I've been bumping into a lot of information lately about resolutions, finding your authentic self, the secret to changing your life, etc. Transformation is often the focus of January, as resolutions come and, very often, go. And I ran across an article that Sandra Magsamen of Living Artfully wrote for Oprah.com that talks about not making yourself over this year (or any other year for that matter) and just learning to BE. I agree with her thoughts, as I see life as a journey, not a "do-over" every year, starting at Jan. 1 and ending at Dec. 31.
As I read her post, I was struck by the fact that she's encouraging you to be who you are while encouraging you to make changes in your life to reflect who you are (or discover who you are). She talks about being on a journey to create ourselves, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. Where I'm not in total agreement with her is where she makes the assumption that "You have put a lot of time, consideration, and heart into all the decisions you've made to create the one and only you." Depending on how you look at it, some people may not have honestly put a lot of time, consideration, and heart into creating who they are, they might just discover themselves there, and they need to have someone or something challenge them to consider what a new, different them might be.
For many years, my weight was slowly creeping up on me. I wasn't watching what I ate and I wasn't exercising. I occasionally thought I was putting "a lot of time, consideration, and heart into ... creating the one and only me", but I was making up the rules as I went (exercise for 30 minutes, follow up with ice cream) and there weren't many rules. Amazingly (she says sarcastically), I wasn't seen results. It took some honest and, at the time, hurtful words from a friend for me to realize what I was doing was just pretending to put forth effort. That kick-in-the-pants comment, someone else suggesting that a "new, different me" was possible, helped me find the motivation internally to take a long, hard look at myself and realize that I was just fooling myself if I thought that my former strategies would ever have been effective. I sought out external guidance to educate me on how I could stop pretending and actually make an intelligent and successful change. Here I am, almost three years later, having kept off the 20 pounds that I lost. It took work to get here, and it took me wanting to change the "me" I was into a different, new "me"—not necessarily trade in who I was lock, stock, and barrel, but improve who I was physically. As I worked to lose the weight, I learned about myself. I learned I was stronger than I thought. I learned I had discipline. I learned that I had to take control of and accept responsibility for my decisions. I learned that a walk with a friend can be fun and that a walk alone allows you time to decompress and that both are enjoyable. Am I done with this physical journey? Nope. I still want to be in better shape, and I know I'll have to make an effort to do that, as it's not easy for me. I'm not driven by any Hollywood image of what I should weigh. I'm driven by wanting to be healthy now so that it's easier to stay healthy as I get older. I want to be healthy for as many years as I can—I have a lot of supplies in that craft room of mine and I want to get time to work with all of them! (Yes, I know, I'll need to live to 150!)
I share that story because it's the first place Sandra's story took me, but it wasn't the final reason I'm sharing her posting with you. Sandra also got me thinking about a piece of paper that recently surfaced while going through some papers--a note about having a goal. My goal from early in 2007 was to learn more about blogging. And several of the points in Sandra's blog entry, such as "BElieve in yourself," "BEgin today," and "BEcome what you dream to be" address my journey of the last year. My blog started as a little bud of an idea—a "what if" that was based in some scribblings made at a trade show. Sometimes, when you're away from the office, you have time to think and process in ways that you don't have when a deadline is looming or a computer screen is flashing meetings and deadlines before your eyes. Your mind has a chance to process what it's seeing and spit out ideas like the fortune teller machine in the movie Big did. And before I'd even read the encouraging words that Sandra shared, I "BEgan today," by sharing my thoughts, and I discovered that I could make something happen.