Something interesting I’ve learned on this little break from real life is that in 2016 I’ve gained 10 pounds. That’s not terribly interesting, I know, but when you’ve spent most of your adolescent and adult life freaking out about your weight, then finally making it to a point where you’re comfortable, seeing a number creep up like that puts you in an interesting mindset.
Funemployment this week has been more needed than I realized. It’s so rare to have time where I can completely power down and do nothing. I’m not worried about work emergencies or emails because I don’t have any; I’m not worried about making it somewhere on time because I don’t have a place to be. I had every intention last week of being so productive, blogging ahead of schedule, cleaning my apartment, doing all of the yoga, prepping for the classes I’m teaching in the next few months, but most of my free time I spent sitting. Relaxing. Meditating. Lots and lots of Netflix. I needed to power down completely from the past six years of steady working and just enjoy a few days to myself. I found out as a pleasant surprise last week that my time off between jobs has now been extended for another week, which means I’ll be more productive this week, since I can’t keep doing nothing. But the week of nothing was something I desperately, desperately needed to get the ten pounds of baggage off of my back that I’ve been carrying around for so long.
When you have nothing but time on your hands, you have nothing to stop a wave of thoughts, memories, emotions, everything that’s easy to suppress when there are emails to send and meetings to attend and other responsibilities to cater to, from surfacing. Think back to a time where an embarrassing memory from years ago popped into your head out of nowhere and you find yourself overwhelmed with the same shame as if it had happened again in that moment. I had a lot of moments like that this week, mostly because I had nothing else to think about. I had moments where I berated myself for not doing “more,” and I had lots of “holy shit what am I doing” moments about the job and about my life in general. I also had a lot of time to reflect on 2016, now that it’s halfway over, and my word it’s crazy how much has happened and how many things have changed. I wanted to dwell on all of those for a while but then I went back to Connecticut for a few days and learned that I put on ten pounds and for a little while that’s all I could think about.
At first those ten pounds were really negative. It’s weight on me I don’t want or need, it’s a reminder that I haven’t been as active in my yoga practice as I should be and physical proof I’ve been neglecting the healthy foods that I love. It’s a reminder that my birthday is coming up soon and I’m getting older, and the days of endless beers and chicken wings may already be behind me. Ten pounds seems and feels and maybe even looks like a lot, especially when you’re someone who puts a lot of stock into some silly numbers on a crude metal square.
And then I started thinking about where those ten pounds came from. Those ten pounds are muscles in my arms that allow me to hold myself upside down with a semblance of ease. They’re trips to Austin to eat too many tacos with G, and they’re beers after a long Memorial Day hike with T and our persons. The ten pounds are handfuls of chocolate to survive a meeting with some of the best coworkers and enjoying the last few free lunches with them even if the food isn’t “Whole30 approved.” The ten pounds are new memories making their way into me as I let old ones that dragged me down go, replacing the illusion of a “perfect” body with real memories, like laughing with new friends that are some of the best people I’ve ever met. And those ten pounds are maybe skipping a yoga class or a healthy meal for date nights with someone who’s changed my whole life since he’s been in it.
So next week I’m starting a new job ten pounds heavier. New responsibilities, people, emails, meetings to weigh me down even more, especially after this much-needed mental vacation. Reflecting back though, I can take a little extra weight on me now and again. I may be ten pounds heavier, but for all the good, bad and in-between changes in 2016, ten pounds is a small price to pay.