Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Looking for the Lightning...

I love this time of year. September rolled in over the plains last week and brought with it the clear sunny days and crisp cool nights of fall, with a pleasant little shower or two thrown in wetting things down enough that I didn’t have to water my lawn (my pathetic, scorched, gasping lawn). This transition time between summer and autumn, when that perfect combination of open windows and lots of covers on the bed makes for the best sleep I’ll get all year (which is totally worth the inevitable teeth-chattering sprint into a hot shower when the alarm goes off) is my favorite season-that-isn't-technically-a-season.

When the oppressive heat of the typical mid-western summer starts to lift (Q: What did the humidity say to the heat? A: It’s not you, It’s ME.), everything around here looks a little brighter. The leaves begin to change colors, the smell of BBQ grills and wood burning fire pits fill the air at dusk, crowds gather to watch padded boys and men of all ages toss around the pigskin, and suddenly I’ve got to find another source of white noise to get to sleep because the constant hum of the air conditioner is missing from the soundtrack of the night.

It always feels like a renaissance to me, when people begin to come out of the off-season hibernation period and emerge from the cool shelter of their homes into a world that no longer threatens to melt them into the pavement if they linger too long in the merciless sun. All of a sudden we’re making excuses to leave the house, reminding each other to take a jacket just in case we need it, and things like mowing the lawn or running to the grocery store don’t feel court ordered punishment anymore. People seem happier, less grumpy, like they’re no longer weighed down by the never ending heat.

And me? I feel good too.

A good friend of mine at the office keeps a basket of candy on her desk, and when she noticed yesterday that her supplies for it were running low, she asked me what she could buy to fill it that wouldn’t tempt me too much. It was such a thoughtful question, borne out of her concern and support for my ongoing battle with the fat (and probably due in no small part to the day I had a run in with a particularly dastardly confection in that very basket). I surprised myself a little by immediately replying “Anything is fine with me, nothing tempts me that much lately.” And I wasn’t just being polite. I actually MEANT it.

Since May of this year, I’ve been back on my weight loss game with a focus and drive that continues to amaze me. It’s not so much the fact that it exists that I find fascinating, but rather that it’s a different feeling than I’ve ever had before. It’s not completely unfamiliar, but it’s not the old feeling I longed to get back for so long either. It’s something totally new, which is a bit of a surprise. I always hoped that if the chaos of the last few years finally abated (and I wasn’t always sure it would, to be honest) that I’d be able to get back where I was before, that those old fires would start to burn again and I’d pick up right where I left off. But that didn’t happen.

When I was finally able to focus on my weight loss goals again, things looked different from my new vantage point. I’d learned a few new things along the way, lessons taken from my successes and won from my failures as well. When I decided that I was ready to get back on the wagon, I took a different seat than I had the last time I’d climbed onto it. The road was the same as it had always been, the map was full of the same landmarks and symbols and the route was clearly marked…but the view wasn’t the same. It wasn’t bad, in fact it was pretty darn good. But something had changed--and eventually I realized what was different this time around:

It was ME.

Motivation is a tricky beast, and many a weight loss journey (or most, if not damn near all of them) have seen setback or two. Or seven. And inevitably when get back down to the business of losing we find ourselves longing for the way things were back when it was all fresh and new, when we felt invincible and couldn’t imagine why we waited so long to take control. We retrace our steps, stretch our arms to the heavens and beg for lightning to strike us again…and it doesn’t. It can’t.

It’s true what they say: lightning never strikes in the same place twice. But that only matters if YOU stay in the same place, and if you keep moving it can strike again. It won’t be exactly the way it was the first time, but you won’t be the same person you were the first time either. You may never forget that first strike, but take it from me--new lightning packs one hell of a jolt.


  1. Sara, I'm so happy you're back to yourself. I can't tell you the number of times I came to this blog during the past year, looking for you. I missed you!

    Glad you're happy and doing well. :)

  2. I love the fall. The crisp mornings and warm afternoons just make me come alive.

    You did better than I would have on the treat basket. I would have suggested something like, "how about liver and onions?" Or "3 year old Christmas fruit cake?"

    I'm glad you've found the groove. It's sure feels good when you're feeling it.

  3. Gr8 post. I love the entire thing. WE are behind what happens to us. Our motivations will always be the key, long term.

    Love that you "jumped back on the wagon!"


  4. I love this post! Thank you for following my blog, Sara. I look forward to following you on your journey too. Good luck! *HUGS*