I’ve been holding onto this post for quite a while. First of all, read this. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Jack Sh*t’s post here was great in it’s own right, but his one sentence stuck with me-
“Dropping the weight won’t necessarily make your life picture-perfect, but I’m willing to wager you a Ben Franklin that it’ll make your life better.”
This is very true on the surface. I mean, I don’t have to wonder if the seat belt will fit riding in someone’s car or on a plane. I don’t have to do the space check in booths to make sure I’ll fit. Walking around is not painful (ok, sometimes RIGHT after really long or hard runs but that’s different). I can do the walk and talk hallway conversation thing at work and not get winded. These are things that I sort of take for granted and used to be valid concerns of mine. Like not having a face full of dirt for this guy.
However, losing weight will not make your life perfect. Far from it. I should have learned this the first time I placed all my anticipation eggs in one proverbial outcome basket, but it’s taken me many times to learn my lesson.
I’m sure I’ve been doing it all my life – but the first one I can really remember really well is beginning my relationship with Zliten. I’ll save you the details (aka – I mean I’m saving HIM the airing of all our personal things), but this is how it happens… I figure out something I WANT. Not just eh, I’d like to have this but WANT. With ALL CAPS. 72pt font in blinking letters (and yes, I’ll spare you that too). And when it occurred to me that he was the object of my want, the poor boy didn’t have a chance. It’s that kind of patient, driven, focused WANT that even if it takes years and exploring the situation from a thousand angles and slow progress, I’m ok. I’m not sure whether it was fate or the process of attrition that landed us together, but it certainly worked out well.
This is a stellar example of outcome one in these situations – I get what I want. The other option, which is not as awesome, is I get burnt out, bored, or distracted by another shiny. Like when I decided that my mission in life was to get an expansion pack for the little-game-that-could I was working on. I tried everything from working 100 hour weeks to threatening to camp out in the parking lot until they greenlit it to coming up with very creative and resource-lite plans… but unfortunately, it simply ended with failure, and I closed the door, took my ball (if by ball you mean the scraps that were left of my sanity), and went home.
I’ve since made peace that it was not my failure. I’ve gone over the years many many times in my mind. I gave 110% and they gave -20%, and that’s the only way the math didn’t add up. I don’t fault the company, as it was their decision to make. I definitely don’t fault the process as it was a great experience. But it took me a while to be able to detach myself from it enough to see that, and not “just one example in Quix’s history of pursuits that didn’t quite make it”. And then, the drinking heavily commences. Awww, pumpkin, you need to know when to say when.
Then, my attention turned to my mid-section. By the time I had one foot out the door, I had made up my mind that THIS was what was going to bring me happiness. I was sick of people appreciating me for my creativity, my work ethic, and my brain – I wanted them to appreciate me for my body. Not in the sexual way, of course, (besides Zliten) but just that horrible, stereotypical difference in between the way someone acts when some schlub enters the room, and an attractive, slim person walks in the room.
I was convinced that losing weight would give me that confidence to walk in and dominate a room. That it would give me the ability to continue to soar up through the corporate ladder. I would be able to walk into the boardroom, stand up, talk, be heard, and do it while wearing a fucking hot looking skirt suit, pointy heels, my nerd glasses on and my hair pulled high back into a tight bun with bright red lipstick. No one would dispute me! Everyone would bow before my hotness and confidence and I would RULE THE WORLD.
Yeah, honestly, I had visions of that. Fast forward 3 years, and I have the hot little number pictured – I’ve actually worn it to work just randomly and had many compliments. The thing that I’ve learned is getting the ONE THING you most want is simply not enough to make your life WONDERFUL FOREVER. The way to establish confidence is to practice at it. Going from fluffy to fit can honestly work against you. Yeah, up here boys, those aren’t my eyes. No, I’m not the cute little woman you think I am. And so help me dear and fluffy lord, if you ask me to get you coffee, I will stick that heel so far up your…
Ok, getting carried away here. But the moral of this story is… getting what you want is great. My life would be very different without either Zliten or getting the job opportunities I did, and certainly if I was still carrying around another person on my frame. Each decision, each fork in the road, each desire you fulfill or don’t fulfill absolutely makes a difference in what’s in store for you. But each one of them is not the end all be all to reach happiness. Your happiness is the accumulation of all these points (with the most recent ones weighted more heavily) applied to some sort of personal perception/mood/attitude filter. I bet there is a way to apply a formula and calculate that. That would be awesome. And I am a nerd.
That being said – any ONE thing is probably not going to give you everlasting happiness. When ALL I WANTED was a work promotion, and then I got it, I was amazingly happy for a while, then it settled to quality of life being better, but I was USED TO IT. And then I wanted MORE. I certainly remember being happy about no longer being a peon at work, and that’s great, but I’m not ecstatic about it because it is reality for me. I was enthused about losing the weight while I was doing it, but now, I am THANKFUL I’m no longer 265 lbs, but I’m not overjoyed on a daily basis because – well, it’s life. I can no longer really feel what it felt like to be so heavy as I can no longer really feel how it felt to feel so powerless at work. At least I never knew how running from the police pantsless feels. That I remember, at least.
I do believe I’m a *little* less “wide-eyed-innocent” for wear , but to know me on a typical day is to know someone who laughs at herself when she is a grump and dances and makes funny faces at people on a regular basis and typically a happy person. I’ve alluded to some cool stuff going on at work, and even though it’s about time #10 that someone’s said something to this effect in my career, I have not lost the optimistic view. I just add cautious to it. And I realize that attaining it – just like getting to my original goal weight – will not make me happy and fulfilled forever.
So those of you just starting out – please don’t let it bring you down. I am constantly reminded on a daily basis how lucky I am to have lost an entire person. I wake up in the morning *fairly* easily around 8:30, feeling rested and well. I no longer need caffeine or excessive amounts of sugar to get through my day. I come into work ready to rock. Running around the office all day is no issue, I’m not worse for wear at the end of a workday. Working out is just a part of life. Most days, I snub my nose and think – “junk food” at things I would previously have considered healthy. It comes pretty natural to maintain my weight and be a fit and active person, something I *never* thought would happen 3 years ago.
It just has not been the ONE magical thing that made my life complete. That, dear internets, is MONEY. Lots of it. Everything will be PERFECT when I no longer have to worry about money. My life will rock!
…told ya, I never learn.
I so needed this post right now. Thank you for the reminder! PS> I feel the same way about money. Sigh.
First of all, Jack Sh*t is Da Man (not The Man, for whose benefit I work myself to a frenzy each day – *Da* Man).
Second: this is right on. I’ve had that feeling countless times: when I buy a house; when I have a baby; when I get into management. And yes, all those things were wonderful, none of them brought me ACME Insta-Happiness. (Well, the kid is still pretty fantastic, but the rest of that list? meh.)
It’s a dangerous path to think that removing fat will fix all your problems – that’s the sort of attitude that leads people never to be satisfied, and ending up looking like Joan Rivers.