Sunday, May 21, 2017

Every single day

Person who is running away from
 "okay" and toward "enough"
Last week, I spent a couple of hours at the salon where, if things go well, I leave with an inspired mind and not just a barely changed haircut and a nail color which is always some shade of cranberry. 
My stylist/pedicurist is a quiet, sweet person with a good sense of humor and an excellent sense of when to talk and when not to. 
As she worked, I noticed that she looked different – healthy, rested, etc. But then I noticed that she looked, actually, radiant, a word I use very, very sparingly because like others you get from the word choice drive-thru – it might fill up your sentence but there are better choices. She shined like many women do when they're a few weeks pregnant and have not started to get sick and miserable yet. 
I know she went through a sad and unexpected break-up a few months ago. She had not updated me, nor had I asked about it, but I suspected there was some connection to that upheaval and so I said, "You look really, really good. Is something going on?" 
She shared that she'd spontaneously decided to run a 5K. 
"All of a sudden, I just wanted to," she said.  
She described the obstacles that she had to face down.  It was more exercise than she'd ever had and it was harder than she expected. But she'd been surprised at the determination that seemed to come from nowhere. She changed her diet. She drank no alcohol outside of the weekend. She started drinking a lot of water and went to bed early every night. She started planning her meals and cooking for herself. She lost weight. She went to the gym every day. 
"Every single day?" I asked 
Because, there are people who do go to the gym every single day and never say they do because they don't want to seem freakish to the rest of us, which they are. 
She stopped painting and looked at me. "Every. Single Day." 

She said she's never felt better.
I told her I was proud of her, and she thanked me for knowing what a big deal it was and I got misty and that's as close as I want to come to crying at the salon. 
The timing was interesting because I have been wanting to drop a few lines here about perseverance, resilience and determination for two reasons. First, because I love writing about those things so much I have to stop myself. And second, because I know a handful of people who right now, are facing times of change that aren't going to be easy. 
However much I paid for some lesson I can offer, anything is worth more if it's used more than once.  
Here we go. 
Changing your life
Any change is possible – big or small – if you pick a tiny thing that takes you toward it and do it every single day.
Just one tiny thing.
Every single day.
When you've made it part of how you live, pick another.
Don't do anything else. 
Standing up to disapproval
When you hear disapproval in someone's remark or question or see it in a facial expression, or when someone makes a joke that is meant to actually make a point, and says "I was just kidding," here is what you should do: 
Look straight at them and say, as if you are asking them if they need something at the store, "What are you actually trying to say to me?" 
It's non-threatening, it's calm, but mostly it's you taking care of yourself.  
Tough times
When your worst, most painful times end, and you are left feeling not defeated but strong, and feel not relief but joy, you are something a million times better than lucky which is - resilient. 
Regrets
Some of us look back with guilt, shame, or embarrassment over something we said or did, but that is the direct result of growing and changing for the better. Every time you groan over a thing you said - and I've said some doozies - understand that if you were the same person, you wouldn't have any problem at all with the way you acted . 
Fulfillment
In my twenties, there were two kinds of pressure: 
1) Find a good job and claw your way to the top 
2) Be yourself. 
I'm sure it left a good part of my cohort conflicted. Many who were successful but not fulfilled began to behave like they'd been lied to. 
Would that we could just wake up and go get fulfilled because it's what everyone tells us to do. In reality, of course,  fulfillment is like confidence in that it results from something else. 
Confidence comes from doing a hard thing well.
Fulfillment comes from proximity to a thing or place or relationship that so connects you with the best parts of yourself, you have no interest in looking for something better. 
Enough
My stylist's success in customizing her own makeover, pushing through the old to get to the new, reminded me again of how we can, at all times, every single day, learn to be ourselves in full. 
But it takes some honest time in front of the mirror. It takes courage to face an "okay" life and know that more is needed to make it enough. When we're brave enough to face that, it takes faith to believe we're more equipped than we think to act on it. 

And then, take the chance that we're right..


15 comments:

  1. What a terrific way to start the week! I love what you have to say here--and couldn't agree more with all the points you make so eloquently. Each day--each moment--is another opportunity to become more fully ourselves. How great is that???

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    1. Thank you, Roxanne! I love hearing that something here has boosted a mood out​ there. Enjoy your whole self today!

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  2. I loved this post, it's sincere and TRUE. I'm sure there is someone out there who is going to read this and light bulb will go off in their head, all thanks to you.

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  3. Gigi, thank you. It would be nice if that happens...change can be hard but a lot of us have been there and come through it more gently with patience and purpose.

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  4. This is great advice, and I particularly love the part where you suggest saying "what are you trying to say to me." My husband, who is a straight shooter, says that all of the time.
    Estelle

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    1. It used to be so hard for me to do that. Not anymore. I knew an old cranky lady once who used to say "Life is short. Spit it out." It still makes me laugh.

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  5. I wish I could be more like your stylist. When I make changes, it's always more gradual and without the passionate dedication that your stylist showed in going to the gym everyday. But, I doggedly stick to good habits (more or less) over time. If I get to the gym 3 or 4 days a week, I pat myself on the back and keep going.

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    1. I agree, I no longer shoot for binge or turbo changes. I too, maybe to a fault, attach to what works.

      What I like most about my stylist's action is that she channeled sadness into improvement and will do it again and again in her life because she saw what it did for her.

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  6. Wow. I need to learn from this. It's something I always aspired to. Making fitness a daily must, like brushing your teeth. OK. Time to make some commitments. Thanks for sharing this story!

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    1. I struggle to do that, too. I am better since I pulled some meditation into the process because I need that almost every day for other reasons and it helps.

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  7. I needed to read this today. First, thank you for the lovely words you left on my blog, and second, the timing for this writing couldn't be more needed in my life. Thank you.

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    1. That is great to know, Glenda. It means so much to think i wrote something came at the right time for someone else. XO

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  8. One small change everyday...Powerful and yet we seem to go all in when we try to do something and before long, fail. This will be what I will start today. One small change to work toward that 20 pound loss. Thank you! Great post!!

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  9. Big change can be so overwhelming, but you're right, when we try to do it all overnight, it can be a path to giving up. Good luck with that impressive goal and don't forget to celebrate your success in making those tiny changes alone. They add up. Thank you for visiting, Lori!

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  10. I loved this post. You reminded me that it is the small things that make a big difference. How simple is it you drink more water, get our rest, eat good food and of course, move? Those small bites of the big elephant are all that it takes. Thank you for the inspiration!

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