Friday, October 18, 2013

I'm Worth It

I was talking with someone the other day and I was telling him about my journey. During our conversation, I had to go back to the very beginning. I hadn’t really thought about that day in a long while. The day of sitting out by the water, the day of scarfing down a huge hamburger and fries and a beer or two. That day was sunny— September in Florida, you can’t beat it— and I think the pelicans and seagulls were craving the fries as much as I was. I still remember how the mood instantly changed. We had all been joking and kidding, probably about the fry eating birds, and then in the blink of an eye, the conversation turned serious.  

As I said in “Starting the Journey”, my family was concerned for my health and my well being. In fact, they were so concerned that they were willing to pay the extortion fees that are required if one chooses to have gastric by-pass surgery. That they were making me this offer was both shocking and eye-opening. But the thought that permeated my brain was this: I’m not worth it. I’m not worth the one zillion dollars (ok, it’s not that much, but it might as well have been) they were willing to sacrifice for me. Now, I’m sure in their eyes, I would have been worth one zillion and one dollars, but I didn’t feel I was worthy or deserving of their offer. So, I turned them down. I told them that if change was going to happen, I wasn’t going to take the surgery route, I had to do the hard work on my own.

So now, if you fast forward the journey just a bit, two years to be exact, I’ve learned a lot. A lot about what I can do, a lot about who I am and a lot about who I used to be. But, by far, the most important thing I’ve learned is that on that beautiful September day, at the restaurant on the water, I was wrong. I am worth it. I’m not saying that I’m worth a zillion dollars (I mean, really, c’mon...I’m worth at least twice that!) No, what I’m saying is that I am worth the love, the concern, the care and the fear that my family went through in order to have the heart to heart conversation that they had with me that day. It changed my life. Hell, it saved my life!

So, I guess you are asking yourself how this fits into my “Road Trip”. Well, actually this reminds me of a little pull-off on along 515 between Jasper and Ellijay in North’s just a little ramp along the side of the road for people to stop and get out of their cars in order to really appreciate the beautiful mountain scenery that surrounds them. For me, this scenic view pull-off is to allow me the opportunity to thank those who have encouraged and inspired me along the way. I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for those who surround me. I may not have taken the offer, but I still can never repay them for what they've given to me.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Running Out of Gas Doesn't Mean the End of Your Journey

Early on, I wrote about being sidelined on your road trip in the post Broken Down on the Side of the Road. And, while there are many things that can (and will) derail your expedition for an extended amount of time, there are also some minor bumps in the road that will probably arise. I’m sure it’s not as common as it once was, but running out of gas is a real possibility when you drive for any length of time. With all the new technology in cars, it’s a little easier to keep up with how much gas you have remaining, but people still find ways to run out, trust me. I mean, haven’t you ever seen those poor souls walking along the side of the road with their little red gas cans? I know I have. 

I’ve discovered that running low— or out— of gas can happen in my figurative journey, as well. Just this past week, I celebrated my two year anniversary in WW. Now I can tell you for a fact that, over the course of those two years, there were many times where I either ran completely out of gas or was simply running on fumes. So I did what anyone else would have when the gauge approached “E”...I stopped to refuel. You can’t just keep driving full speed ahead and not expect to run down along the way. It’s best to stop every so often, get out of the car and stretch your legs. If you don’t do that, you may find yourself more permanently sidelined. Once fatigue sets in, that’s when accidents happen. If I let my mind wander, I stop paying attention to what I’m doing and that’s when I mess up. But, stopping to refuel gives me the opportunity to make sure my vehicle has what it needs to continue on, and so do I. 

I also think about when I’m driving to Atlanta, I always race against myself. If it takes me 9 hours and 15 minutes one time, the next, I would really like to make around 9 hours. Now, of course, all traffic laws must be obeyed, but I know that those few extra little stops along the way actually work in my favor. The extra strong coffee from Starbucks or the cold water splash on my face at the Florida-Georgia Line all help me achieve that goal of beating my previous time. I can hear your skepticism now, “how does more stops equate to a better travel time?” It’s simple, doing little things along the way to keep you moving forward and also reduces down-time if you require longer stops to combat your fatigue. 

Everything about this journey is about continuing to move forward, and sometimes we do have to move sideways or even backwards to keep going in the right direction. So don’t let yourself run out of gas. Keep one eye on the gauge and the other on the road ahead of you. When you feel it’s time to stop and gas up, don’t talk yourself out of it. Nobody can carry on a crazy, super-human pace without the proper amount—and type—of fuel.