I am going to exercise, lose weight, and stop turning off my alarm clock in the morning before fluffing my pillow and going back to sleep. I really am going to make these healthy changes I haven’t been able to make myself do quite yet. (I did quit my diet soda habit, but since I’m allowed to make an exception when at a restaurant or at the movies or at a friend’s house maybe it doesn’t really count.)
Three years ago, at age 50, I was running 10K’s and was as fit as I’d ever been; I could wear spandex. I was busy and healthy and had a positive attitude. Life’s recent tugs on my rug were not going to get the best of me. Nope. Whenever I finally landed, it would be where and how I decided. I was determined to be strong and to handle things perfectly. But then I didn’t.
I stopped moving. Well, more accurately, I shuffled over to the closest downward spiral and then stopped moving. A tumble into freefall. Actively inactive. Because next-to-dead doesn’t feel. Eat, sleep, sleep, eat. Watch ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.’ Potato chips, pizza; there’s false comfort in fattening foods. Eat. Sleep.
The past several years brought a lot of change. A lot to process. A lot to avoid processing. A divorce — a parting from my partner of almost 30 years, the father of my children, the man I was supposed to grow old with — and the shredding of my family and the loss of our dreams. A new condo, a new checkbook, a new name, along with a new loneliness and fear. One grown son left the nest and is making his own life just as he should be. The other grown son left the nest long ago but there’s nothing about the life he is making that is as it should be.
I don’t know what happened to the perfect life I had. Maybe it wasn’t really perfect, but it seemed perfect enough that I was able to pretend it was. I can’t do that anymore.
Maybe my brain and body have been on pause, allowing my psyche to catch up to all the things that changed or moved ahead without me being quite on board.
I know I need to move forward soon. Really move. Get healthy. I have good intentions, but I am flawed. I will work through this eventually. But it might take a bit more time.
The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction is available in bookstores and libraries.