Through my assorted relationships since high school, I have learned many lessons. Some have been much harder to learn than others. As in, some lessons I had to be smacked across the face with several times before I paid attention. But the most important lesson of all (and the one I’m going to tie into this week’s Eat. Live. Be. and our internet inspiration) is to work on yourself. Everything magically falls into place when you do. Magical like unicorns and rainbows, baby.
Let me set it up for you.
When The Ex and I first met, I was fresh out of a three year relationship. A relationship that likely should have ended some six months in. But didn’t. I was single for the first time in awhile. And I was loving it. I had an awesome group of girlfriends, lived by myself in a little downtown apartment, and was seriously loving life.
I wasn’t looking for a guy. Or a relationship. I wanted none of it. It was all about just being. Having fun. Enjoying myself. And my friends. Living life. Let the chips falls where they may.
And a few months into that period was when I met The Ex. A random staircase encounter that eventually led to a phone number exchange and a dinner out. But because I wasn’t really looking for a relationship, I didn’t wait by the phone. If he called, great. If he didn’t, that was ok too. He didn’t define me.
And I’m a firm believer that that’s why I met him when I did. Because I wasn’t looking. I was comfortable being by myself. In my own skin. I didn’t need a partner or heavy anything.
And, of course, he did call. And that was good too. We dated. Got engaged. Got married. Had a baby. Bought a house or three. Had another baby.
Somewhere through all that, I forgot the most important lesson. Taking care of me. I got lost in the shuffle of taking care of my family, our home, my job, and the other 9,367 that come first. I let myself get put last on the list, and paid the price. Although I was still confident, my focus shifted.
Our divorce didn’t have anything to do with that, not one lick, but it happened just the same.
After The Ex and I split, it took me a bit to figure out what to do. How to fix myself. How to proceed. New routines. New habits. New rules. For all intents and purposes, a new life.
But then I did it again. Purposely. I focused on me. Focused on my strengths. Strengthened my weaknesses. Enjoyed my newly single status. I joined the gym. Started eating clean. Cleaned house in more ways than one. Rallied with my kids. Renewed long-lost friendships. Made new ones. New rules. Must-dos. Did things that made me happy. Made my kids happy. Focus.
But as right before I met The Ex, I didn’t go looking for a guy. Steered clear of relationships. No interest. At all. It was about me and the kids. Sure, I dated. Talked to people. Hung out. If something more serious happened, wonderful. If it didn’t, that was absolutely ok too.
The first time that I met Mystic, I had just come home from a two hour Zumba event with my friend, Beth. I was sweaty and downright disgusting.
We talked for two hours.
He put his phone number into my BlackBerry.
In the beginning, we’d text back and forth. Get together.
But if he didn’t call or text, that was ok.
I was happy. With myself. Where I was. What I was doing.
There was no bated breath.
And, of course, he called. And the rest is ongoing history.
But here’s the rub. The key with anything starts with you. You know how when you’re boarding a plane, the flight attendants instruct you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then your children? It goes back to that. You have to be ok, before you can make everyone else around you ok. You are the core of it all. And if you’re broken or missing a piece or uninspired or unmotivated or just have a major case of the blahs, the rest doesn’t matter.
Before I started dating (in either The Ex or Mystic’s situation), I needed to be ok with me. I actually love being alone. I like spending time with myself. And likewise, I adore spending time with friends and family. The difference is that I don’t need a guy to complete my life.
As an aside, when The Ex and I were doing the pre-marital counseling with the Pastor at the church where we were to get married, the Pastor asked for a few sentences about what we thought about each other.
I responded with “He completes me.” Blame it on Jerry Maguire or the googly eyes of young and innocent love, but it was a terrible answer. It haunts me to this day. I complete me. No one else. Everything else after that is just a bonus.
Making yourself complete has a trickle down effect.
If you work out, you’ll have more energy during the day.
If you’re happy with yourself, you’ll give off happy vibes to other people that you encounter during the day.
If you eat right, you’ll feel right.
If you study for a test, you’ll feel more confident taking it.
If you work on being a good friend, your friends will reward you with like-minded behavior.
The law of attraction is an age-old line of thinking, and I’m a big believer in it. It’s “a metaphysical belief that “like attracts like“, that positive and negative thinking bring about positive and negative physical results, respectively.”
Treat yourself well, and you’ll be rewarded, no matter what you’re looking for. This holds true no matter your goals … fitness, a significant other, or just your all-purpose happy life.
Start with you. At the end of Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts’ character was departing for her new life, she said to her friend (whose name escapes me), “Take care of you.” It really is that easy.
And now for some internet inspiration. Are you a member of Costco? The January 2012 issue of their magazine, Costco Connection, is very centered on health, fitness, and well-being. There are a few great pieces in it, one of which is Break on Through: Six Ways to Climb Past a Fitness Plateau. Real bare bones common sense stuff that is great as a reminder, refresher, or to kick you into action, whatever your health or fitness goals are. Their other piece worth checking out is What’s On Your Plate. Once you’re there checking out those links, you can actually read their whole issue, using the handy sidebar to browse by category. Very cool, no?
And lastly, your quote inspiration. Love this.
February is going to be an insane month. Madeline’s birthday. And her first year with both a “family” party and a “friend” party. My sister’s birthday. A blogger Valentine’s get-together. Valentine’s Day. Not to mention, um, that all of that is within a 10 day period. Sarah will tell you I have a crazy amount of straws. But I use them ALL THE TIME. Such is why I couldn’t resist these straws for our Valentine’s Day festivities.