There’s something exciting about this year. The double numbers, the beginning of a decade, being able to call it “the twenties”. Really, what did we call the last 2 decades? The O’s? The teens? Lame. But the 20’s? That just sounds awesome. We’ve finally got a decade we can be proud of again, and it makes me happy.
I don’t usually care all that much about the new year. Seeing 2000 arrive was kind of neat, I’ll admit. But as a holiday, I find it anticlimactic. It really just marks the end of Christmas – which I draw out for as long as I possibly can – and therefore it not something I really celebrate. I don’t go out. I don’t drink champagne. I don’t kiss anyone. I don’t even stay up till midnight, half the time. And I have never once made a New Year’s resolution.
It’d odd, now that I think about it. I’ve always been one for new beginnings. I quit jobs and move across the country for them. I switch careers in search of them. My adult life has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, marked by failures, followed by picking myself up, and inevitably falling down again. I suppose, since I’ve spent most of my life in school – as either a student or a teacher – I associate fresh starts with September, rather than January.
But this year is different. This year, I want things to be different. I want my life to be different.
A Disappointing Christmas
On the surface, this Christmas was like almost any other. I was surrounded by people I love. The kids’ Christmas play at church actually had a nativity scene this year – I don’t understand what the point of a children’s Christmas play is, without a nativity scene. We sang carols on Christmas Eve. I helped put up and decorate 2 Christmas trees. And I ate all the Christmas food I’d been craving.
There was a lot to make me happy. But none of it made up for the fact that inside, I was miserable. I felt out of control. Sad. Fearful. I didn’t feel like me. I was numbing out, letting myself do things that I hated. That made me ashamed of myself.
Looking back at it, I can see just how fuzzy my thinking was. It’s like looking at a drug addict. And I’m horrified that I allowed that person out. That I let her take over my life. Interact with my family. Waste so much time – my time. While I hid away in a corner of myself, too weak and cowardly to take back control and face reality. The chaos didn’t limit itself to food, either. I’m trying to figure out what I accomplished in the last month, and I’m coming up empty. I’m dealing with the fallout of mistakes, missed opportunities, out-of-character behaviour, and general laziness. And it’s only been 2 1/2 days – I don’t know how much more I’ve yet to discover.
But while I was gone, I looked forward to the new year. I’d tried to pull it together for Christmas Eve – then Christmas Day – with pathetic results. I knew there was no point in trying again until the holidays were over, the leftovers were eaten, and everyone had gone home. So I hung onto the thought of January 1st. And while my food indulgers ran around like unsupervised 2-year-olds, causing havoc all over the place, my responsible self was laying plans. I’d watched a bunch of SPT’s vlogs during a short stretch of bright days earlier in December, and come across the one where she discussed the 1st Gideon Games. I’d caught hold of the idea, and started putting out feelers to see if there was any interest in my FB group. The results were underwhelming, but I kept at it. While I ate turkey and potatoes and all the extras for a week straight, I snuck away for an hour at a time with my computer, setting things up.
Preparing for Change
It was chaotic. I made mistakes. I had no idea what I was getting into. But we now have 15 teams and over 150 people participating in our unofficial Gideon Games from January to March. And I’ve got a picture of a multicoloured spreadsheet in my head, filled with row after row of checkmarks. That, and a group of 9 people I can’t let down. It’s enough to stop me from going to the fridge. While I’m still heavy and discouraged and can’t imagine ever fitting into my clothes comfortably again, this game provides the motivation I lack.
I prepared in other ways, too. I have fresh carrots, broccoli, and apples in my fridge. My freezer is full of single portions of chili – one of which is defrosting on the counter right now. I took 2 beautiful leather journals I got for Christmas, and turned them into BLE tools – 1 is now a 5-year journal that forces me to record my daily activities for the next 5 years, and the other contains my daily food plans, gratitude, and nightly checklist. Things that will help me succeed in this journey, one day at a time.
And already, I feel like myself again. Which is encouraging. Yes, I backslid. Yes, the number on the scale, when I finally stepped back on, was horrifying. But unlike WeightWatchers, and every other diet I’ve ever tried, coming back to BLE isn’t stressful. It isn’t a fight. It’s like coming home. I don’t know if this time will stick – I’m a pretty messed up person, and I don’t have everything figured out yet – but BLE is becoming a part of my identity.
2020, for me, has started off right. I have high hopes for this decade. I don’t know what it will bring, but I know who I want to be. And I know what I need to do to be that person. I hope you find that, too.
Happy New Year, everyone.