Thursday, February 6, 2014

the benefits of "Throwback Thursday"

The good news is the snow plow finally came through our street. The bad news is it plowed on our side, which, for those of you blog readers who don’t live in wintry states and might need a translation, means the plow dumped all the snow it was scooping up from the street onto the foot of my driveway, creating a solid frozen mini mountain of white stuff that would have to be chiseled, hoisted and tossed atop all the rest of the snow on the sides if I were to, say, ever want to leave my house again.

I decided to call this new exercise regimen “a temporary, welcomed choice that my newly fit body will thank me for.” I can almost say it with a straight face and no eye rolling. Almost.

As it turns out, all but one body part are really thanking me for it. That one contrary part being my back – which, in a strange twist, it turns out I actually need in order to do such things as sit, and stand, and walk. And I don’t mind telling you, my back is plenty pissed at me about this new activity. It’s been wondering what happened to the kinder, gentler yoga DVD I was supposed to be doing. I’ve kind of been wondering that myself, come to think of it.

So getting to the topic of this blog, today I posted a twenty year old picture on Facebook and Twitter. There’s this thing called Throwback Thursday. I don’t know what genius started it, but it’s got everyone rifling through old photographs and posting them for all to see…on Thursdays. I started trying to do it regularly, lest the Facebook and Twitter police come a-knockin’ on my door.

At first, I was delighted by all the “likes” and comments about the pictures. I was in my twenties in them. Didn’t everyone look great in their twenties? Of course, it didn’t take long for the downward spiral to begin. How did I end up like this, I wondered?

Then I made the terrible mistake of averaging how much weight I’d gained over the past twenty years. (Do NOT try this at home, boys and girls…at least not without a glass of wine and box of Kleenex.) That’s when I realized that if I continued to gain at the rate I had over the next twenty years, well, first of all, I might not make it to twenty years. (Sobering thought.) And second, I might eventually end up as one of those people who need to be lifted out of bed by a crane. (Mild over exaggeration. Mild.)

So, not being one to want to dwell on the negative, I gave myself the pep talk. You know the one I’m talking about. It involves the “I can do this if I just set my mind to it” dialogue. It also involves a long and weepy goodbye to pasta and heaping portions of anything but vegetables.

I congratulated myself for already having shoveled AND eaten a salad for lunch today. I looked at that picture I posted on Facebook of me in my black sequined dress, with my skinny waste and skinny arms, and said to my younger self, “I’ll return to you yet.”

But there are things that these years of living have brought that the younger, skinnier Ilene did not have, and I’ve been thinking about the trade off.

First of all, I had no idea I looked like that, so I didn’t enjoy it. Hindsight is 20/20, and if I could time travel, I would take that body out for a spin and strut down the street like a runway model. But then? Not a clue.

Second, I think life is a journey of becoming more and more ourselves. So twenty years later, I know who I am, what I stand for, who my friends are, what matters to me and what I can live without.

But that hot chick in the picture was so worried about what she wasn’t, that she ignored the magnificence she was.

I do not think I am alone in this, which is why I’m so brutally honest about it. I think the world would be better served by us recognizing our greatness, instead of perpetually beating ourselves up for our perceived shortcomings.

So yeah, I’m grateful for having looked back, if for no other reason than to see how far I’ve come. Weight can go up or down. But who we are only increases in value over time.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

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