Last year, I was sent a list of 45 life lessons, and one of them particularly resonated with me and became the title of a blog I wrote. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. This afternoon, I found myself spinning into pity party mode again. It all came out of the shock of having gained 15 pounds since starting my gluten-free diet. I knew I had gained weight, but I had been avoiding the scale. Can you say DENIAL? Even though my GI doctor told me not to worry about that at this point (I can honestly say that is the first time a doctor has EVER told me not to worry about my weight.) I let myself get spun up. (Why did it have to be Celiac Disease?) So I went to my old blog site to reread what I wrote last year, as a kick in the butt reminder, and I thought I would share it here.
Now I realize that the following revelation is going to come as a shock to most of you, but sometimes I can get spun up in my own crap. NO! Really? OK Shubie Doo – you can comment at the end. And when this happens, I can lose sight that everyone has a journey; it’s just a different journey than mine.
Recently I participated in a Ladies Riding group and Coaching Series. The goal of the group was to ride together every week learning new skills, and at the end to complete a metric century (60 mile) ride. It was an 8 week series, and in my usual way I agonized over whether to do this. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough. I didn’t want to bring anyone else down. I didn’t want to slow the rest of the group down. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Anyway after talking with the coach, I finally signed up, and my first ride out was less than memorable. I was feeling very tired from a ride the day before, and I couldn’t even finish one loop with the group. Two days later I came down with a stomach virus, so I missed the 2nd ride, and I sent the coach an email that I was going to drop.
I figured she was going to be relieved, and say we’ll catch you another time. Instead what she said was – I have three other ladies with health issues, so don’t worry about yours. You’ll fit in fine. Do what you can. What? And not worry about what everyone else is doing around me? Now there’s a concept.
Isn’t it amazing that after 45 years, you still have to relearn the same life lessons over again? So I kept going. Although I never finished one of the rides feeling great about what I had done, I felt good, and I could tell I was getting stronger. But most importantly I made some new riding friends, and I learned about their journeys. Three of the ladies were doing the Houston to Austin MS ride – two for the first time. Two of the ladies had just taken up cycling earlier this year. One was a single mom that could only ride on Sundays because she worked Monday through Saturday. One was riding with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was a fun group, and I learned a lot. I admired these women for their dedication and understanding. And at the end I wasn’t able to do 60 miles, but I did 34 which was a personal best for me. The ladies were very encouraging, and after our ride we shared lunch, wine and some laughs.
It’s still all about the journey – whatever road you’re on. Thank you Spokes Women for being part of mine, and encouraging me to be part of yours. And thank you Coach Lori for all of the help. http://lwalkercycling.com/
Now I don’t want to give you the impression that all I do is feel sorry for myself. I don’t. I consider myself very blessed. I have a good job. I have lived a very blessed life with many wonderful family and friends in my life. I have been influenced by strong women who I admire greatly. I have my health. Yes, my health, sketchy gene pool that it is, it’s all mine. And I am lucky. My father passed away over 20 years ago at the age of 46 from Cardiac Arrest. He has missed so much. I am now 46, and despite the Lymphedema, pacemaker and Celiac Disease, I am here. Everyday I get to wake up and experience a new day. And each day is a journey in itself. Without my journey through my Dad’s death from heart disease, I may have dismissed my own symptoms. Without my journey on the bike, I would not be as strong as I am today. Without my compression hose, I would be freezing my legs in the winter, and getting sunburned in the summer. And finally, without this journey of Celiac Disease and going Gluten-Free I would not have had the opportunity or inspiration to interact with some of my fellow bloggers and try new foods. I wouldn’t be eating as healthy, or feeling as good. And I would never have tried Tex Mex Black Bean Quinoa – my new favorite.
So my reminder to myself and to others – don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. After all, it’s not about the destination, but the journey.