My sister has a really interesting theory about dieting. She calls it the Four Phases. It goes kind of like this…
Phase 1: This is where you start thinking, yeah, maybe I should start trying to eat better. Clothes are gettin’ tiiiight…. not loving those love handles… Ehh, I could stand to lose a few lbs…
Phase 2: Okay, I’m going on a diet. I’m committed.
Phase 3: Start a diet, but fail. A lot. Start doing good, then go off it… you know you need to make a change, but old habits die hard.
Phase 4: IN IT TO WIN IT. You’re 100% committed, you’re making the right choices consistently. You are actually making and sticking with the change and you are not easily derailed.
So, I’ve been flopping around in Phase 3 for the last few weeks, but yesterday I transitioned to Phase 4. Mark and I spent a ton of money/time at the store yesterday and bought a lot of healthy stuff. I cooked last night and am set up for success.
I’ve been giving myself a hard time recently because I have been unsuccessful with making better choices. I just didn’t want to!! I have been in a funk and just didn’t care anymore. I’ve been really conflicted now for the last month or more about my life, my choices, the direction I’ve gone…I started having an existential crisis and there has been no one I could openly and honestly talk to about it.
So, instead of spending $140/hour (YES, per HOUR!) in therapy, I’m just going to talk about it here and (hope) that no one reads it and … if they do… that they don’t judge me too harshly.
I’m 31 years old, I’ve got a husband and an amazing kid, I’m so close to my MASTER’S DEGREE (MASTER’S DEGREE, for real! That’s me!) that I can smell it. All amazing things, and all great. I’m very proud of those things. BUT. But what now? What next? Was that the right thing to do? Is my life what it was supposed to be?!
I want a house of my own, and it’s going to be hard with our student loans… we have a lot of debt to wade through before we’re going to get approved for a mortgage.
I love my kid so much, but sometimes I still don’t feel like a “mom.” I have these dreams (memories?) of being young and fun with only myself to worry about like back in my college days. I long for the wind in my hair, the sun in my face, days of doing nothing if I don’t want to. …..but, I’m an adult now. I have people who depend on me, things that won’t get done if I don’t do them, bills that won’t get paid if I don’t work. I miss freedom, choices, youth.
I LONG for those days (not) long past when being an adult wasn’t even in my mind. I long for it, but I also remember how lonely it was at the same time. I loved being able to do what I wanted, but I was stuck with my nose in romance novels hoping one day someone would love me and want a family with me like those heroes and heroines had. And when I finally got my happily ever after, I was OVER THE MOON.
So why do I want those things back, now, ten years later?! The “freedom” –>reality: lonely days, nights spent at bars scanning the crowd, hoping that I’d see someone across a room, being a third wheel to my sister and her husband, or my friend and her boyfriend– that I used to have?! I have no idea. It makes no sense. Sometimes, I really wish that I could sit on that creaky, dirty couch in the sorority house across the street and get trashed on bottles of wine at 10am on a Tuesday if I wanted. The “choices” I used to have –> reality: feeling worthless because no one was calling me to see if I was still alive (haha, not true, but still), hooking up with random guys hoping that one would see me as more than just a piece of ass. I had the choice to hook up or not — but was it really a choice, when I always felt so much pressure to find The One? I was miserable back then. I wanted a husband I could talk to, laugh with, love to pieces and get loved back. Someone I could cook for, watch movies with, be a best friend to. I loved my girlfriends, but all of them had someone to do those things with, and I wanted that desperately. AND TODAY, I HAVE THAT — I HAVE ALL OF THAT AND MORE. I HAVE EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED. So why am I so God damned miserable, longing for the days when I had nothing?!?! And it’s not the reality I was sharing with you (those pathetic nights in a crowded bar), it’s the allure of the freedom, the allure of those choices. The illusion of greener grass elsewhere. In reality, those things don’t exist. You just think that they do.
….I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with me. I’ve spent so much time getting to this place where I am that I never mourned the loss of the things I said goodbye to. The freedom to do what I wanted whenever I wanted, the choices I had back before I was set-in-stone committed to where I am, the possibilities of youth back when I didn’t have a history and all the pages in My Book Of Life were blank. When you get married and have babies, you grow your own family. You make the choice to disconnect yourself from the hundreds of other “networks” that you had given attention to before (your friends, your hobbies, yourself) so that you can start pouring all that energy into this new venture you’ve got. Because — HELLO! This is everything!! — but you don’t realize how much you need those other things until they are gone.
I love my husband, who is seriously the ying to my yang, and I love my son, who is the most adorable ornery little munchkinface ever. I love the life I have today and everything that these years have given me. But I don’t care who you are, it’s a sad day when you look at yourself in the mirror and see wrinkles, when you see what HAS BEEN instead of what HAS YET to be. There have been a few moments where I was questioning a lot of things in my life over the past month or more… If I had the chance, would I want to do any of these things differently? Would I want back that freedom, the choices, the untried and untested person I was? And you know what, the answer is always a resounding no. I may not be young and fun anymore, but I’m pretty damn cool the way I am now, and it’s because of all the shit I went through to get here.
So, crisis over. My shit is back together, officially now. Phase 3 is over, and we are now comfortably back in Phase 4. Thank you to everyone who helped me get back to this place where I belong. ❤