Years ago, I lost quite a lot of weight over a relatively short period of time (20kg over about six months). Despite the obvious physical changes, it took quite some time for my head to adjust to the ‘new’ me. For years, I continued to buy clothing a size too large or loose styles that covered problem area that no longer existed. My mind took some time to catch up with a new physical reality.
The past couple of years, and particularly the past year, have brought about some significant changes and I have had similar issues trying to get my head in synch with what is happening around me. My life has changed and I have changed, but I’m still trying to do the same things. It’s no surprise that things aren’t going so well.
So, I’ve forced myself to take a reality check. There are lots of areas in my life that need adjusting, but most come down to accepting that my abilities, tolerances and interests have changed. I’ve spent so much of the past year feeling frustrated, guilty, annoyed, resentful, embarrassed and upset. I feel like I’m letting others down and I know that I’ve let myself down more times than I care to remember. I haven’t lived up to my own expectations and I’ve felt pressured and overwhelmed by the expectations of others.
My head is tryin to maintain all my old habits, commitments and routines while my heart feels like it is trying to achieve a completely different list of priorities and the conflict is causing me nothing but grief. I am way past the point when a reality check was necessary. So much of my heartache in the past year could have been avoided or at least minimised if I had simply accepted that I am not the same person I was a few years ago. The challenges I have faced have changed me and I am simply not able to function any more in the same way I did then.
It’s not just the deep and meaningful changes either. I’m no longer a 33-year-old mother of three under five. I’m 40, my children are all at school and within the next few months I will become the mother of a teenager (Heaven help me). I’ve had some complicated physical health issues to deal with in the past few years and some confronting emotional and mental health issues to deal with in the past 12 months. The demands of my family and my own body are changing.
It’s not all doom and gloom, of course. I’ve let go of a lot of hang-ups in the past 12 months particularly. I’ve rediscovered a side of myself that I haven’t let out of the box for years. Ironically as I’ve hit emotional lows, I’ve also found hidden strengths and a long ignored sense of fun and appreciation for simply enjoying the moment. Red lipstick, sparkly red stilettos, getting my old lady groove on at a Hall & Oates concert, dip dyeing my hair – I’ve regained an appreciation for the random moments that make life so enjoyable, even in the midst of challenges. My children, as always, remain a source of incredible pride and joy.
How does everyone else deal with the times when you need to take stock of your life? Does anyone need to stop occasionally to reorient themselves after major life challenges or am I the only one who can’t make these adjustments on the run? Does anyone struggle to make important decisions or changes because people around them don’t seem to be able to adjust to the fact that you can no longer meet their expectations?