Monday, August 25, 2014

Simple math: Three Little Things Plus Three Short Years Equals One Happy Birthday

Not quite three years ago, life was basically good but felt unbalanced somehow.  I made some changes...well, more like mini-commitments.  Now, three years later, on my 44th birthday, it seems like a good time to look back, reflect, and share.

Calculus sounds so complicated, and I've never been great at math, so initially, I did just three things: went back to church, went back to Weight Watchers, and went back to the library.

Not some outrageous bucket list.  Just a very simple, very personal list.

This isn't going to be a religious blog, though I will talk about faith.  I believe in God, I am a Christian, but I mostly subscribe to the notion that "we are all just walking each other home" (thanks for that image/idea, Ram Dass).  There are as many pathways as there are people.  I definitely don't have the perfect equation, but I keep working on it.

At first, I just sat quietly in a pew each Sunday, but soon I joined the choir, and I realized how much I had missed singing, something I had done for years but discontinued after the birth of my first child.  Making joyful noises with the little choir at my church has turned out to be immeasurably good for my soul.

Church also led me back to prayer, of course, and I love the quote from C.S. Lewis in the movie, Shadowlands: "I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping.  It doesn't change God, it changes me."

The first thing I prayed about in earnest was my Dad, who is in the later stages of dementia, and my step-mother, who is his primary caregiver and who, of course, struggles with grief and loneliness.  Prayer helped me to focus and act.  I talked with my step-mother, and we came up with a plan where I would visit about every other month, and on most visits I would bring one of my three kiddos with me. Three years and a whole bunch of visits later, it's been life changing for all of us.

Returning to Weight Watchers was somewhat less dramatic, and I'm not here to be their spokesperson.  It is just a solid vehicle for making a long-term commitment to my physical health.  I've struggled with my weight forever, and I've joined and quit WW before.  So, I went in with the mindset that I was going to commit for the long term, expect it to take time but be permanent, and that I would not say mean things to myself through the inevitable ups and downs.

It's taken every bit of the last three years, but I've lost more than 50 pounds, am adopting healthier eating habits, am much kinder to myself, and go running at least five days a week.  I've completed a couple of 5Ks and my first 10K is in sight.  This definitely isn't going to be primarily a weight loss or health/fitness blog, but I will share aspects of my journey, as this improvement in my physical health has been an important part of my equation.

Finally, I dusted off my library card.  I've always been a bookworm, but law school and then kids disconnected me from reading just for the sheer pleasure of it.  I started using Goodreads to keep track of my "to read" list, as well as to share what I've read and my reviews with friends.

Reading more reminded me of how much I like to write.  I used to journal all the time.  Now, I write my little book reviews, my endlessly entertaining Facebook posts, and a quarterly article on child welfare-related topics for the Partnership for Strong Families' Partnership Connection newsletter. 

All of this has been so much fun that it got me to thinking about blogging.  One thing you need to know about me--I usually think about things for quite awhile before I actually get started. Not sure what that's all about, but I'm sure as I continue to crunch the numbers, I'll figure it out.  So, here I am, on my 44th birthday, baby-stepping into the blogosphere.  Heaven help us all!


  1. I can't wait to read it!! I am happy for you. About all of it. :-)

  2. I am in awe of your commitments. I don't see them as mini. Even though I am not a believer I miss that community so much. Beaufort has a lovely Unitarian fellowship and I will try to never live without a UU again. Kelsey, I didn't know your dad has dementia, what a trying time for you all.

  3. Thanks, Guys! Not sure where I'm going with this, but I'm enjoying myself!