I spotted a REAL SIMPLE issue that looked vaguely familiar, like something I’d read a long time ago.
I started reading it, and immediately knew I wasn’t reading it for the first time. Also realizing the ads seemed dated (everything was for 100-cal packs and I recognized the fashions from Ann Taylor Loft — my fave store — being a couple years old), I flipped to the spine of the magazine to catch the date.
No wonder it seemed familiar — I’d read it (per usual) cover to cover, four years earlier, at my old gym in D.C.
Suddenly all these thoughts about where I was four years ago came back to me.
In March 2005, I was still living in D.C., working at a trade association in the energy industry (i.e., “the dark side”) — a dead-end job I wasn’t passionate about at all.
In March 2005, my then-boyfriend (now husband) had just been deployed the previous month for an 8-month tour of Iraq. For a few years, we’d been struggling with the challenges of being in a long-distance relationship (him in El Salvador, me in D.C.) and wanting to be together, trying to get our futures aligned, so the unexpected deployment changed everything.
Back then, I was scared for his safety, and scared for how we’d handle being so far apart for so long. I didn’t know then if it was going to be a real turning point — or breaking point –for us.
(Fortunately, everything worked out great — he had a great position at the American embassy in his region as a liasion officer, and we got enagaged that fall when he returned).
In March 2005, I was at “goal” and yet I still wanted to be thinner. Funny how now, that goal seems so out of reach (it’s not maintainable anymore for me, I know), but it also seems crazy that I was obsessing so much back then, when I genuinely felt so good in my own skin … compared to now, when I admittedly don’t feel that way all the time.
Worse, back then, I was doubling-up on gym routines and skipping social functions, all in an effort to “preserve my body,” so to speak (though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time).
It’s totally cringe-worthy to share that, but it’s true.
It got me thinking. Isn’t it crazy how much can change in four years? Four years is how long I was in college. It’s a long time. So much can happen in four years.
So reading the magazine again, cover-to-cover, my past and present had a little mid-air collision and I couldn’t help but smile as I re-read each page.
I might not look as good as I did four years ago, but I’m in love with my husband and so happy we’re together after all those years apart.
I have a great job now that I genuinely enjoy waking up for.
And though I still struggle with over-exercising at times and emotional eating, I don’t shun social functions and I don’t double-up on workouts like that anymore.
Sometimes I guess we just need to be reminded of the good, of how far we’ve come, to really see a clearer picture.
Oh – and I noticed a quote on the spine of the issue that jolted me that I wanted to share.
“Life must be aromatic” – Gwendolyn Brooks.
How appropriate for me to read this week. I’ll keep that in mind, for sure.
How about you? Where were you in your life four years ago? What has changed for the better?