Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Courage to Change
That might have been a little cryptic and morbid in comparison to my normal opening, but stay with me here: Changing your life on purpose is hard. Being deliberate about your choices is hard. Doing what is right for yourself and the people you love... yep, hard too. Not because it isn't worth the end result but because it requires some level of change, a deviation from the life you've grown accustomed to. But you know what's even harder? Living a life that you don't feel good about. It goes back to that whole "nothing changes if nothing changes" scenario. It doesn't pay to be stagnant in this life, but when you're standing on the cliff looking down into the depths of a scary-new-unknown versus looking back to the comfortable-old-familiar, it's hard not to second guess yourself.
I find myself standing/teetering on that brink sometimes when I look back on the lifestyle I used to live versus the way I have decided to be now. The habits aren't the only thing that changed--I didn't just trade late nights boozing for early morning burpees or my once a week pint of Ben and Jerry's for a frozen banana with almond butter (which is, incidentally, freakin delicious). Everything changed, even my relationships changed. People look at you differently when you demand more from your life and from yourself. Some are impressed, others are jealous. Most of them won't understand--that's the hardest part. And they'll probably talk shit either way.
No matter what you'd like to believe, changing yourself means changing everything--and that means accepting the fact that some of the people in your life will choose to be left behind. Not all of them; some will watch you for awhile from a safe distance and then join in. Others will check in from time to time but stick with their old ideals, and that's okay too. But some will scoff at you and try to belittle the choices you make because they're not brave enough to do the same. Lead, follow, be dragged, or be cut loose; nobody needs deadweight in their life. It's hard to come to terms with the idea that a better life for yourself would actually deter people from wanting to be around you, but that is the cold hard truth kids.
Thankfully you will find a better and more solid network of people somewhere along the way if you just hold fast. Jump in and tread water for awhile, eventually someone is going to throw you a life preserver and help you make your way to a new spot where you'll find a whole bunch of new someone's--other people who had the courage to take that leap of faith and understand why you decided to show up. And no matter how many times you stumble (and stumble I have!) on that road to a better life, they will always be there to help you get back on your feet once you're ready.
I won't lie and say all of this is an easy transition for me; there are days where it's all I can do to keep myself from backpedaling for fear of the unknown. Spending so many years with the mindset that I didn't deserve the best that life had to offer has made it very difficult to shift that paradigm and realize that I do deserve anything that I'm willing to work for. That includes a healthy mind and body, a good relationship with someone who really loves me, and a happy (albeit completely crazy) household. I have allowed that self-deprecating mindset to be a crutch for my backsliding for so long, it just isn't worth it.
How much further along would I be if I had just believed in my heart a long time ago that I was entitled to more than just mediocrity? It isn't worth dwelling on, but it is a valid question. Now, I'm not much for doling out advice unless you need someone to tell you what not to do--then I could write you a GD book. But I do know that the only way to get where you want to go is by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, so that's what I'm going to do.