Hey there! Today in my challenge group, one of my fellow amazing coaches posted a face to face Friday shot, and inspired me to do the same. I fell down the rabbit hole of my own Facebook pictures from way back when, and I came across the photo on the left. It got me thinking about how much I’ve changed since then, both physically and emotionally.
The girl on the left was a party girl. Not just the typical go out and have a few beers with her friends party girl- I was the type of girl that rounded up friends to go out on a Tuesday night when I had an 8 am class the next morning. The kind of girl who would try to find the next party after the bar closed at 2 am. The kind of girl who would lay in bed hungover with bloodshot eyes and dirty feet until 6 pm on a Sunday afternoon, only getting up to answer the door when the delivery guy showed up. I remember drinking entire pitchers of Long Island iced tea on my own (my fellow Penn State grads know exactly the place I’m referring to), then going about my business like it was nothing (if I did that today, I’m pretty sure I would die). I would overdraw my checking account on nights out without a second thought. My well-being in general was awful, to say the least. I was plagued with anxiety every time I woke up the morning after one of those wild nights, and instead of digging into what was causing the anxiety, I would just shut up those feelings by going out and doing it again. I would get sick all the time. I ate out more often than I didn’t. I was constantly loaded with caffeine. I was always exhausted and nervous.
This isn’t to say that I was a total disaster- I had good grades (I shudder with regret when I think about what my grades could have been if I had my life together), I was able to pull in scholarships, and I had solid friendships. I kept jobs and (occasionally) made myself go to the gym to spend half an hour on the elliptical, and maybe I would play around with the weights a little bit. I ate something green every once in awhile, and I would go to yoga with my friends (usually heading to a pizza place afterwards).
I wish I could say that something clicked for me and I suddenly decided not to live that lifestyle anymore, but I suppose if there were a magic way to cause that kind of drastic, awesome change, everyone would know about it by now. It was a series of slow (like over years and years) changes that led me to living my life the way that I do now. I realized it wasn’t fun to throw away Sundays anymore- I had things to do. For quite some time, I tried to blend my old lifestyle with the type of life I knew I wanted to lead. I would stay out until 2 am, AND go to church on Sunday morning. I would drop $80 at a boozy Saturday brunch, then meal plan for the week later in the day (astounded at what I had done to my food budget for the week).
There were a few things that clicked for me in the past few years:
- I wanted to feel good.
- I didn’t want to feel anxious.
- I wanted to feel financially secure.
- I wanted to be proud of how I looked.
There is a quote that put all of this into perspective for me a few years ago, when my changes really started to shape my life.
The things I wanted had to become more important to me than all the other garbage. I had to want to feel good, emotionally and physically, more than I wanted to go out and drink martinis until the sun came up. I had to want to pad my savings account more than I wanted to eat out every night. I wanted to live a happy life more than I wanted to indulge in things that made me happy for the short duration of the time I was enjoying them.
If you would have told me that I’d be happier at 30 than I was at 20, I never would have believed you. At 20, I thought I was at the pinnacle of my life- carefree, doing what I wanted when I wanted to do it, no rules, no worries. In reality, I was desperately insecure, seeking relief from anxiety in any way I could get it, and subsequently dealing with consequences that were sending me into a downward spiral.
The girl on the right is in the type of healthy marriage that she thought only existed in movies. The girl on the right wakes up happy and ready for the day. The girl on the right had educated herself about finances and knows how when to splurge and when to adjust the budget. The girl on the right enjoys nights out in ways that don’t destroy her body and her emotional health. The girl on the right enjoys fueling her body with things that make life better, not worse. The girl on the right knows that exercise is a key to health, and gets it done, even when she doesn’t feel like it (real exercise- not the 20 minutes on the elliptical once a month stuff of the past). The girl on the right has figured out that life is about balance, and balance can be pretty amazing.
If you are living a life that you are not happy with, it does not have to be that way. It is never too late to make a change. It is never too late to make your life what you want it to be.
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