Recently, I listened to a talk given by a religious leader, Dale G. Renlund, which spoke about our ability to try to be something more than what we are now, persevering in our efforts to do so, and being patient with others who are striving to do the same. The essence of the talk was that our focus should be more about who we are now and what we are becoming rather than what we once were. In his talk, Renlund quoted a line from As You Like It by William Shakespeare. In the scene, the eldest brother, Oliver, is being questioned as to whether or not he plotted to kill his younger brother, Orlando. He responds to the inquiry with, “‘Twas I, but ’tis not I. I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tasted, being the thing I am.” In modern terms, Oliver is expressing that he did plot to kill Orlando and he has no shame in confessing it, as he knows he has since been converted from his evil ways. As I listened to the line from Shakespeare, I kept repeating the words in my mind, “‘Twas I, but ’tis not I,” and then I asked myself, “who am I now and who am I no longer?” I’m thinking now, though, that the best question to ask would be, “who do I want to be?”
So many different thoughts race to my mind when I ask myself, “who do I want to be?” The overwhelming thought being that I would like to be healthy. My greatest desire for myself is to be physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially healthy. When I put it that way, though, I see the list, get overwhelmed, and prevent myself from trying at anything at all. Then, I get the idea that maybe if I just pick one thing that is of the utmost importance it will have an affect on the other categories? Or better yet, maybe I need to pick just one thing to improve upon from each category? The physically healthy category should be the easiest, as right now I’m at Level Zero, despite the fact that Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda claims, “There is no such thing as Level Zero.” The other categories may be a little more challenging.
I recently posted the image above on my Facebook timeline because, while this is not actually a picture of me, it is me to a T. Would you like some proof? Go ahead and type ‘burger’ in the Search field on the top right side of my website and see how many posts reference my love for burgers. While the image perfectly captures my current stance on fitness and burger intake, I am embarrassed that I make light of the topic so much. Contrary to my actions, I really do believe in the importance of being physically healthy. My road to being physically healthy will look different than your road, as cheeseburgers may not be your weak spot. So, if you are seeking a healthier lifestyle, then ask yourself what steps need to be taken to make that a reality. I have plenty of things I can improve upon in the realm of diet and exercise. If I’m only picking one, I think I’ll go with only allowing myself one burger a week. Yes, this is a challenge for me. Remember, Level Zero.
I’m picking this one over an exercise related one, as my cholesterol numbers are less than favorable. After the Stroke of Luck, they did some customary blood work. In the past, my numbers were of borderline concern, but these new numbers were embarrassing. I did learn that postpartum cholesterol numbers are skewed, but to avoid added risk post-stroke, they placed me on cholesterol medicine. Apparently, cholesterol numbers do not level out to an accurate reading until one year out from delivery. This means that in July I have the chance to get off of cholesterol medication. While I am a big supporter of medicine, I think it’s silly to be on medicine for something that can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. So, long story short, I’m starting with my cutback on cheeseburgers. I’m going to imagine that in five years from now somebody will confront me with, “Did you once eat so many cheeseburgers that you were on cholesterol medicine?” Then I can respond, “‘Twas I, but ’tis not I.”
I often wonder what “level” I would be at in the emotionally healthy realm if I did not suffer from Bi-polar II? Mental illness is a tricky beast because sometimes you fall for the old-fashioned beliefs that if you just do XY&Z, then you can be cured from such an illness without medication ever being needed. I don’t doubt that doing XY&Z can lessen the blow of a low in the depression cycle, but I’ve yet to witness a natural solution in my nine years with the illness. So, what other options do I have in this category? I would like to stop yelling at my kids.
I am not a frequent yeller, but the fact that I yell at all upsets me. I may be the worst type of yeller, because I don’t yell at all people. I imagine a person that yells at everyone in their life just doesn’t know any better. But if I do not yell at strangers, nor my husband, nor my friends or extended family, then I must know better. My children are the only ones that seem to get my wrath. I hate it. It’s such an ugly trait. It’s definitely less than it once was, but I have yet to eradicate yelling from our home. I’m not even going to excuse it, per my previous post No Excuses, No Explanations. No excuses; just solutions here today. How about a “Yell Jar” instead of a “Swear Jar”? Heck, this could end up helping me with being financially healthy. I may have enough money to buy myself something nice.
If I had to pick a category that I was the healthiest in, it would probably be this one. However, I am still lacking plenty. I’ve always been good about bedtime and mealtime prayers, but morning prayer tends to be a hard one for me. Mainly because I am not a morning person. I stay in my bed as long as humanly possible, thus not allowing for a couple extra minutes for morning prayer before having to tend to children. However, studying the scriptures can be just as crucial as morning prayer in becoming spiritually healthy. Ugh! It’s a toss up. Perhaps I will cheat in this category and do two? Morning prayer and scripture study combined are likely to have the greatest impact on improving my health in all categories. For the non-Christians out there, a good alternative may be to add time for meditation to your daily routine.
Remember my love for cheeseburgers? Well, I don’t eat them at home. I eat them at my favorite restaurants. It turns out that eating out adds up when you have five other companions joining you. Meals out are pricey with our family size. Eating out is a huge weakness of mine. I would much rather spend money on eating a meal out with my family than buying myself a new outfit. I don’t even have the courage to admit to the amount of money spent from our budget on eating out. Let’s just say that I will cut down on our restaurant budget and frequency by at least 20%. Whew. That feels like a lot to swallow. I suppose with my burger cutback, this may happen naturally.
It’s as I suspected, improving something in one category has an affect on other categories. As mentioned in It’s a Habit!, the average length it takes for something to become a habit is 66 days. To help me with my goal, I just went and installed the app HabitBull on my smartphone. Only three of the five changes mentioned are really habit forming. I added the following habits to HabitBull: daily scripture study, daily morning prayer, and a one burger a week tracker. The yelling will be managed by the “Yell Jar” and the 20% cut in restaurant budget will be tracked through You Need A Budget (YNAB).
Wish me luck in helping me become who I want to be. Thankfully, like Oliver in As You Like It, I do believe that I can be converted, as I have seen changes already in my life from what I once was. What a remarkable thing it is to be able to grow and develop into something more than we are today. Think of all the opportunities that lay before you, if you just ask yourself, “Who do I want to be?,” and then strive to become that person.