Looking Forward, Letting Go

This blog is about choosing happiness – not chasing it like a dog chasing its tail, not denying its existence, and not pretending it’s the only emotion on the planet, because that wouldn’t be honest. But I do believe it’s largely a choice we make – sometimes an easy one with no good alternatives, and sometimes a struggle because for some unfathomable reason, we humans seem wired to wallow in our misery from time to time. I’m looking forward to 2013. Letting go of 2012.

I don’t know why I spent so much of 2012 in a funk. Maybe my upbeat, humorous response to having cancer took on a desperately manic edge and finally crashed. By the time I could look into the mirror and say out loud, “Good God, there’s something wrong with you!” it seemed a bit stupid. Because anything that might once have been wrong had long ago been put right. But just as I’m “good in a crisis” and apt to go catatonic a week after the danger has passed, I tend to have delayed emotional responses to any sort of stress. So instead of owning up to the fact that there was a huge disconnect between reality and my emotional outlook on life, I wallowed in it−inwardly. All the while smiling and pretending everything was just peachy. Because rationally, it was. But I don’t think I was fooling anybody.

So, me being me and all, I decided that the root cause of this mental funk was my hideous purple blog and a wardrobe full of butt ugly clothes−because I don’t like to shop for clothes when I’m depressed and feeling stupid, fat, and ugly−even if that does turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And although I’ve always thought that boredom was a much bigger overeating trigger, for me, than emotions, it was clear that things like sugar, wheat, preservatives, and lack of exercise weren’t doing my mood or self-esteem any good at all. And so I posted gluten free recipe links and anti-GMO protests on Facebook and felt a little bit productive. Laugh all you like, but I felt like I’d time-traveled back to 2005.

Stepping through a wormhole is not as bad as it sounds. Because in 2005, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, recommitted to all my goals, and achieved more than I set out to achieve. I’m going to do that again in 2013. I got my hair cut, painted my nails, and forced myself to go shopping−laughing at myself for waiting until a few weeks before Christmas when the mall would be at its most miserable height of insanity. I grudgingly made an appointment for my annual check-up. (Not the 1.5 year post-op cancer check – did that in June! All is well!)  Even got my flu shot while I was there and didn’t kick or bite the nurse.

Now, I’m going to get my resolutions in order for the coming  year.

  • Lose 80 lbs. by 10/4/2013
  • Finish “A New Leaf for Lyle”
  • Successfully complete Project 365
  • Explore art
  • Simplify, declutter, organize, and focus on what matters

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

— W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951



Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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7 thoughts on “Looking Forward, Letting Go”

  1. Being obtuse and obstinate by nature, it takes several smacks over the head by the hammer of experience to drive a new thought through the bony chitin surrounding what passes for a brain beneath. But one thing I have definitely learned in life is to DIVE IN. I am a horrible dancer, for instance. But when a friend desperately needed someone to fill in for a ballet, and remembered my saying I had had (for a year or two) ballet lessons in my youth, and begged me because she couldn’t find someone else, I heard my mouth say yes – it was frightening beyond belief, and intense as I rehearsed almost nonstop on an emergency basis – but it was a thrilling experience, even if I never want to do that kind of thing again! More recently, I didn’t think twice about tossing aside the five jobs I was working at once, hardly ever sleeping except when driving from one employment to another, and moving to France – and then from France to Panama – and finding in the latter country a heavenly way to live. So yes, I’ve learned to find solutions by perceiving outside the “narrow chink” of which William Blake spoke, and then to dive into the water without hesitation. Good column!

    1. Now that takes guts, James – good for you! I have a friend whose son is a ballet dancer, and he briefly quit – much to everyone’s chagrin – no doubt due to some stupid middle school peer pressure. I, for one, was thrilled to hear he’d chosen to go back to dancing. He’s talented, good looking, smart as a whip, and about as cool as they come – and now I know he’s got a real man’s self confidence, to boot. Anyone who would look askance at a man for dancing in a ballet has no idea of the athleticism and strength required.

      I also think you’re pretty courageous to pack up and move to not one, but two, new countries. I’m glad that it has turned out to be so rewarding for you, too. You deserve that happiness, and it seems like the perfect fit. Give my love to Andrea!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…The Clean Slate MentalityMy Profile

  2. Wonderful for your friend’s son! I did the exact opposite – I unquit ballet for a brief while! Normally, I’m so bad a dancer that, when I get up at (say) a wedding reception, they clear the dance floor – no, not to watch my fine styling, but as a safety precaution! But my friend was desperate, so I went through a couple weeks of intense effort to help her out. I was frightened that I’d make a botch of it, which would have sent the performance into shambles, but I managed to get through it, and people even said I was pretty good!

    Moving to France and then to Panama was borne out of desperation. I was destroying my health and shortening my life with the pressures of the States. I’ll only give myself the credit that I thought beyond the normal contours of problem-solving in saying to myself, “Why not live abroad?” And now I am, in Panama, incredibly happy, in a gorgeous landscape, and at my age a newlywed madly in love with his bride, and INSPIRED – since coming here, six new books completed, and four more close to completion!

    Of course, your thousands of loyal blog-readers are by now eager to take a look at my books, so, to hijack (inside joke) your own blog, they will now hie themselves to my author website just as I hied myself to Panama – http://audlinbooks.com

    1. Dear James, hijack my blog whenever you like. I like to promote your blog, too – help out a fellow author AND showcase my own talents (I did help you set the thing up!) Of course, the writing is all yours and that’s what makes it a wonderful…oh, yeah, I need to add it to my spiffy NEW “Recommended Reading” blogroll, too. Thanks for the nudge!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…The Clean Slate MentalityMy Profile

  3. Wow, you’re shooting for 80 pounds while I’m saying I’m only shooting for 15 to add onto the 25 I lost last year, but with an ultimate goal I’m looking to get to within the next couple of years.

    It’s an amazing thing, the mind. We think we have it all under control, and when we realize that we really don’t it’s both a revelation and a frightening experience. I don’t have cancer and never have, but it seems to have taken 14 years to come to grips with the reality of being diabetic, and I’m not taking it well at all, mostly by behavior. That’s a shame, but it’s what we do.

    I wish you the best cleansing of mind and recreation of body in 2013. When I get my mind back, I might join you on this journey.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…To End Or Reduce Blogging – The ConversationMy Profile

    1. Mitch, we have to start somewhere. Commit to the 15, and when you lose 10, re-evaluate and set new goals. 80 may seem overwhelming; to me, it’s just a reminder that if I don’t start now, it’s only going to take MORE years to get there. (I’m down by almost 10, now, by the way – since writing this post.) I’m dead serious about it. I’ve done it before, and by God I’m going to do it now.

      NOW. Not “again.” And never “again” after this. There is no slacking off – maintenance may be harder than losing it in the first place. You have to realize that right now, at the start, and commit to that. Just like taking care of yourself as a diabetic – if you get your numbers in line, it doesn’t mean you can go back to your old lifestyle. You have to KEEP them there the same way you GOT them there. Right? Right.

      Learn to love it, Mitch. You can find me on sparkpeople.com – tell ’em HEALTHYWRITER sent you. You’re very welcome to join me whenever you’re ready. 🙂

      Today’s challenge: See a movie, with my husband, without eating popcorn. Part of me is already in mourning and denial, trying to negotiate a deal with other parts of me that are more disciplined.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Choices, Choices: Food, Fun, and FitnessMy Profile

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