Monday, August 22, 2011

Positive Effort

In an introspective moment this morning it struck me how grateful I am for the changes that my life has gone through this year. As painful as the start of the year was, with work dramas and depression, the complete 180 degree turn around since then has been incredible. I feel healthy, happy, and most importantly I feel excited about the future. Considering that I was struggling to see any kind of positive future earlier in the year makes this feel kind of like a miracle.

And the most important thing is that I'm actually really proud of myself and that I've made this happen.

It's kind of weird to write that because bragging, tooting one's own horn (call it what you will), is something I can be kind of scathing about. But credit where credit is due, and I'm proud of the effort I've put in to move my life in a positive direction and so grateful of the fact that the effort has paid off.

One of the toughest things to get a handle on was my health. When I hit rock bottom in terms of how I was feeling physically and mentally I had hit 82.7kgs (182lbs). My blood pressure and cholesterol were high, my skin was in a constant Rosacea break out, and I was miserable about how I looked and felt. Tying my shoelaces, walking up stairs, catching an accidental sideways reflection in a store mirror, were all excercises that reflected physical and emotional shortcomings. I felt middle aged, fat and unhealthy. I wasn't huge, I don't want to overstate the situation here, but as a real shorty I had developed a pretty impressive belly and set of man boobs.

After being unemployed for about 5 weeks, feeling pretty low and about to become very broke, one morning I stuck out my chin and decided that I had to get a grip on things. I dug my heels in, dug out my old Weight Watchers points/calorie guides, went to the supermarket and bought a basket full of healthier food choices, and knuckled down for the fight. This was one thing I could control, even if the rest of my life felt like it was on the downhill slope.

In the first week I weighed myself and the numbers were good. I had achieved something positive, and I instantly felt better about myself. That for me is a really important lesson about depression too, when you feel frozen, stalled, you just have to achieve something that feels difficult. Do the dishes. Shower and get dressed. Go for a long walk. Something that you don't have the motivation to do, but is a goal that you can measure, big or small. As Peter (my beautiful new boyfriend for those of you tuning in late, but more on him later) would say, you just have to keep moving.

So, a new job arrived about this time. It's a temp contract but my team and I get along well, sometimes the work is a bit dull, but most importantly my effort is really appreciated. The stress is low, the pay is pretty good, and although it doesn't lead off into the distance as something permanent it's just fine for now. My stay has already been extended twice and I know that they want to keep me as long as they are possibly able.

The more things started to move, the better I felt. I stuck to my guns with the weight loss, and once I was in that feedback loop of effort and results it got easier and easier, to the point where as I write this I'm 70.1kgs (154lbs), and not too many kilos away from where I ultimately want to settle. Work is ticking along fine, and it now looks like my contract will be extended to the end of October. Even if that falls through, I feel confident that something else will come along.

Then one night last month a handsome young man who was tending bar started flirting with me, and after a few beers and a couple of hours of conversation over the bar I gave him my number. That was a big step for me, I'm very sociable but I don't always have a lot of confidence. I've dated plenty of guys, but I'm always surprised when somebody finds me attractive. I can be gregarious when I'm comfortable, but can also feel very shy. That night I was in a good mood, feeling pretty confident and upbeat, and Peter's natural friendliness and kindness put me at ease straight away.

We clicked immediately and praise be we continue to keep clicking. He's the most open, warm and funny person I could ever have hoped to meet, and we really get each other. It feels effortless, but even in that I can see the positive effort that we are both bringing to the table. There is effort involved in throwing caution to the wind, in making yourself open and trusting someone with all your vulnerabilities and your strengths. We both share a very similar moral compass, and in that I mean we see the world in very similar ways and have similar ethics even though our life experiences have been quite different.

So this entry is about counting my blessings, about reaffirming all that is positive in my life, and especially acknowledging that along the way I've had to make hundreds of little decisions and hundreds of little actions that have moved things along in the right direction. Chance has played a role too, but making decisions to grasp opportunities as they present themselves has been just as important. What a year it has been so far, and how excited I am to see what will happen next! And that is most definitely a 180 degree turn for the better.


Campbell said...

Thanks for sharing that Andrew. It warmed my heart! You certainly do deserve to be proud about how you have dealt with this year. May the year continue to be a good one for you where you meet whatever challenges ahead and indulge in the pleasures life brings.
Take care. xx

The Other Andrew said...

Aw Campbell, thanks for your kind comment! I wish the best for you too my friend. xx

Lynda Hopgood said...

Hello, Gorgeous! I didn't know you had a blog.

Consider yourself bookmarked (you can take that as a threat or a promise, I don't mind).


anti ob said...

I think we take the humility thing too far sometimes, in modern society. Yes, outright bragging - especially in-the-face of the world at large - can be obnoxious. But sometimes you do a good thing, and it makes you so happy that you feel like standing on a chair and shouting about it. And y'know what? Your friends like to hear it. It makes us happy to know that you're happy.

So _have_ a bit of a strut; you done good, and you deserve it.

Cecilia said...

Andrew! I'm so happy to see you blogging again and even happier to read that you are doing so well. I think you should brag away! You have good reason for it!

tender_cub_tales said...

Thanks for your sweet compliments and I'm very excited to be a part of your life. I also think that you have made a tremendous effort to feel better and it really shows.

Love & Hugs xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew, long time dropping by and am really pleased for you :)) Such a super read and you write so well. You have a great energy.
Cheers q60sgirl

The Other Andrew said...

Q60sGirl!! Hey there, long time no see. I hope all is well with you. xx