I had what I will call a lightbulb moment in the early hours of this morning.
Last night I had a conversation with a person who stated that I had “no goals”. As I was conditioned to believe this person I took it to heart and after going to bed I tossed and turned for a couple of hours. This threatened to be another restless nights sleep before I realised this – it is not that I don’t have goals, it is just that MY goals and this persons goals are different and that it was their judgement that I needed to jettison.
My goals are not based on the material. They may not be traditional, they are not based on money making schemes or some mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are not grandiose and they are not concrete, rigid or structured. They are not all long term but they all have long term benefits. I don’t need to shout them from the rooftop. That is what they are NOT. What they ARE is that they are about things that matter to ME. They may not suit everyone, but guess what, they don’t have to – They only have to suit ME.
I don’t need to justify them or myself to anyone and I need only satisfy myself. That is a huge realisation for me. Even though I don’t need to, I decided to write down what can loosely be termed as MY goals.
To change a lifetime’s eating habits
I have been a vegetarian for a while. My goal is to become vegan. I want to do this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost it is because I can no longer be a part of the mechanism that causes death or harm of another sentient being simply so I can eat. It is unnecessary and it is counter to my belief that ALL life is precious. Yesterday I watched a TED talk by Melanie Joy called Beyond Carnism. About half way through she warns her audience that she is about to show them a video that they may find distressing. In it we are shown many common “humane” practices in our food production. I sobbed like a baby. I had already reached a point where I cannot stand the thought of putting the flesh of any living creature into my body. I still had the very occasional bit of cheese, cream or egg in my baking. No more. I want my belief system to match my practices and that includes what I put into my body. The health benefit is secondary to this but is another factor. I do not believe the myth that to be healthy we need animal protein. I will no longer be part of the crowd who consumes any food product that comes at the cost of the slaughter of a life or the suffering of a sentient being. I cleared out the last vestiges of animal product from my cupboard and refrigerator and I will not be going back.
To get fit
This one sounds a bit wishy washy and like every New Years resolution you ever heard, but it can be broken down. A bit of a backstory. Three years ago I weighed 82kg, I was struggling with osteoarthritis and I had no energy. I had fallen in to some terrible patterns of skipping meals until I was famished, eating junk and the worst of the lot, being sedentary. It needed to stop. I made the simplest of changes. I cut out the junk food (hot chips are my weakness) and I dragged my sedentary butt outside and became active again. I ate regular meals that were not ”super sized” and I focused on eating plant based and non processed foods. It made a huge difference. I lost 20kg in 18 months by simply changing my lifestyle and examining what I put into my mouth. I no longer needed the Clebrex and Panadol Osteo I had been using daily for my osteoarthritis. I felt so much better physically by virtue of not carrying that extra 20kg around. Now I want to take that a step further. I want to improve my core strength and get my general fitness level up. I want to be able to run, jump and be an active participant in life.
Just before Christmas I joined a gym. I see my Personal Trainer once a week and I go independently three times a week. I walk every day along the beautiful riverside path I have at my doorstep (a 6.5km circuit). I bought a bike and starting this week I will be riding to the station to catch my train with the end goal being that I eventually ride all the way to work. In winter I plan to start Indoor Rock Climbing to replace some of the outdoor activities that the cold and rain might inhibit. I have already noticed the physical changes – leaner, more muscle definition and biggest of all more energy! That is three months in. More to come.
I currently work part time in a role that offers financial stability a bit of flexibility but isn’t particularly stimulating for me mentally. It is a “job” not a career or vocation. This is going to sound strange but I am currently doing something most people do as kids and trying to figure out what I want to be when I “grow up” 😉 I love to teach and I am interested in healthy diet, holistic health and the reversal of commonly accepted ailments (such as Type II Diabetes and heart disease) with lifestyle and dietary changes. So I am looking at going back to school. Exactly what that will be and over what time frame is what I am researching. Dietician. Natural Therapies. Teaching. I am looking at those paths.
I fell into consumerism and embraced it wholeheartedly for many years. I have way too much “stuff” that I have accumulated that simply takes up space and that I really don’t need. I like the concept of minimalism so, I am downsizing and clearing out my excess of “stuff”. I started with my kitchen cupboards and my wardrobe. From the Tea cups and saucers that I have never used to the jeans, dresses and shirts that I never wear – out they go. They hold no value but they may be of use to someone else so I am donating them. The appliances and crockery will be going to help Asylum Seekers and the rest to the Op Shop. The Kitchen is finished. One wardrobe down, one to go. Shoes are next on the hit list. Then the books and DVD’s.
To heal my soul
I was in an unhealthy relationship and it changed me in ways I am not happy with. I became someone “different”. Damaged. I carry the emotional scars from my experiences and I have fears – mainly that I will repeat those mistakes. The biggest scars of all though are the self doubt and lack of trust in myself and in others. I believed the negative stuff for way too long. Negativity is a soul destroying “Cancer” that is not easy to remove, but I am working on that. I am questioning why I so readily believed those things, what it was that I truly wanted and needed and why I stuck at it even when it nearly destroyed me. I forgave them but now I need to forgive me. I deserve better. I now believe THAT. I want to understand ME better.A long journey that starts with small steps. I have taken my first steps and I feel free for the first time in a long time.
A bi-product of my unhealthy relationship was the isolation from those who matter. My family. My friends. I need to reconnect. To let them know they are valued and that they are people who matter to me. Sounds simple,but after going back more than once and being so isolated it is a challenge. I have started.
So as I sit here this morning eating my oats with almond milk, walnuts and cranberries before dropping my daughter at school, going for my walk and then riding my bike to work I know that jettisoning the negative thoughts and words of one individual was yet another step on the path to recovery.
Not a bad start for a person with no goals.