Happy Anniversary!

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of weekly weigh-ins and postings on Jenion.  On Thanksgiving Day, 2009, I stepped on the scale and clicked a pic of my weight to begin the Hunger Challenge (which lasted until Easter and resulted in over $1700 raised for Horizon’s Meals on Wheels).  Interestingly, after a year of Thursday postings, I will not be able to post tomorrow — hence this early Anniversary edition of Jenion!

The worlds of books, movies, and blogs are full of stories of people who set out to change their lives, giving themselves a certain time-frame in which to accomplish this difficult task.  (I just read one titled, “A Year of Making My Own Bread”).  I have become a sucker for such stories, and more importantly, the quests which drive them.  However, when I began this blog and the Hunger Challenge, I wasn’t consciously aware of the desire to change my life.  I was only aware that I wanted and needed to lose weight, and would be more likely to do so if I devised a method of keeping myself accountable.  I was moved by news reports of the increase in Americans living in hunger (or who are food insecure), and put the two together in a way that seemed to make sense to me.  As you know, the result has been a true transformation of my life.

A big part of this transformation has been the result of learning some valuable things about myself, others, the world we live in.  In honor of this one-year anniversary, I’d like to share 12 of these insights, one for each month of my journey (in no particular order):

  • Success doesn’t bring happiness, happiness brings success.  In a world of people striving for success, I want to make the case for happiness as the priority.  Perhaps it seems counterintuitive, but in my experience, the more room I’ve created for joy in my life, the more success I’ve experienced in reaching my goals.
  • Sing, and the world sings with you.  And I am not just talking about the karaoke bar, here.  When you exude high energy, it calls forth high energy in others.  When you are in the “feeling place” of abundance, the world around you experiences abundance, too.
  • If you ask for what you need from others, they will try to give it to you.  After spending most of my life hiding my neediness from others, it comes as a deep revelation that sharing my needs is the only way to allow others to help me meet them.  And as I’ve shared, the amazing people who have come forward and offered of themselves has been humbling, and inspires me to give to others in return.
  • You are exactly as strong as you choose to be.  Now, the caveat here is that I am talking about people who, like myself, are not in the throes of major life issues (personality disorders, chemical imbalances, domestic violence in relationships, etc.).  I have normal life stressors, not extraordinary ones.  I can choose to let these stressors and problem situations overwhelm me, or not.  I’ve discovered that I have always had the strength to change my life — it resides within me.  I just didn’t know that I could choose that strength over the fear that also resides inside me.  It isn’t quite as magic as clicking your heels together and thinking of home, but it is pretty close!
  • It doesn’t matter what the scale says.  I was as worthy and as lovable on days I weighed 352 as I am on days I weigh 225.  I am worthy and lovable, period.  And so are you!
  • The hungry will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to the ways we participate in ensuring that to be true.
  • Veggie loading.  Single best concept I learned with regard to nutrition and weight loss.
  • Laughter may be the best medicine, but sometimes the other emotions need their time in the light.  It is not only ok to feel anger or sadness, it is necessary to own these emotions as ours.  The more I swallowed my emotions, the more I looked to swallowing food as a way of soothing those emotions.
  • It is never too late to become what you might have been.  George Eliot said this, and I call it “The Late Bloomers Credo”.  I might have been happy, now I am.  I might have been a writer, now I am.  I might have had soul-satisfying friendships, now I do.  Not too late by a long shot.
  • Give of your time, your talent, and your treasure.  My own transformation involved a certain amount of focusing inward.  However, if that was the only thing I did for twelve months I’d be both bored and myopic.  Looking outside yourself, finding ways to give to others, is the best way to gain perspective.  And being of service to individuals or to our community is something we are each called to do.
  • The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.  And continues with one more.  And then another. (Remember “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”, the claymation Christmas special?  There’s a song from that special which says:  “Just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door…”)
  • Inspiration vs perspiration is a moot point.  Operate with the strength that comes from inspiration when inspiration is available to you!  When it’s not, which is more frequent, perspire.  As a bonus, our hard work and dedication may inspire others, thereby creating a wave of inspired action which can change one life…or change the world.

To those of you who have been following this journey, to the many wonderful people who have been walking with me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the best year of my life.  Happy Anniversary!