I received a note from a friend today and in it he mentioned my "pretty flippin epic life". I laughed when I read it but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right! I do have a pretty flippin epic life and sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be where I am.
Things sure have changed from what I consider to be the lowest point of my life: the summer of 1992. Everything that could be going wrong in my life was going wrong. I'd reached a point where I didn't care about anything anymore and frankly, I'm surprised I survived that summer.
1992 was a hard year for my family. My sister had a miscarriage in January, my uncle passed away in April and we lost both of my grandmothers within a month of each other that summer. My grandma Poncha passed away after a long battle with kidney failure and the last few months of her life were filled with pain. I hope you never have to see someone you love suffer like that. My mom is an only child and my sister was living in Arizona at the time so it was just me, my mom, and my grandpa taking care of her. I felt completely helpless to do anything but be there for her and them. But those last few nights with her in the hospital are still so clear in my mind, it's like it was yesterday. I remember talking to her on her last lucid night, it was about 2 in the morning and she looked over at me and told me how much she loved me and that she thought I was pretty and she was proud of me. I remember feeling terrible about that because I'd screwed up so much of my life. How could anyone be proud of me?
At the ripe old age of 34, I:
*was single, no kids, no prospects.
*weighed about 300 pounds.
*was over $35,000 in debt with nothing to show for it - no car, no house, nada.
*wasn't sure I had enough money for rent let alone food for me & my cat.
*had just dropped out of college...for the second time.
*was on anti-depressants and seeing a counselor - who wanted to talk about my sex life but I didn't have one - zero help there!
*started having nose bleeds and found out I had high blood pressure. The doctor's exact words were "you should be dead". So I started taking high blood pressure medicine at 34 and was told I'd be on it the rest of my life. Except, I didn't always take it though and the nose bleeds continued.
Basically, I was a wreck. I had no hope of things getting better. In fact, everything was heading to a breaking point and I'd pretty much closed my eyes to the inevitable crash. I just didn't care. I couldn't. I was numb, I think.
I can't say there was any one thing that turned things around for me. I think the weight of everything was just so much that I couldn't breathe so I just started tackling my "problems". The easiest ones were the debt and my weight. I made drastic cuts to start paying off the debt and I did lose weight then but I ended up gaining it back which was pretty depressing. I don’t think I was ready to lose the weight and keep it off then.
But the good news is that even though it took me a long time, I eventually did tackle my problems one by one:
*I paid off my debt by the time I was 40.
*worked my way thru a couple of promotions at work despite not having a degree and get 4 weeks off a year. Woo!
*I lost 150 pounds and I've kept it off for a couple of years now.
*My blood pressure went back to normal so no more meds. It’s actually on the low side now.
*No more anti-depressants and no more counseling!
*I learned to appreciate and enjoy my single status and the freedom of not having kids. Sure, I get a twinge every now and then but I'm okay with it. Especially when my sister tells me what she's going thru with my 2 beautiful nieces as they hit their teens!
The only problem I haven't tackled yet is college but I figure I could be one of those 90 year old women getting a diploma so I have time. ;)
But really, the icing on the cake was when I started running. I think what I learned paying off my debt and losing weight helped me as a runner but I also think that running taught me so much more about myself. It taught me:
*that I'm not lazy.
*that I'm not afraid of hard work.
*that I'm not afraid to fail.
*that I'm stronger than I thought.
*that I can have dreams and make them happen.
*that I want to actually live my life.
*that I have a pretty darn good life.
Or maybe running just cemented these ideas in my head. Anyway, if someone had told me back in 1992 that I'd be running marathons, traveling around the country, making friends, and having adventures I would have laughed in their face. There was no way in hell that would be me. But it is. And sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it's not all a dream.
So yeah, finally, at 43 years of age, I have a pretty flippin epic life. Not the life I dreamed about as a kid, but I think one just as good, if not better. I worked my ass off to get here and I am so thankful I was given a second chance and that I had family and friends to support me along the way. I plan to live my life to the fullest and chase down my dreams til the day I die. Which, thanks to running and riding and healthy eating, should be quite a few years down the road.
I hope your life is “pretty flippin epic” too. If not, what are you waiting for? Make it happen!