MY FIFTH ANNIVERSARY
*dusts off blog* I've missed this. Today is my five year anniversary. Author's Note: I Googled the significance of a 5 year anniversary, and apparently the associated gift for a wedding anniversary is anything that's made of wood. Weird. Maybe I'll treat myself to a cabin getaway.....? But anyway. Five years ago, I put up this post on Facebook:
If I had only known then just how much this accomplishment would impact my life. The past five years have been full of growing pains. (Do you still get growing pains in your late 20s?) Having changed my life in the way that I have, I've done my best to be patient with myself. I went from living at home with my parents in Smalltown, PA to holding my own in NYC. I've been through the ringer. I moved to the city for a job that laid me off a month later. I've had my heart broken multiple times. I've relocated apartments 3 times and have had challenging roommate relationships. I launched a business that didn't go the way I was hoping it would. I had an online dating stalker. I took a nervous breakdown last winter. BUT there have also been a lot of JOYS and AMAZING breakthroughs. During my breakdown, I rediscovered my relationship with God and it's better than ever. I challenged myself to run a half marathon... and I ran two within a year's time. Through learning how to build a business, I've met some incredible, amazing people and have maintained great relationships. I proved to myself that I can afford my own place! I HAVE KEPT OFF ALL 50 LBS THAT I HAVE LOST. All of that being said, I've passed some pretty important tests. And here are my takeaways: Five Things I've Learned Over the Past Five Years 1. Body positivity takes work. A LOT of WORK. For pretty much my entire life, I assumed that losing 50 lbs was the magic answer to total happiness with myself. This is true to an extent, as I believe the person that I am versus who I was is a NIGHT and DAY comparison. That being said, it's not as easy as dropping weight. My stomach's gut that I was trying to flatten never really flattened, but instead became loose skin hanging off of my body. So the part of my body that disgusts me (on my worst days) still does. I have - and to this day still use - a list of affirmations and a ritual of speaking to myself lovingly and positively. I've read countless books. I've done mediation exercises and I've found a great therapist. Your mindset can hold you back, or it can be reprogrammed. 2. You need to be okay with doing things alone. As much as you want the support of others, you cannot force anyone else into anything that you're doing. The only workout partner I've ever had moved back to South Africa. I was taking a break from sugar, and I sat back while the rest of the dinner table shared a giant piece of chocolate lava cake. I wanted to attend a networking event that seemed fun, but nobody else seemed interested. It's really, really hard to do things alone, but you also cannot preach your lifestyle onto other people. You CAN coexist. And by putting yourself out there (i.e. when I attend events alone), you can meet new people who you would have never met otherwise! 3. Everyone has an opinion. Do you. I've dated guys who have talked down my workouts. I've posted photos of my loose skin and I immediately get recommendations from strangers on how to fix it. I keep friends who are vegan and friends who follow the caveman (aka: polar opposite) lifestyle. At the end of the day, am I healthy and happy? Yes. Am I inspired to continue making progress? Yes. Am I considerate of others' suggestions while also thinking about what's best for ME? Yes. Staying true to what works for YOU is ALL that matters. 4. You need to be nice to yourself. Let's say you've noticed that your friend has gained five pounds. Would you call her out and say, "Ugh, God, you're a fat slob and you're going to ruin all of your hard work. You might as well keep eating." ? If you would, then you're probably not going to have a lot of friends... Bullying yourself does not benefit anyone; especially not you. In fact, learning to celebrate yourself is the greatest weapon you can carry. I've had one or two encounters with (pardon me) asshole strangers, and I was quick to stand up for myself. Once at Planet Fitness, when a guy told me that my outfit was unflattering, I was quick to say, "Well, I've lost 50 lbs, so you're not going to tell me what I can and cannot wear." Fifteen years ago, I probably would have cried in the locker room. That was the greatest example of growth I've EVER experienced. Although I don't wish those negative anecdotes on anyone, I do wish more people would know how powerful they are. Which is a great segue into.... 5. To repeat Me from 2013: If you put your mind to something, you really can do anything. As I sit here, smack dab in the middle of yet another existential crisis, the most precious gift I've been given is my story. I have so many doubts and questions. And yet, when I look into the unknown, I'm not afraid. Because, once upon 5 years ago, I changed my entire life. And, in that moment, I realized that I was POWERFUL and I was IN CONTROL of how my circumstances would play out. Absolutely no matter what happens to me, I know I'll be okay. I trust myself to know that I'm hardworking, I'm resourceful, and I'll figure it out. I'll make my greatest dreams happen. And if I don't... I'll pick myself up and I'll chase even more dreams. I've never had anyone wish me a Happy Anniversary, so here it goes: Happy Anniversary, beautiful. Here's to 50 more years.
QUOTE OF THE DAY “I can only change the world by changing myself.” ― Toni Sorenson, The Great Brain Cleanse