In 3 days I will turn 39. I’ve never been someone who dreads an approaching decade, although to be fair the only “biggie” I’ve dealt with so far was the march towards my 30’s. But then I thought “hey, a whole new decade to start fresh!” and sort of launched into it. That said, I had no idea when I started my 30’s that I’d be wrapping them up the way I am. If I knew what was coming, I’m not sure I would have willingly signed up. But that’s kind of how life IS, right? And you can always change…which is sort of the spirit of this whole blog thing. This whole life thing for that matter.
I’ll spare you the small details of 30-36 but it had some ups and it had some downs. 36-now and what I’d like to do THIS year is what I’d like to spend some time on. Because the first 6 years of my last decade were a little bit…blah. Same, same, same. Not happy, not necessarily miserable. On the path I thought I “should” be on. Etc etc etc. Found a guy, settled down, got married, bought property. Norman Rockwell on the outside. Got two cats. Then a dog. Almost started a family. Then everything changed. I changed. Or I realized I was asleep. I’m not really sure.
Since my 36th birthday, I’ve tried the following things to “find myself”. Call it a midlife crisis. Call it waking up. I often call it grace because something “greater than myself” is the only place I can figure out where the strength came from to do these things. Here goes:
- Realized I was in the wrong marriage and left that marriage.
- Sold our house. Moved to a new apartment. Then to a new city.
- Quit drinking. Quit smoking. Quit television. Quit sugar.
- Lost 70 pounds. Then 80 pounds. Added sugar back in…with a vengeance. Gained 10 pounds back. Tried to make peace with this.
- Made a career change. Then a job change. Then another job change. Hoping this one sticks. I have a good feeling.
- Traveled to Peru. Hiked the Inca Trail. Traveled to the British Virgin Islands. Got injured. Healed (mostly).
- Traveled to St Martin, Cabo San Lucas, Colorado and California (twice) without incident.
- Got a therapist. Did a lot of work. Got a new therapist. Did more work.
- Read books about Buddhism, self love, self care, numerology, the enneagram and relationships.
- Dated. Made mistakes. Didn’t date for a year. Tried again. Still working through this one. Tried Match, eharmony, hinge, OKcupid, Tinder and Bumble. Realized I like being alone, as it turns out. Took a lot of the pressure off.
- Took kettlebell, boot camp, fighter fit and crossfit classes. Discovered a passion for challenging myself physically.
- Climbed lots of mountains.
- Meditated. Sporadically.
- Ran two half marathons. On trails. 5 days apart.
- Wondered what else I might be capable of.
As I enter the last year of my 30’s I’m once again getting excited for the NEXT decade, and totally expecting only good things because, well, I’m an incurable optimist. And since I’m not getting any younger, I think it would be really cool to enter that decade as healthy as possible. I’ve taken down a lot of demons. I’d like to see what happens when I stop using food to soothe, entertain, and numb out. This both excites and frightens me. I think it will be REALLY hard. I think I’ll need lots of support and I think writing about it will a) give me something to look back on and b) give me strength during the hard times and c) I don’t know. Help me actually stick with it? I’ve proven I can quit things. I’ve proven I can change. So let’s try this. Here are the guidelines I’m starting with.
For the next year, the only things I will put into my body are:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- High quality sources of protein – grass fed and free range whenever possible, though in a pinch I’m not going to be a nazi about it
- Healthy fats, including butter (see below)
- SOME dairy – I love my plain greek yogurt with berries and protein powder for breakfast and if I’m giving up ice cream I am holding on to SOME things. Also cheese in salads. Cream in coffee sometimes.
- To that end, Quest Bars stay. I know they are processed. But whatever, they are the lesser of a LOT of evils.
- Nuts, seeds, dried fruits
- Water, coffee, tea, juice. I’m going to try (TRY) to cut down on Splenda, with an eye on it going away entirely. Again, one thing at a time!
So this means I’m willingly going to forgo:
- Skittles, Ben & Jerry’s. Sigh. These are my Waterloo.
- Grains, rice, legumes, pasta, cereal. I don’t really eat them anyway so it’s not that much of a heartache to keep that going.
- Popcorn. This makes me die inside a little.
- Alcohol (it’s been almost 2 years so I doubt this will feel like a huge thing, but it’s a big deal so it goes on the list)
- While we’re at it, cigarettes
- Anything with sugar and anything processed that’s not on the list above
And…I’m going to write about it. Let’s see what life is like when I don’t have a food crutch. What will I discover to soothe myself? How will I deal with boredom? Will I kill anyone? Who knows! But I’ll write about it here. The ups and the downs. We’ll see what happens. I mean, how bad can it be? It’s just ONE little year of my teensy little life. And it certainly can’t HURT me that’s for sure. We’ll see how it goes!