I’ve been thinking about putting my thoughts in to words (on a screen) for a while now, and now I’m finally attempting it. So here goes nothing!
The last few years have been quite hard, in a lot of different ways. Three years ago I came back from Spain, from having walked 800 km by myself ready to take charge and realty take control of my life. In the two months that followed, I lost two family members that meant the world to me. One was expected and one was brutally sudden. But both equally painful. I felt as if I lost everything that I had learned in Spain and I am so disappointed that I didn’t just take back control immediately. Instead I let myself reach an all time low that I never really recovered from. I started alienating myself from my friends and reached my heaviest weight to date. But mostly I just let time pass. I stopped writing and reading and traveling and just worked and slept. And watched Netflix. Don’t get me wrong, there have been good times too, but there’s always been this feeling of inadequacy in the back of my mind. Not just that I might not be good enough but also that I wasn’t doing enough with my life.
Last month was one of the hardest of my life. I had to endure things I never hoped I would happen and as a result; all the bad memories and feeling of inadequacy followed. Everything I’ve spent years trying to put behind me. It all came back – just like that. So I did the only thing I could think of to survive – I booked the first cheap ticket I could find. It landed me on the island of Karpathos, in Greece.
And I feel like it helped. I feel better, lighter. When I arrived I reached my hotel by bus and on the way I saw this tiny church up on a mountain. I thought about if for days and yesterday I decided to go look for it. I had to jump over a few fences, do a little climbing, fight of a few cats and even fell down a rock and scraped my knee but – it felt incredible. I was exploring again. Just me and my camera and the sunset. It was magical. That is the feeling I want my life to be, and I refuse to return home and fall into old patterns. Not this time. I’m to old to keep backing myself into corners. I have these wonderful memories from all my travels, people that I only spent a few days with but that taught me more than 14 years of education ever did. And I have a beautiful family, no matter what we have been through. And friends. And love. So it's just me..
When I left Plum village in Bordeaux, two years ago, they had a ceremony for us and gave us pointers on what we needed to focus one once we returned home. I forgot, but not this time. Tomorrow I will be heading home and I will try to remind myself everyday of these thoughts and aims. Maybe we can even remind each other.
01. Feeling good inside and out. Food has not been my friend and it’s time to cut down on the sugar. It needs to be true this time because I’m starting to worry on the effects it may have on my health (not just weight). I’ve always known what needs to be done but now, I will make a conscious effort to eat better and live better. And exercise! It clears the head which is my main focus and the rest will just be an added bonus. I don’t want to focus on anything that has to do with my weight; as long as I feel good the scale can say what wants.
02. Other people’s success is not your failure. I think this has become my mantra – changing the way I think when someone around me does something awesome has honestly been life-changing for me. It’s too easy to compare yourself to others, to feel like a failure when everyone around you is winning.
I like to keep reminding myself that we are not all on the same path, but that doesn’t mean we’re lost. We have different goals, different timelines and different ideals! We just have to keep moving forward. Probably the main thing I learned on the Camino de Santiago.
03. It’s nice to be nice. If there’s one thing this whole ordeal has taught me, it’s that you have NO idea what people are going through – their own personal battles. I didn’t really let on that I was struggling – with my weight, with two deaths in the family, with regrets of the past. I just kept to myself, it seemed like the easiest thing to do. Anyway, my point is that kindness and empathy and good vibes go a long way. And talking about someone behind their backs is just cowardly and childish and not something we should waste our time on.
04. Saying yes! These past few years, I feel as if I turned down everything. Everything. I said no to trips, to hangs with friends, to events, to opportunities, to plans. It got me nowhere. Obviously, I was struggling with myself and I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone, but I still regret it a lot. From now on, I want be a yes girl! I want to do fun things; meet people… do everything I said no to before! Shifting my thought process really..
05. Don’t be so hard on myself. This is something I need to tell myself over and over, I am truly my own worst enemy! I definitely do have quite a self-deprecating sense of humor, but I feel like I really need to stop picking on myself all the damn time. So what if everything doesn’t look exactly like what I want it to. So what if I still haven’t lost weight. So what?
06. No one cares. No one cares that you didn’t wash your hair today, no one cares that you have a little roll when you sit down because your skirt digs in. No one cares that you get nervous telling stories even in little groups, that you’re probably lifting that barbell wrong in the gym, or that you feel out of place around certain people.
Everyone is too busy worrying about his or her own things to worry about what you’re doing. It took me so long to realize this, and when I did it was a revelation! Why hone in on these small details when no one else gives a shit?
I’m going to make a conscious effort to be someone who makes a difference – someone who is fun to be around, who makes other people feel good about themselves and makes an effort with it comes to friendships and plans and being a lovely person.
Tomorrow is Thursday the 16th of June. Who’s with me on turning over a new leaf?!
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