Monday, September 12, 2011
Looking Forward, Looking Back
Bald River Falls, Cherokee National Forest
Tellico Plains, TN - September 8, 2011
I will tell you that this is not the post I had planned for this morning. But sometimes, there are so many emotions in a span of 24 hours that point one in a different direction, it finally becomes impossible to ignore. My thoughts are all in a jumble, but I have been able to reach a few conclusions and in sharing them with Mr. B, have reached a calm sense of peace about the challenge set before me. Now I share them with you.
Like everyone else in this country, I have spent many moments remembering September 11, 2001. What I was doing, what I was feeling, the disbelief at what I was seeing and the horror of comprehension. But in my own unique way of looking at things, I chose to spend more time looking forward than in looking back. And I have been searching for the way that I can personally and privately honor all those who lives were lost by making changes in my own life that reflect my level of care and compassion for those around me, the country in which I live and the world at large.
I believe that has to start right in the very core of who I am and radiate outwardly from deep within. For the most part, I am content with who I am, the values I hold dear, the goals I have achieved and the ones toward which I am working. But the one with which I continue to struggle is the inability to find my way back to goal weight. I am not obese and I am still very proud of the fact that I have NOT regained even half the weight I lost in 2006.2007. But I have gained enough to tell it in my energy level and stamina, not to mention my clothes. I have stopped and started way too many times. And that is what frustrates me. I make up my mind to do it. Convince myself of all the facts and truly grasp that a few months of concentrated effort is all it would take. But I continue to make poor choices.
About a year ago, I began following a blog that has nothing to do with weight loss or healthy eating. It is a hiking blog that I happened upon when I "googled" the name of a specific hike that I was planning to do and looking for accounts written by folks who had actually done it. Royce's blog popped up, his trail narrative was very helpful and I began following his quest to hike all the trails in the Smokies and his journey with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Royce lives just over the mountain from me in North Carolina, so most of the places he talks about in his blog are places with which I am familiar. I'd noticed that it had been awhile since he had posted, so was excited yesterday afternoon when a new post popped up in my reader. Here is a link to that post, but it was this sentence about midway through the post that gave me pause and then shook me to the very core, "I am however finally disappointed to announce that I can no longer hike. I have the energy to do so and the will power, I just lack the ability to walk down hill without pain." Not very long ago, Royce was an athlete whose efforts put my meager hiking accomplishments to shame. And here he is announcing to his readers that a horrid disease has forced him to end his quest for a goal that had become very important to him. My heart breaks for he and his wife, Natalie.
How can I, just a normal everyday Tennessee hillbilly, honor Royce's efforts and the life of each soul who died ten years ago yesterday? How can I pay my respects to their families? How can I tell them I care?
Royce Cowen does not have a choice. The people who died on 9/11 did not choose to die. Their families did not choose to have their lives forever changed.
But I do have a choice and I choose to honor all of those people, their families and Royce Cowan by exercising a level of care and compassion that starts with ME. I cannot be fully content with who I am until my weight is where I want it to be. I have been there - I know what it feels like. And I want it back. I have a choice and it grieves me more than I can express in words to think that my choices are right in front of me to do with as I please. When others have NO choice, I willfully continue making such poor ones. But starting now, my choice is to work toward the goal until I can say, "it is finished."
Mr. B has pledged his support as he always does. It is 16 weeks from yesterday to New Year's Day. That's plenty of time to accomplish great things. I know - I've done it before. And I've done it in that timeframe at this exact time of year.
I had to do something. This is what I can do.