For the 2nd year in a row, I have welcomed the New Year by being sick. Not how I intended things to go – either year – but little children and their stomach bugs seem destined to take me down occasionally. Not much to be done about it when #aunting is a routine part of life.
Last year, the illness came on hard, knocked me on my ass, and kept me down for almost two months. A body that was worn out, hurting, unhealthy and a soul trending toward gloomy didn’t help, either. It wasn’t until February that I bought some vitamins, took a deep mental breath, and set a goal. With a big summer Canadian adventure on the horizon, I vowed I would “get better by Banff” (what can I say, I like alliteration). Better health, better fitness, and most importantly, better state of mind. Not best. Not perfect. Just better. And I did.
This year, the fruits of that hard work meant that this bout of illness seems *mostly* over, and thought I felt a bit of my spring-in-the-step pep coming back today, I don’t quite trust my stomach 100% just yet. So it’s the perfect time to keep sitting on my couch and write a rambling post ushering 2019 out and thinking about 2020.
Yesterday, the US assassinated an Iranian foreign leader with drone strike. I feel it’s worth mentioning this just to put some of these ramblings into the “not-all-that-important” context where they truly belong, but since it’s been a long time since I studied powder kegs in world affairs, and I have no power over global geopolitics, I will just write about what I know.
It turns out that lying around feeling like crap is a good time to sort through some stuff. Like, for example, how I feel about the changes I’ve made to my eating and exercise habits recently. Or more specifically, how I feel about outsiders’ reactions to their results. You see, I have lost weight from these changes, enough that it’s noticeable. I’ve gotten more “you look greats!” on social media than I have in years, and my parents can’t stop remarking on the difference they see in me.
I’ve had some consternation about this, because I believe that praise for losing weight, while almost always well-intentioned, can create a cycle of negativity when the visible results stop or reverse, which, less face it, is statistically likely to happen to me at some point (statistics, and the fact that I still like my burgers and potato chips, dammit!). Because while losing weight is great, I am trying to make changes that, ultimately, make me FEEL better long-term, so that I am able to keep hiking and exercising and trying new nutrition tricks and generally working to undo decades of shame and failure when it comes to my body.
I also believe whole-heartedly that our society’s obsession with physical appearance is ridiculous and unhealthy and that there are a million other ways to acknowledge someone’s beauty and worth other than saying “wow – you look great because there is less of you than there was before.” At one point over the break, my mom was giving me “that look” as I came in, sweaty and gross, from a quick run, but she surprised me by saying “you look like an athlete!” Considering I was done up in all my gear, she wasn’t wrong, but then she said “you move like one too.” People, that little sentence sent joy singing into my heart, because how do athletes move? With confidence and strength…and you’re damn right, that’s 100% how I want to move. Thanks, Mom!
Anyway, the moral of all this musing is that I’m ok with the compliments, because I am trying to lose weight and it feels good to be celebrated for succeeding after many years of failing. But I still urge everyone to think of other ways to lift people up, because the odds are against pretty much everyone who is trying to lose weight. And, newsflash to fat shamers or those who “just want to be helpful” by pointing out when someone isn’t having success – feeling bad about yourself doesn’t help. Feeling GOOD, even though you’re still fat, even though you have a long way to go, is VITAL to the process, as I and anyone else who had any bit of success will tell you.
Another thing I pondered while alternating naps with Marvel movies was how I’m really not into New Year’s resolutions this year. Mine are usually about losing weight, and I’m already on that path, so as I scrolled through everyone’s 2019 recaps and 2020 vows, I admit to a bit of resolution snobbery. Everyone with their “one words” and “intentional living” and all that. But it turns out that I am not above the hype. Because, just in the last day or so, I’ve realized that I do intend to make a change in 2020.
As you all know, I have had some epic adventures in the last few years. From two-week journeys to Paris and France to slot canyons and the Canadian Rockies…good grief, I have been lucky and seen some amazing places. For the record, I have no intention of stopping these epic adventures.
However, I finally, while convalescing, diagnosed something that’s been niggling at me lately. I realized that I have put so much of my energy and attention onto the big adventures, the ones that take me to new places and up new mountains and whatnot, that I tend to give the others shorter shrift, when those other, smaller adventures hold the same potential to teach me things and bring me joy.
So, as I head into 2020, I guess that’s what I want to work on; being more present in the moments that are not an epic adventure. This means taking my camera on more family trips, and seeking weekend adventures with friends – just to be together – in all corners of the country, whether I’ve been there or not. And recognizing that I have to love the world I come home to, or all that fun is just a poor attempt to fill a gap in my life that can’t be filled, no matter how many mountains I climb.
So there you have it, folks. Now, this wouldn’t be a Jodi post if I didn’t share some pictures, so I have given just a few moments of thought to my favorite images of the last year, and jeez there are so many. But here are two of my favorites.
Happy 2020 everyone. I wish you all health and joy in your own worlds this year. Much love to you.
Oh and PS: Sadie remains the best dog on the planet, and she wishes you Happy New Year, too. She wonders when you’re going to come by and bring treats.