A New Story
When O reader Adrienne Farr went to a taping of Oprah’s Lifeclass in New York last spring, she’d recently lost 25 pounds but was still lacking confidence. During a commercial break, Farr asked Oprah what to do when you’ve been thinking negative thoughts so long, they’ve become facts. Farr was surprised by Oprah’s answer. “She told me I was stuck in my story, and it was time to create a new one.” Now, nearly a year later, Farr reports that she’s lost 30 more pounds. “Since going to that Lifeclass,” she says, “I feel so much more self-assured.”
When I read that this morning, I felt like that was the answer to my life right now. I felt like I was stuck in my own story. I was bored with it. I was tired of the excuses. I was tired of this way of living. I needed something else.
I have been telling myself for the last month that I needed to create a new story.
Usually when I feel this way, I end up moving to some insane new place, but this time, everything in my universe says to stay. So what is it that I need to change about my story?
Well, for one, I’ve taken baby steps with this change. I went out for the first time to meet co-workers at a happy hour. I never do that. But getting out, I was able to meet people that I had only seen briefly, and had no idea who they were. It got me to start talking to ‘potential dates’…better yet, it was teaching me how to speak to people in a social setting. It’s been a very long time since I have gone out and tried my social skills. Sure, I go to fashion parties…but I’m always talking business, rather than learning how to make new friends.
It’s so hard breaking out of that ‘career’ minded mold.
Martha Beck wrote in this month’s O column that your home is a realistic picture of how your internal world is going. If it’s cluttered, a mess, or lacking vision…that’s the way your true world is. Your home is how you view your world externally.
When I read that this morning, I knew it was true. Then I took a look at how I really saw my world at home. There are spots of clutter here and there, things I need to do (like laundry). My weekend bag from this past weekend is wide open and only half of the stuff is put where it’s supposed to be. The other half is still in the bag. I keep thinking…I’ll get to it [procrastination bug runs rampant].
But the truth is, I know that things need to change.
It’s almost Easter and I still had up my Valentine’s Day decorations. I finally took them down last night and started switching them out for Easter decor. I even ordered new pieces to add to the Easter into spring look.
I’m moving things around and preparing myself for spring…when change really begins. We let go of that feelings of being anti-social or just too plain tired to do anything. We feel anew as the weather warms up and we begin to see flowers blooming, and the tree buds popping open.
This is the change I’ve been needing…but it’s only the signs of change, not THE CHANGE.
I have this little fear of being the center of attention. It makes me very nervous…like I’m so nervous that my whole body starts to shake kind of nervous. This is insecurity and fear of being judged…or being scared that someone you want to like you just thinks you’re a complete idiot. When I was looking at Time Out New York, they actually had a solution to that…acting classes that will practically beat that stage fright right out of you. So I decided to sign up.
The benefits coordinator in my office sent around an email reminding everyone that they needed to get their reimbursements in to the health insurance company for weight loss programs and gym memberships. I didn’t participate in either. I took a look at the brochures, as well as the discounts some of the nearby gyms were offering and decided to join Weight Watchers and the local gym. Why not have a real go at correcting what ails me and being accountable to someone else for my progress?
After all, one of the gyms that was available I’ve interviewed before. They only have the highest clientele, a spa, and no riff raffs in the locker room to freak me out. And…they don’t always have a lot of people there 24/7 like you’d find at Bally’s or NY Sports Club. This gym was made more affordable thanks to a corporate deal with my office, so that means I can afford the membership.
Also, to reconnect with God, I decided to go back to the Meditation Center at the start of April and do my 2 days a week meditation classes…and stick to it.
I am also signing up for classes this summer at NYU to finish my Slavic Languages certificate (Czech/Russian).
I want to learn how to knit…they have knitting parties in NYC where you can meet other knitters.
Book clubs? How to Sew classes? Also on my list.
The point of all of this is to not only do things for myself, expanding my knowledge and creativity, but to also meet new people and connect with others while doing these things.
If you were to take a look at my boho home, you’d realize just how many different worldly elements there are to me. I have an interest in so many different things, and a desire to do so many activities in this lifetime.
I hit up Pinterest this week to find projects (and solutions) to decorate and create storage at home. Home Depot has become my friend…I ordered so much paint in shades of blue and green, I am probably set for the rest of the year with DIY projects.
The new mattress and frame is on its way, along with the finishing touches to spring up my living room. The new office organization (from the previous post with the mint file cabinets and white console table) is ordered and on its way. Crates and baskets for storage projects, canvases for art projects…all on its way.
What’s out…the old stuff I’ve been hanging on to for way too long that it hurts (like a 15 year old mattress), and a twin sized mattress set that I never got around to really creating the look I really wanted. I’m even letting go of all of the purses, clothes and home items that just aren’t me anymore. I’ve either outgrown the look or I found I didn’t love it afterwards.
A lot of things coming into my life…they’re all new and better than what I had before. As I sat here today clicking “Check Out Now” and entering in the credit card numbers, I kept thinking that I’m not dreaming about my future life anymore. I’m actually allowing myself to live it. I’m actually focusing on the real vision, the real dream and working on making it a reality.
There are things I aspire to do…like be a business owner, finish writing my book, be more organized, be more diligent about having a clean home, own my own home, get married, have my own little one. These are all of the reasons why I left hockey writing…it’s just time to start making that life my new story.
These are the things I want out of this life. I don’t want to dream anymore. I just want to do those things. Instead of dreaming of how I’d live my life for tomorrow by looking at catalogs and magazines of inspiring worlds others have created…I’ve decided to just make this new story happen. After all, I’ve been lacking in this new story for some time, because I’ve been holding onto the old story for way too long.
My life lacked the change I needed to be happy. Because it did, I started to criticize myself. I mean, my world…I wasn’t happy with it. All of those horrible things people say about you…you actually begin to believe them all. They become your facts and your truths…when you know they shouldn’t.
People that laugh at you because you’re alone…you start to ask yourself if it was really your choice or if it was a circumstance.
When you look at the sands of time trickling down your hour glass, you have to ask yourself if it’s even worth dreaming about getting married and having a family. Maybe you’re just better off committing yourself to sisterhood at the Meditation Center. Believe me…this stuff crosses my mind all of the time.
After reading Martha Beck’s column this morning, I realized that I can either let those fears and criticisms become me, or I can let that be my old story. That’s who I was, not who I am now or going to be in the future.
This new story is about changing me for me. It’s about doing the things that will make this life better for me. Weight Watchers and a gym membership? While I’d rather save the money…my old life…I realized now that I need help. I need someone that will yell in my ear…”you’ve got to do this for yourself.” “You’ve got to get healthy because your body is disintegrating.”
Learning new things, new languages and creating new bonds and friendships? This is better than withdrawing into my own shell like us Cancerian crabs like to do. Instead, I’m forcing myself to be a happy crab, instead of one that doesn’t want anything to do with anybody…and yes, I do get very moody like that. You can say, I’m tired of being like that, because I feel like I’m missing out on something in life by feeling that way.
My new story is about stepping up to this life. It’s about not getting drowned by the doldrums or shutting the door to the outside world. This new story is about embracing life and all of the amazing things that come with it.
Embracing life means looking at and dealing with what ails me. If it means becoming a flat out vegetarian or vegan…then I’ll move in that direction. If it means running in a marathon by year end, just because I needed a challenge…then so be it. If I end up embracing my creativity more because I end up doing well in that world, then it’s a good thing I decided to become that person…the person I envision I want to be. Her story is my new story.
Through all of this, there will always be challenges…just to build a firmer foundation to this new story. If this new story is anything like the last few stories…trust me, I’m in for an even more amazing ride than I was on before. The stories…they always get better. The last one…that was nothing compared to what is going to happen. That’s just the way my adventures have progressed in this lifetime. They always get better.
I believe it’s that way for everyone that believes in the impossible being made possible one day. After all, back in 1998, I was dreaming of this day. It was impossible to me back then. Today, I see how my impossible has become possible…and the story is way better now than I thought it would be back then.
So if you’re stuck in a moment…create your new story. It’s the best thing you will ever do for yourself.