At the beginning of the year, Curvy Girl Guide decided to reinvent the resolution. It was our spin on making tired old resolutions that, more often than not, left us crying in our eggnog at year-end, waistbands snug as ever, feeling defeated and broken. Instead, we wanted to focus on the positive things we planned on doing in the new year, as opposed to the cliché resolution of a number of pounds we wanted to lose to reach an often unrealistic ideal we set for our scale. We each picked a number that had little or nothing to do with our weight. No more setting ourselves up for failure and feeling regret when we don’t lose the weight or, God forbid, gain! No more being defined by that number. This was the year that we realized we are more than that number on the scale.
The number I chose was 40. It would be my age this year on September 26. I wanted to embrace it instead of fear it, at least that was my claim.
Here is where I roll my eyes, let out a big sigh and admit that I was blowing smoke and that my number was a complete and total cop-out. Turning 40 was going to happen whether I liked it or not. It was a tangible thing, a safe number that I couldn’t make excuses for avoiding. I never really had a problem with my age, so embracing turning 40 was not resolving to do anything. I stayed safely away from accountability to turn any new leaves.
If I’m being honest though, there were a lot of things that I had hoped would change in my life for a long time, but I never dare said them out loud, for fear of judgement when I inevitably didn’t follow through, as had seemed to be my pattern. Among other things, I would have loved to run a marathon, lose 40 pounds, and been a size 6, but I knew life had a habit of getting in the way of those kind of lofty goals and I had become very good at manufacturing excuses.
Needless to say, life did get in the way. I will not be running a marathon this year. I still have an extra 40 lbs and am nowhere near a size 6. But I did make changes. Big changes. Changes that I never thought I would have the courage to make. And in the process I learned a lot about myself.
This year I truly realized I was more than just a number on a scale or a smaller pant size. I realized that even if I reached that elusive size 6 that my head had convinced me would bring ultimate happiness, it would not have been the magical path to sheer contentment. I had been carrying around an immense amount of weight and it had nothing to do with my size, nothing to do with a number on a scale.
The weight I had been carrying around was the burden of living a lie, being unhappy, feeling trapped and completely worthless. This year, I finally took control of my life. I decided I was done settling, being unhappy and letting others decide what was best for me. I decided to stop being afraid and start living my life the way I want to, not the way I felt I had to in a lonely existence that I was living for others.
This year, I left a toxic marriage of 16 years. I went back to work for the first time in 15 years. I went to New York for the first time, by myself, to meet with dear friends that were instrumental in me believing that I could ever be strong enough or get through such life altering obstacles and that I was worth it. While in New York, I felt like a grown up for the first time in 15 years. Next week, I am running my first 5K, by myself, just because.
This year I learned that I am stronger than I’ve given myself credit for many years. I learned that I deserve happiness and I actually believe it. I learned that I am a work in progress, and that progress is possible, no matter how dire it seems. I learned that I can make decisions for myself and I am in control of my happiness. I’m not going to lie, it’s been as hard as hell and many hurdles still stand in my way. But I’m doing it all on my terms and learning that I can is better than any teenie bikini that I will never fit in to.
It’s been a year of learning and growing for many other Curvy Girl writers, as well.
Kim: I learned going back to college in your 40s is much easier than I thought it would be, and that once you get in those 40s your bladder shrinks, your eyes start to go bad and your tolerance level plummets (get off my lawn!). I also learned that it can be scary doing research on the Internet because way too many people depend on Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary for their info. I learned that being a widow doesn’t really get easier over time, but that sometimes, being alone isn’t all that bad. I also finally learned that the person who I have to be most comfortable with is me.
Brittany: This year I’ve found confidence and direction in my life and my voice. I can do things by myself and be successful. It was scary and it took me a while to realize that, but it’s true.
Allison: I’ve learned that I’m way stronger and more capable than I thought I was. And, that owning who I am, the pretty and the not so pretty parts of my past and present, is not only good for me, but it helps others to heal and love themselves as well. Uncovering all the parts of me that I thought were bad, that I spent so much of my life trying to conceal, has made me love myself so much more than I ever thought I could.
Kristen: This year, I’ve learned how to truly love myself. I learned how to be an advocate for myself and my family. I’ve learned how to reach across party and religious lines and truly connect with anyone, and it’s been a beautifully rewarding journey. The next thing I want to learn about myself is what I want to be when I grow up…because I still have no idea.
Ally: I learned this year that I can do it. I can go to nursing school and kick its ass while raising three amazing little people. I can be just as good of a Mommy to my husband’s daughter as I am to my boys. I can juggle homework, car pools, clinical, class parties, field trips, tears, sickness and studying. I may not always do it all well. I may not always like it. I may cry. But I can definitely do it.
What did you learn about yourself in 2012?