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Like most people, I’ve gotten myself to do a lot of things by telling myself they would make me happy and actually believing it. Some things I haven’t had to push so hard, or make myself feel incomplete and lacking in order to goad myself into action. External motivation can feel like the only way to get yourself to delay gratification aka cookie now vs lose ten pounds.
Now, I do want to lose ten pounds, and I do want to not eat the cookie (much of the time). But I don’t want to feel bad about the way I am now. And I know that someday, that loss of ten pounds isn’t really going to make me feel that happy or complete and I will decide I have to channel the sheer force of will used to not eat that cookie into something else.
That’s what happened to me this year. I went through a bit of an existential crisis, and I gave up pretty much any attempt at moderating what I ate. I have gained about forty pounds in the course of a year. Before that, I maintained pretty much the same 10-15 weight range for years without a whole lot of trouble. So I guess you could say it’s an isolated incident (true), a very stressful year (true), and I did a lot of great things, whatever the scale says, over the course of the year. But by making the mistake of thinking the cookie could compensate for the happiness I did not feel, I put a lot of crap in my body, can’t fit into a lot of my favorite clothes, and would feel a lot more comfortable if I could go back to more or less normal.
Except that that “normal” was always predicated a bit on fear of gaining weight, and it was always about achieving a satisfactory enough body type, that never seemed “thin” enough, and I was drinking gallons of diet coke, diet mountain dew, coke zero, and of course, diet dr pepper trying to give myself energy I didn’t feel for a task I didn’t really feel like doing to achieve goals that in the moment seemed as futile as anything any human being has ever striven for, and worse, not really being sure of who I was or what I wanted or if I had a right to it.
2013:
It’s been a big year for me. I got an MBA. I turned 25. I visited four countries in Asia. I got my first “real” professional corporate job. In Paris! I finally admitted how much I love France. I got certified fluent in French. I kept in touch with someone who I really thought I wouldn’t do much more than enjoy an evening with, only seeing him once in the space of the whole year. I climbed ruins in Ayuthayya Thailand. I ate Indian food in India. I crossed the great wall of China, despite my lifelong fear of heights. I visited the Taj Mahal. I lived in West Philadelphia. I got into yoga. I got back into weight lifting. I helped an old friend who really needed my support. I cut ties with someone I thought I would love forever.
I realized that all my friends should make me feel wonderful about myself, and especially my lovers.
I moved back home and got a chance to spend time with my family. I realized just how much I am loved.
I watched all of Lost.
I stopped trying so hard and let myself get Bs for once in my life.
I realized that school is not really the gatekeeper of knowledge or opportunity.
I realized I am my own worst enemy.
I worked for a dream that seemed nearly impossible and saw it come true through the grace of God.
I realized that I am a soul and not just this earthly existence, and that God is bigger than Jesus or Mohammed or Buddha.
I had a filling crack, a root canal, a tooth pulled (same tooth).
I got a tattoo.

I’ve gained a lot more than 40 pounds I guess. Maybe I should stop beating myself up for being a lazy ass with no self control.
Maybe I should try a little gratitude for a change, and stop focusing on what’s wrong with me and believing nothing is ever enough.

Because it is, really. If I let it be. That’s why I got the tattoo, to remind me of a moment when I glimpsed the goodness of what is.

So this year, I want to be happy and I want to be healthy. I want to continue making the good choices and make even better ones. Like adding flossing and mouthwash to my regimen. Like going deeper and making my food choices a reflection of the love I nurture for myself. Like giving up the myopia and narcissism of constantly trying to fix myself and letting myself relax into how good things really are.
And saying yes to my soul, to adventure, to let my feet carry me where my heart wants to wander.
To live a full life, and not waste too much time feeling angry, mad, sad, depressed. To embrace the full spectrum of human emotions but not get trapped in the workings of my own mind.
To finally stop worrying.
To let myself enjoy life.
Yes, that is my one and only New Year’s resolution. I think if I can really do that, the rest will fall into place. And maybe, just maybe I’ll learn to let go and let God.

Namaste,
MJ

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