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The Waiting Game

I used to think that I had to wait for my life to really start until I was thin – wait to be loveable, wait to do the things I wanted, wait to be happy, wait to like myself.

At the same time, I practiced the flip side of the waiting game. I told myself I could wait until next week to start eating better and exercising, or until after the holidays, or even just tomorrow morning. Except I always found a way to move out that starting date. I felt like I needed to find the exact right time.

Only after my mother died did I realize that I had played that waiting game too long. I still had time to lose weight for myself, if that’s what I wanted, but that didn’t stop the regret. I had missed my chance to have a relationship with her that wasn’t focused so much on food and weight, and I never did get to climb Mt. Katahdin with again.

Which is why part of this recent blog post by Andrew W. K. struck me: “Caring too much about our looks -- and that includes our weight, our height, our hair, our face, etc. -- becomes an easy surface game to play and to keep us occupied so we don't have to dig deeper into life's more challenging and important games…. Your life is waiting….”

It simply never occurred to my younger self that something might be waiting for me. Or perhaps that what I truly waited for wasn’t the right time, or the right numbers on the scale. I was waiting for myself to wake up, to truly live.

This knowledge would have been particularly useful because, as it was, I didn’t discover until after losing weight that all of those things that I wanted didn’t happen automatically even when I fit into regular clothes. I still didn’t have the body I expected, I didn’t instantly fall into a perfect relationship, etc. Certainly I could accomplish more physically, which I enjoyed, but as for the other things, I realized only belatedly that I could have started liking myself and finding ways to be happy long ago.

I wish someone had told me this before. Admittedly I don’t know if I would have listened, but it would have been good to at least hear it. I can’t say for sure what might have changed except that I might have been a little easier on myself, and maybe I would have lost weight sooner, and maybe I would have been able to climb mountains with my mom while she was still alive. But maybe not.

I’ll never know, now. I’m only glad that I decided not to wait any longer, and I hope that any of you who feel like you’re waiting for that perfect moment – not necessarily to lose weight, but for whatever you want to happen in your life – will consider that maybe it will never come, or conversely, that every moment is the perfect one. You just need to stop waiting and grab hold of it.

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