Sunday, July 17, 2016

Starting Over and Over and Over Again

I read two quotes today; both mind moving and soul stirring. The first: "Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go: they merely determine where you start." - Nido Qubein. The second: "What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." - Anna Quindlen. (I thought it was weird that their last names both started with a "Q" too - so insightful of you to notice.) Out of a stack of over 100 quote cards, these two spoke to me the most in the present state that I am in. 
The first quote speaks about circumstances and not letting them hold you back. Seems like a quote for everyone, nothing too special about it, but it is very poignant to me at this moment in my life. About four weeks ago, I decided to change my life once and for all. I started waking up at 5am to walk the beach down from where I live. I planned my meals down to the calorie and protein gram. I was writing, reading and organizing my life. Two straight weeks I kept it up and felt so very good about myself. I was on a roll and loving this new path I was on. It finally felt like I was taking care of me! Then June 30th happened. I actually am not too sure what happened on June 30th, I just know that on July 1st I woke up to take a shower and both of my legs were covered in red splotches. It was itchy, it was painful and I was flabbergasted. Naturally, I figured I must have done something the day before to cause such a travesty to my health. (Mind you, this stage of allergic reaction was minimal to what would befall me later that weekend into the week.) I went through it in my mind: what did I eat differently? any new laundry soap? any new body wash? what was I wearing?  All I could come up with is that I spent 17 hours in the same black jeans. I had walked my usual 2 miles at lunch in them and then went out to dinner after work in them and walked a bit of Farmer's Market in them and then didn't get out of them until 11:30pm that night. Which having put them on at 6am or so would make a long day in the same outfit! And truly there has been no other explanation for it to this day. No ER doctors, nurses or Primary Care doctors could give me any answers so I am drawing my own conclusion. I wasn't about to let it stop me and I was VERY active that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I put some hydro-cortisone cream on, took some Claritin and just lived my life! I was on such a good health streak, I didn't want to listen to my body.  
Obviously, it is NEVER a good idea to ignore your body talking. Monday morning, Independence Day, I woke up with an ankle the size of my head. It was so swollen and the splotches all over my legs were flared up. To the ER I went for blood tests, urine analysis and a sonogram. All was good with my vitals, so 2 types of antibiotics (which later I find out was a lot to take at one time - Primary Care docs couldn't believe I wasn't more sick from just the combination of pills the ER docs put me on... yikesers!) were prescribed and thus began my sad week of back tracking. The antibiotics wore me down a bit and my body was definitely unhappy and uncomfortable for the next 3 days. I laid in bed and mostly slept because Dreamland was the only place in which I could find some relief. Long story long, it has taken me until today to feel normal again. Today is 16 days since the redness first took over my legs and caused me such grief. 
Those "circumstances" have really frustrated me on a whole other level than just being uncomfortable. I was frustrated because before all this I had been on a path of change in my life and my beast mode train was derailed. It was like all that steam and momentum was just taken from me and I all I could do was lie in bed and help my body to heal. No walks, no hikes, no strenuous exercise per the doctors and that really stole my thunder. So, when I read this quote today which read: "Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go: they merely determine where you start," I felt a release of all that angst I'd been laid up with. I have never been through anything this trying to my health before and so I am stronger for it and ready to start again and hopefully get back the gusto I had ignited. My circumstances are just giving me a new place to start than I had expected, but in the end, I'll be better for it and able to see my strength magnified for having the experience of such a struggle. 
The other quote I read this morning was: "What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." - Anna Quindlen. There are images society throws out into the world of what life is supposed to look like and when some of the people around you believe in those societal norms, you can start to think that is how you're supposed to be too. I keep going around in circles, trying this diet, using this anti wrinkle kit or trying to buy the clothes that are "in style," but really who is that person? It's not ME. I'm a sponge and whatever I see or hear sticks to me and I soak it in. I fall into a trap, one that I can only blame on myself, of wanting to be like everyone else. Truth be told, I am not happiest when I am conforming to other ideals or trends. I am most happy in my Old Navy clothes, in my tiny bungalow by the beach with my savings depleted for having lived. Oh well. That's me. And I'm Awesome! (shouldn't be so hard for me to type those last three words, but it is. I feel horribly stuck up and/or unworthy... but I should see myself as awesome and value my choices and life because I made them/it and I truly and sincerely love who and where I am.) I need to own who I am, imperfections and all. It is getting easier and easier as I get older and wiser, but I have setbacks and hang-ups that get the better of me from time to time. I worry about an inflated ego or being perceived of having one since I just wrote the words "I'm Awesome." Perceptions be damned. The thing is, I know what I believe "EGO" to mean and it's not that. If someone loves who they are without it hindering their personal relationships, then that's not EGO. So, that's not me. Why do I care or worry so much about how I am to be perceived? That's not on me. I know my truth. The other thing to keep in balance is that even though I'm being ME and believe in A, B and C; it is my job as a good human spirit to acknowledge and embrace everyone else's A, B and C. It's just the right thing to do and the cherry on top would be that I would be garnished with the same respect. We're all free to be... I will not impose my beliefs on you, just let us all live our amazingly different lives... We learn the most from people who see things differently than us and even more when they only speak of their experience not of their agenda.  
So, what is my point with all this you might be asking. Well, I ramble to find meaning and I get inspired by the little things in life and try to piece together why I was so inspired. The conclusion, if you will is that "starting" is a process and we will START over and over again. Starting again doesn't always have to mean you failed (doesn't ever have to mean that), it just means you're choosing to get something done NOW. The most important thing is to not dwell on the past or get too hung up on the "why"s. You're starting again - good for you. PERIOD! The other thing is to embrace yourself NOW. Who you are at every stage is beautiful and wonderful YOU. Love yourself now, listen to your body, take care of your health and honor your visions. The vision you have for yourself and your life should only be YOUR OWN. Once you align with that and hold tight to that and be true to yourself whole-heartedly and without apologies will you be 100% happy. BE YOU. LOVE YOU. EMBRACE YOU.