‘You can look through my binoculars if you want – at the ducks over there.’ said my friend’s son as we were all feeding the birds in the park this morning.
I took the toy binoculars from him as he focused on ripping his slice of bread into tiny pieces and throwing morsels to the neediest looking duck.
‘I love ducks!’ He said smiling.
I looked through his little binoculars. They didn’t make anything bigger – in fact oddly the toy made them seem slightly further away and also had the curious effect of producing tunnel vision – removing all peripheral images from whatever you chose to look at.
Shortly after we finished feeding the ducks and had walked around the park we sat in the busy cafe opposite the padding pool.
Again my friend’s son handed me his binoculars.
‘You can look at the playground over there with them.’ He suggested helpfully as he went to join his sister and father to choose an ice cream.
I looked at the paddling pool and the swings through his toy as I sipped my coffee. They seemed like they were miles away.
Later in the day as I chatted with other friends over a cup of tea I was still thinking about this. The cheerful pair of blue binoculars had made me reflect upon how restricted my own view of the world had previously become.
Just as its tiny lenses had shrunk the view before me I’d slowly withdrawn from those that mattered to me over time as I piled weight on. I’d seen less and less of the people I loved and my views of the outside world had been only through windows – either in my car or an office.
Bit by bit the world had reduced down to almost nothing.
In contrast today and yesterday couldn’t have been more different and they have taken my mind off anything to do with exercise or dieting. I’ve been focused almost exclusively on friends and have spent my time making them the centre of my attention.
Although the early part of this week had been very dark I think I’ve now largely come to terms with how I’ve unnecessarily beaten myself up.
Maybe surprisingly though I now think that my wobble was a positive thing. I’ve emerged on the other side of it thinking instead about how good life has become.
I’ve been very proactive of late in organising hookups with people (if anyone thinks I’ve missed them out then let me know!) and have been filling my calendar with walks and meetings, usually involving swans!
The absolutely wonderful thing about this (as I was saying to my ‘unicorn friend‘ over dinner tonight) is that when I now see people after a while without contact I’m no longer paralysed by self condemnation caused by being bigger than the last time they saw me.
It’s quite the opposite in fact. I now come complete with positive good news stories. I report on such topics as where I’ve walked, interesting things I’ve learned from people while walking or maybe that I need to make a new notch in my belt, or that I can walk further without sitting. All of these make me happy and I think it makes others happy when they see me feeling like this.
But it’s not all one way traffic.
In the last few days friends have casually commented that I seem very chipper, that my face looks thinner, my skin tone is healthier, that my shirts look big, and that I’m more agile and moving faster.
I can hold my head high for the first time in a very very very long time.
The beauty of these compliments (at the risk of sounding immodest) is that they’re all true – and after writing down all the plus points at the end of my last but one (maybe rather downbeat) blog I realise that I am thankful that MANY things have changed for me.
The fact that I’m spending so much more time with friends and not hiding from the world is filling my mind with positive thoughts. The extra energy that comes from regular exercise also means I can do more in a day without discomfort or the need for a nap.
I am actually beginning to feel like I’m finally becoming the person that I SHOULD have been for many years but wasn’t.
I still have a deep rooted sense of sadness though that I’ve let a great many people down during the last decade. I could have been a much better and more involved friend to many and in the future I want to make up for that…
But not until I’ve cooked something nice for the Slimming World group tomorrow.
It’s food tasting day in the morning meeting and everyone has to bring something with them. I have been trying to decide WHAT that would be for a couple of days – but I was certain that whatever it was going to be it HAD to be something new.
Last time I did stuffed peppers (for the first time ever) and really liked them – but I can’t do the same again. The spirit of the day is doing something a bit unexpected to give the group new ideas to take home and have a go at themselves.
After reading SW recipies for a few days here and there I finally decided on what to do.
I’m not going to say what it is as it’s not been cooked yet.
I’ll be doing that in the morning and it could still go wrong – but it’s been prepared from scratch, contains lots of fresh ingredients and looked like this in the bowl half way through.
As I’ve never made this before I’m also hedging my bets. In the three or so hours of chopping and preparation I’ve also made a ‘safe’ alternative that I cook all the time in case this one tastes like crap!
As we walked away from the ducks this morning I had handed the little blue binoculars back to my friend’s son.
‘Do you have some binoculars?’ he asked me.
‘I used to.’ I said. ‘I used to look at things all the time in the park with them.’
He got me thinking.
I think I’m going to have a look and see if I can find them and dust them off. I want to feel the same sense of inquisitive wonder that he did today when he looked at the river, trees and animals in the park, even if I just take them with me for a day.
Most of all though internet I like the idea that while I carry them with me nothing in life will seem too far away – which day by day and step by step is how my real life is beginning to feel.