Whilst in Tesco’s this afternoon I was standing next to a child having a meltdown in the DVD aisle. As I watched her tantrum reach fever pitch her mother deployed the ultimate parent’s line.
‘If you keep crying I’m going to give you something to cry about!!’ she said – clearly at her wits end and about to resort to the nuclear option.
Needless to say it had no effect.
The child continued with her screaming and was ultimately presented with the promised (palm shaped) extra reason to continue crying. Her lung power and vocal chords were still undergoing extensive stress testing as I moved swiftly away from the ongoing battle of wills and towards the low fat mince a few aisles further down.
The mother’s words took me back to the way that many similar situations ended for me as a child with my own mother. I guess no matter how many things in the world change some will always remain the same. I remember her mother saying similar things as well – and it struck me that sometimes as much as we like to think of ourselves as unique and different to those that went before us the past always creeps in a little, and we eventually become to a greater or lesser extent a bit more like people that years ago we rebelled against.
As I peered at the packs of minced pork in front of me I found myself drifting back to an earlier conversation over coffee in a friend’s garden where I’d reminisced about briefly being responsible for a toddler.
She wasn’t my daughter – and was instead the product of my girlfriend’s previous relationship – however as a young man I took my newfound role very seriously. Furthermore I was convinced that this ‘ready made’ family I’d blundered into would be the answer to whatever it was that made me feel incomplete at the time.
I thought it would somehow fix what I felt was broken with me and that was wrong in my own family relationships.
I know now that what was missing and broken would never have been fixed by her or anyone else. My answers ultimately had to come from within – and at the time I didn’t have the emotional maturity to understand that. Thankfully however (although I never saw it as a good thing at the time) my partner’s unexpected infidelity ended things and life took a totally different path – never again going back down that particular route.
I don’t regret it mind you.
Whenever I think of having children I end up worrying that whatever relationship I’d have with my child would be like the that I ended up having with my mother – and if I’m honest this fear propels me away from wanting them. Maybe one day this will change but for the time being I’m much more content with with the smaller decisions that life has to offer.
Like whether I’m going to have a chilli tonight.
No – I’ll have beef stew. Definitely beef stew.
No. Chilli. I quite fancy chilli con carne….
Or a beef stew.
You see this is the problem. I’m barely a fully formed adult myself. I can’t even decide what to have for dinner and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I could never provide guidance for a teeny tiny person!
Nuts. This is way too heavy a thought process for buying mince in Tesco’s. I think too much.
I’m not going to get into what I want to do with my life for the moment. I’m instead going to make up my mind about what to eat. I fancy something spicy, hearty, healthy and home cooked thats absolutely 100% on plan.
So – one thing at a time. Fix what’s in front of you. Trust that everything else will become clear in time.
Chilli. Final answer.
Success and enjoyment has today appeared in several things, but sadly it’s not been weight loss. I put a pound on according to the scales today.
At the risk of sounding indelicate however this doesn’t come as a colossal surprise to me. I see (ahem, cough cough) prunes, senokot, fibre bran or something very similar in my very near future. This week has not seen any (ahem, cough cough) regularity and I hold this responsible for my current result.
I’m not particularly upset either way mind you. It will happen next week, or the week after. Of that I have no doubt.
By the time I had sat down on the little red seats in Slimming World today I’d walked a total of 83 miles since I touched down on them last Saturday. Now THAT’S progress. My legs feel noticeably trimmer and more muscular by the day, and I can tell that in this area in particular my trousers are looser than they were before.
On the 15th April it will be exactly one year after I first joined Slimming World and I’m on track with my walking objective for then. I have another 54 miles to go. When I’ve completed those I will have managed to move my tubby behind the distance from Lands End to John o Groats and back (that’s 1698 miles) in the space of twelve months.
So my one pound gain is neither here nor there to me today.
Sure – I really really want to say by the same date that I lost 13 stone – but you know what? It’s a marathon not a sprint. As long as I’m continually doing something thats moving me in the right direction and I’m always seeing benefits who cares?
Also dates only matter for this kind of stuff if you have an end point (which I don’t really) and to me an end point says ‘when I get to my goal I’m going to treat myself with a giant pie and a pint of beer because then I’m normal and I can do what other people do.’
The truth is I never want to get to that moment. I want everything forever to be about getting better in some way – where I’m continually improving some aspect of my physical or mental wellbeing.
There is no end point as such in sight really – just continual hard, but ultimately rewarding work.
To others this may seem odd – but because of this attitude I’m beginning to care less about the numbers on the scales (notice I don’t say I don’t care at all) and more about everything else.
Things like inch loss, people noticing I look smaller, crossing my legs in the cinema, being invited unexpectedly to a house for coffee and sitting outside without fear in patio chairs with arms, sleeping like a baby almost every night, walking 83 miles in a week.
These things keep me going all the time.
Anyway internet, I need chilli con carne. All this thinking about children and the future has made me hungry.
You know what’s nice though?
Thinking about the future. I never used to do it before. I didn’t think I’d be here to experience it.
Hmmm. Who knows what else will change….