I’m supposed to be working this weekend, finishing off the cookbook I’ve long promised everyone, but life interfered and I got tired of saying no to life. So I said yes for a bit.
Family arrived in town, my cousin I haven’t see in 25 years. He brought his daughter, who I’d never met before, and I’m so glad I blew off work. He’s turned into a great guy, a really loving and positive father, and a generous man. I smiled a lot. It was nice to reconnect.
And so continued what has been a week of epiphanies, small victories, change-making, and forgiveness.
Did you know I turned 40 last September? I did. I had very high expectations of this decade. I promised myself this would be the Decade of Steff. Me and my bucket list.
My 20s and 30s got hijacked and I lost my way. I never gave up, but I never saw things very clearly, either. I felt like the guy that gets lost in a jungle full of vines and brush, constantly walking and trying to clear things away, but never really making progress. Well, walk long enough and there’s always an exit.
I’m slowly exiting my back injury. I’m better more often than I’m not. When I do get hurt, even seriously, I rebound in 2-3 days or a week. There’s some kind of Zen lesson to take from serious, long-term injury. There’s a wisdom that comes from overcoming something that had been so debilitating for so long.
(But not all chronic injuries can be overcome, of course. I am lucky.)
When I moved to Victoria, my first chiropractor was trying to sell me on an expensive procedure because he claimed I had a loose hip ligament or something that couldn’t be fixed through exercise. I was already broke and I was devastated that I couldn’t “afford” to fix myself.
Then I changed caregivers. Through very good research, I found a team of rehab folks who believed it was something I could overcome both through treatment and old-school work ethic. They didn’t see a fat girl, they saw a girl who once lost 85 pounds in a year, via near-Olympian effort in both sports and nutrition. They saw someone who needed encouragement, support, and challenge. Then they gave that to me.
In some ways, moving to Victoria was about me going somewhere to lick my wounds, keep to myself, and re-discover who I am. I have done all these things in that order. It’s been wonderful.
The Zen of Recovery, I’ve found, is in learning just how tough you are, how much you can overcome. It also puts a lot of life’s struggles into perspective. You learn that trite sayings like “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” really aren’t trite when you’re the one who’s been getting forged like steel in fire.
As I’ve matured, I’ve really allowed myself to own my emotions. If I’m depressed, I’ll let myself wallow in that for a bit. I permit myself to be angry, joyous, neglectful, and all kinds of other things. I’m human. These emotions are a part that journey. It doesn’t mean I’m broken. It means I’m really, really present on the ride. I’m there, I’m doing it, I’m experiencing every bump and bruise along the way.
I’ve enjoyed these two years that I’ve made myself the priority and let the rest of life pass me by. It’s what I needed and I wouldn’t change a thing.
But this week has been something of a light turning on. I’ve had some really great project ideas you’ll find out about in coming months. I’ve stopped to enjoy life on the occasions I could. I’ve overcome a couple of struggles. I went away for a weekend, had fun with friends, splurged, and didn’t come home broke. It was a good, good week.
I think it’s important to just press pause sometimes and enjoy the smug glee of getting shit right and living well across all sectors of life. From money to fitness to diet to self-care, I’ve gotten everything right this week. It really doesn’t happen often to us adults living in the topsy-turvy real world, so it’s great to celebrate. Sometimes celebrating it makes it last a little longer, keeps me in the groove. That’s the good of gratitude, man.
Because grateful is what I am. And excited. I feel that my 40th year has been setting a pretty wicked tone for the decade to come.
Just over a decade ago I kicked off my 30s by nearly dying twice in a year. Not an auspicious start! This decade kicked off by finding a wonderful home, fixing my back, sorting out my finances, rediscovering my creative self, and setting ambitious goals for the 10 years ahead.
As a comparison, it’s like I’ve become my own doppelganger in an alternative universe. There’s so many miles between these two lives of mine that it might as well be measured in light years.
When I think of 10 years from now, shit, I can’t even fathom it. How many books will I have written? How many photographs will I have sold? How many countries will I have seen? How strong will I be? What kind of amazing people will I have met and brought into my fold? How many dreams will I have lived through and ticked off my list?
Great questions. I have no fucking idea, man, but I can’t wait to see how that script plays out. Luckily I’m a writer.
Yep. It’s been a good week.
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