Friday night we were sitting at dinner when Maddie read a riddle for me to solve:
What always runs but never walks, often murmurs but never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats? I knew the answer but I let her tell me anyway (#momwin). As we waited for our friends and my O’Douls to arrive, I thought about what a clever little riddle that was.
The following thoughts waited until I was lying on my yoga mat the next morning and they’ve stuck with me ever since.
Life is like a river. As I lay there, and in the hours since, I just can’t shake the analogy. I know it’s cheesy, but bear with me.
A river generally starts either from a spring or a mountain run off. I suppose this could be considered your birth, or re-birth, whatever you like. It flows slow at times and then more rapidly, gaining speed over rocks and ledges, maybe tumbling off falls then landing in a pool of serene, calm water. Maybe it stagnates in a pond or lake but eventually moves on through tributaries finding a different path or possibly leading back to the main one. Eventually, even though it’s taken many twists and turns, it empties out in to the great lake or ocean it was meant to end up in.
The past 90 days has been a portion of that river of life for me, but also one in it’s entirety. It started out as one thing and ended as something completely different than what I was expecting.
I went back and read that first post on Day Zero today. I remember where I was when I wrote it, both physically and mentally. I was actually drinking wine, sitting in my kitchen. (Pretty sure I failed to mention the drinking wine part.) I can feel it in my bones now how frightened and vulnerable I felt. But also so fed up with my current situation. I had gotten real sick of being the victim.
And, man, could I throw a good pity party. I’ll bring the wine!
As I reflect today, I can see myself riding in that canoe down this river. The times where I paddled so hard against the current on Shit Creek, eventually wearing myself out enough, I surrendered and threw out the paddle, the canoe naturally righting itself. I hit some rapids, peacefully glided along a shallow riverbed and got stuck in a lake for a while. But, no matter where that boat took me, I ended up right here, just like it was meant to be.
I’m still the same person.
I won’t lie. I started this journey wanting to be a “better” version of Katy. I thought this would finally be the solution to my weight “problem”. I thought the bags under my eyes would go away. I thought I would be a better mom, a better friend, a better wife, a better employee.
The truth is I’m not any better at any of those things. Did I break some nasty habits? Yes. Did I become more aware of my surroundings, how my actions affected others and my negative self-chatter? Yes. Do I have more energy? Yes. But I didn’t change. And I am so okay with that today.
But it is true that some things got better:
- I lost 17.2 lbs.
- I fit in to clothes I haven’t in years.
- I sleep better than I ever have.
- I can cross my legs comfortably.
- I can tie my shoes easily.
- I can put my hands on my hips.
- I have inspired (more than one) someone.
- My house is (mostly) clean 50% of the time.
- I have accomplished more in the last 90 days than I have in the last 9 years.
- I am more present with my kids and have noticed things in their personalities I was just not paying attention to before.
- I have allowed myself to receive some pretty amazing opportunities that I might have not recognized as even a possibility.
Those are just the things I can put my finger on today. The effects of this will benefit me long after Day 90.
Now, let’s get real here for a moment (in case you didn’t think I was already). There’s a chance tomorrow morning will come around and I’ll say fuck it and have a bloody mary after my kids get on the bus. It’s unlikely, but there is a chance. And if I thought I wouldn’t beat myself up for the next week, I just might.
But, here’s the thing, I haven’t quite mastered my mean girl. For now, she’s quiet and obedient, but I’m guessing she’s just being very patient, just waiting for an opening.
What I’ve realized is that this wasn’t really about the alcohol, it was the relationship with myself that was so unhealthy. Sure, the depressant qualities of it certainly played a role and helped keep me in a destructive cycle, but it wasn’t to blame. It was just the closest thing I chose to medicate with.
Medicate what? Well, now I’m not so sure.
My circumstances have not changed. I have as much to be thankful for today as I did on January 1st; no more, no less. I have the same history I’ve always had; the same mistakes, regrets, indiscretions, betrayals, losses, abdonments. And for 90 days I didn’t need medication for them; just a deep breath, a shoulder shrug and a good ‘ole who gives a fuck?
But I know some of you do.
And, I am so very grateful for those of you that have followed along. Whether you reached out personally, liked a post or stalked me from your wife’s phone ;), your support has not gone unnoticed.
If I can leave this 90 days, and you, with this piece of unsolicited advice I’ll feel my work is done here.
You are the most important person in your life. You’re more important than your kids or your spouse/partner or your work or your hobbies. And I know some of you are rolling your eyes and saying yah, yah, yah because I did that too. But I’m fucking serious here. If you do not take care of yourself, your body or mind, but probably both, will shut down on you. You’ll end up drinking or spending or cheating or sad or bitter or sick or dead. And then what good will you be to all those people and things you’re putting before yourself?
Self-care is not self-ish.
And don’t tell me you don’t have the time. Time is relative. If you want to use “I don’t have time” as an excuse, at least cowboy up and just admit you don’t want to do it. It’s okay. But for the love of all things holy, find something you like, make a commitment for two weeks and do it. If it’s naps, accept that you need it, don’t feel guilty about it and dream a little dream for me. It doesn’t have to be the thing everyone else is doing or thinks you should do. Think out of the box. Because we all know opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one
I told you I’d wait to the end to get preachy. It is one of my favorite pastimes.
I don’t know what Day 91 will bring. I know my plan is to sleep like a baby tonight, go to yoga in the morning, take my dog to the groomer, come home to a clean house (cause it’s cleaning lady day!), work at my favorite coffee shop, maybe nap and go on a date with my husband.
But for now, I am going to snuggle with my kids, finish my ice cream cone and be thankful I gave myself this 90 day gift.