, that’s not the upper limit. You can continue to advance higher than today’s aspirations by grabbing tomorrow by the horns. To quote an awesome superhero, you really can go “to infinity and beyond” as long as you don’t limit yourself. 

If I judged my tomorrow by today I would still be 200 pounds and a size 18. I would still be sullen about how I was unhappy and there was nothing I could do about it. I would still be drowning my sorrows in a bottle and getting my wings with Red Bull.  Instead, I listened when that little voice inside me spoke up and said, “NOW, change your life NOW or never.” And now my tomorrows all look awesome. They look awesome because I choose to see them as awesome.

I’m looking at another set of personal crossroads in my windshield right now. It’s a ways off in the distance, but I know it’s approaching. Normally something so big would be a major source of apprehension for me…or I would shove it off as a “no way Josè” kind of situation. But with this outlook in mind, I am really trying not to judge the chance to change my tomorrow based on my today. I know that If can look at all the possibilities with an open mind, there is a chance for real change for me. I just have to be open to seeing it.

 

I’m Not Going to Lie…This Involves a Little Work.

I’ve been asked a few times lately about what “all this” really takes. My first response is always, what’s “all this”? If you mean taking care of yourself, I’m not going to lie, this involves a little work. But trust me, it’s worth it. Healthy living is a little like college in that you can’t just show up and expect to get the best of the best, you have to put some work into it, and there is a direct correlation between the amount of work you put in and the reward you get back out. The big difference is that you will actually USE what you learn with healthy living unlike the vast majority of us with degrees completely unrelated to our careers. Not that I’m not using my Master’s degree or anything…but that’s another subject.

This takes a little planning. Because I don’t rely on processed foods, I do more cooking now then I have ever done. And seriously, that’s still not much. There is grocery shopping involved and a little recipe reading to make sure I have everything I need on hand. It’s easier to make healthy choices when the healthy choices are available in house. There’s a little prep work. I shared the power bar recipe I’ve been using, and I’ll make a batch of those up every so often to keep on hand. I also hard boil eggs to keep in the fridge for a quick snack or meal. On the weekend I may make a batch of whole wheat muffins with fruit to snack on during the week. I tend to freeze most of these since I can’t eat them quick enough.

There’s a little planning each day too. I’ve always taken my lunch to work so that wasn’t a big change for me. But if you’re accustomed to running out for fast food, you’re going to need to plan. I also plan for snacks. I like to eat. And I like to not be tempted by the candy in the vending machine because when the 3pm I’m-starving-right-now-damn-I-could-eat-my-coat feeling hits every once in a while, I’m tempted. I have to get all this done at night because if I leave it until morning, I just throw whatever in a bag and it never works out.

This also takes a little sacrifice. “I don’t have time to exercise!” Sure you do. I bet everyone could find 15 minutes a day for exercise at home. If you were brutally honest with yourself, where do you waste time? I waste time on the internet. I look at websites, play on facebook, read message boards, watch stupid youtube videos, watch Netflix, and just generally waste time. Who knows what I could accomplish if I stopped wasting time online. Where do I not waste time? TV. I don’t have cable. I own a TV really only because I got left one (crappy) one in my divorce. It hasn’t been turned on in 10 months or more. I don’t say this to sound self righteous, I say this to point out how I made time to exercise. I realized a long time ago that what I was spending my evenings doing was watching TV (which inevitably meant eating snacks) wishing I was healthier. Then the light bulb went off that if I would sacrifice a little of the TV time, I could exercise and maybe actually be healthier. I’ve been told that if I had kids I would understand how hard it is to find time to exercise (hello? self righteous much?) but my response to that is why can’t your children be a part of your exercise? I spoke with a friend today, someone I’ve known for a long time but haven’t seen in years (isn’t facebook great?). She told me that part of her motivation to exercise and be healthy was to set a good example for her son that fitness is important. How awesome is that? Even though her son is a preschooler, she is already wanting him to know how important it is to take care of himself. (I hope you don’t mind I’m talking about you if you’re reading this!)

There may be a little financial sacrifice too. I choose to pay for a gym membership, but my lack of cable service more than covers that. Certainly you can exercise at home without a gym or even fancy equipment. Youtube is an amazing resource for learning new exercises, as are blogs! Special mention to Peak 313 Fitness as my current favorite fitness website/blog. She’s a mom who works out at home with minimal equipment. You may find that your food costs change some as well, I am working on trying to really use my dollars consciously with companies I think deserve them, so I am finding my grocery costs are going up a touch. But you know what, any fruits and veggies are better than no fruits and veggiesDon’t sweat it if you can’t buy organic. Just eat your veggies folks. And whole grains. The way I see it, I may be spending a little more now, but I am cutting my future healthcare costs by staying out of the cardiologist and oncologists offices, and hopefully even my GP’s office.

So, I’m not going to lie. Taking care of your body is not an instant success. You have to put some work into it. It’s not an overnight thing, and if you start out thinking that way you are setting yourself up for disappointment. There is no gimmick. This is a lifestyle, one that is meant to be sustainable, long term.  You CAN do this. The work is worth it.

Start From the Beginning?

I suppose the best place to start anything is at the beginning, but for me to do that here would mean I know where the beginning is or even what I intend to accomplish. This last (almost) year has brought quite an upheaval to my life. It was completely by my choosing, and I still believe it is for the best, but for someone who struggles with change, boy did I dive head first into the deep end. For the sake of brevity, my 6+ year marriage came to end last summer and will be officially “dissolved” (as the state of North Carolina puts it) this summer. We finally sold our home this spring and I packed up and moved to an apartment in the city I’ve been working in for the last 6 years. Newly single and new apartment in a new city. Although I’ve worked here, and I have been visiting family here since I was a child, I really know very little about this town.

All that aside, I am changing personally as I venture to say most people do during a life transition such as this. I’ve regained perspective that I lost somewhere along the way that the world is a good place. The universe doesn’t hate me and neither does God or my family. I am a good person. Somehow I forgot that. 

I’ve lost almost 40 pounds since my separation. I never intended to loose anything. It’s just sort of happened as a by product of caring about myself. I will be upfront and say that I was put on migraine medication that has a known side effect of apetite loss, which I did feel at first, but regained. In the past 2 months, I’ve changed my eating habits even further. Clean Eating is the way to go. Eliminate or reduce to near as close to nothing as possible the processed foods in your life. You will be amazed at how different you feel. My workouts have gotten more weight focused, and less cardio driven. I’m seeing muscles I didn’t know I had for the first time in my life. 

I’m not sure what I intend to accomplish with this blog. I’m not sure anyone will read it. That’s ok too. This is not a divorce rant blog. Frankly, I have nothing to rant about. This is not a “poor me” blog. I’m not promising to never mention my personal life, but I am promising that this blog is about positivity.  Mostly I see this as a way to discuss my current obsession: health and fitness. I know my family and friends are tired of hearing about what I eat or the new exercise I tried today. As all things in my life, this is a work in progress. For now, thanks, and welcome.Image

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