Realisations and transformation

Thursday, December 8, 2016 Permalink

I listened to Kelly and Brooke’s ‘slow realisations’ Let it Be podcast when I went for a walk last Saturday. The subject came up, they said, because someone in their Facebook group had mentioned their ‘a-ha’ moment came after years of therapy and journalling and wondered if there was some way of fast-tracking these lightbulb moments.

Both Kelly and Brooke believe there isn’t. They suggest the ‘journey’ (#sorrynotsorry) we go through is as important as the realisation itself. That without that ‘work’ behind us we may not be ready.

Brooke said she thought that we’re only able to ‘own’ the realisation if we’ve done the work to get there. They talked about slowly developing the muscle we need to make the breakthrough or similar, saying perhaps it might help us come to realisations more quickly in future but that it was because we knew ourselves, our behaviour and thought processes better.

I was out walking on my favourite local pier while listening to this and it conjured up some thoughts I’ve been having lately about my weight, dieting and weightloss surgery.

I’m not going to talk about the surgery or my decision at length here (at the moment / yet). But, though I’ve lost a lot of weight it’s been challenging and confronting in ways I couldn’t have expected.

It’d be easy (though) to wish it was something I did when I first contemplated it in 2011 (and wrote about it here), or even when I was in my 30s. I was certainly heavy enough at times to warrant the surgery. I mean, that might have still left me with time to find a partner and have children, the latter now being almost an impossibility.

It’d be easy to kick myself (metaphorically of course, cos… ouch) for not doing it sooner. But… the cold hard fact – on further overanalysis pondering – is that I don’t think I was ready.

I spent my 20s, 30s and most of my 40s thinking that lightbulb moment would come when my food obsession (which started when I became anorexic at 15-16) would be resolved. Years and years of therapy and over half a dozen therapists tinkered in my mind as I tried to work out ‘why’ I tried to (first) starve myself to death and then eat myself into numb oblivion. To understand why I hated my body and myself so much. And why life didn’t seem worth living if I wasn’t able to binge on anything and everything.

Old Diet Schmiet readers would know I tried everything over a 30 year period – I gained and lost 20, 30 or 40kg more times than I can recall. There were dozens of diets and I even blew $7500 on a month at fat camp in 2009. And yet…  dieting just wasn’t working for me. Not with my history. And neither was ‘not-dieting’. For me there was no moderation. Just the dieting / binge-eating extremes.

My a-ha moment wasn’t the one I expected. I wasn’t suddenly ‘cured’ or ‘better’. Rather I realised that – even though I still talked about ‘when I lose weight….’ and the things I’d do – I didn’t think it would happen. Ever.

My life may have looked very different if I’d had the surgery years ago, but I was not ready. And I needed to be.

Similarly, I reflect on my seachange and it’s easy to wish I’d dropped out of the rat-race years before I did… but I wasn’t ready. I probably wouldn’t have done so at 43 had I not received a redundancy which allowed me to afford to make some changes. I was too entrenched in that ‘earn money, pay mortgage’ life to think about quitting a job without having my next one lined up. But there was also a tipping point for me.

Failed pregnancy attempts, my father’s death and friends who’d moved on with their lives helped me realise I was ready for change… ready for transformation.

Do you think there are ways to fast-track our a-ha or lightbulb moments? To fast-track change or transformation?

the-lovin-life-linkyI’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the interwebs. You can link up via any one of us!

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy from 50 Shades of Age
Johanna from Lifestyle Fifty
Min from Write of the Middle.
and Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit.


32 Comments
  • Denyse Whelan
    December 8, 2016

    I have had many ah-ha moments since we moved and I retired and all that jazz. I have looked back, wished for changes to have been made back then etc etc and all the while knowing that THEN nothing I knew or did then put me in a frame of mind for change/transformation then.

    Reflection is good if we take the time to learn from the past. However my life lesson that dwelling there does nothing for us. The only moment we have is now (Ekhart Tolle says much like this).

    I also know, hard as it has been for me to accept, that I have had to go through the challenges and difficulties to emerge with life lessons learned and continue to teach me.

    Life as is now is the only one I can affect or change. But gee that fast forward button would be good.
    I am also going continue to use journey. The word is suited to life and what I am doing. Time to own that too!

    Loved your reflections and hope that the writing of them helped.
    Denyse x

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Oh absolutely Denyse. I often think about those ‘sliding doors’ moments in my life – when I went one way rather than another – and am conscious that I wouldn’t have had many of the experiences I’ve had if I’d made different decisions… so no matter what decisions I made, they were the right ones as I can’t assume things would have been better had I done something different.

  • HandbagMafia
    December 8, 2016

    There’s a lot to ponder here! I do think you have to be ready and worrying about how you “should” have done something sooner is kinda pointless when you can’t go back. My hubby has a tattoo on his arm that says “Only Forward” which is pretty bang on, I reckon.

  • sizzlesue15
    December 8, 2016

    I’ve had many ‘ah ha’ moments and like Denyse since I retired. I have many things I would like to change from my past but unfortunately life is not like that. It is a matter of coming to terms and finding peace with those thoughts and putting them away so you can enjoy life today and now. Thanks for hosting the Lovin’ Life link up. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      So true Sue. That was a biggie for me when I realised I wasn’t going to have kids. It occurred to me that the life I was living was going to be ‘it’. Forever. I was 42 or 43 and had to accept the life I’d dreamed of wasn’t to be and I needed to change that dream for my future.

  • Lydia C. Lee
    December 8, 2016

    this is very interesting. I think I need to think it over a bit more to answer fully. But my immediate response is to disagree, and say you can have an aha moment prior to the groundwork being laid, because it’s literally an immediate dawning or comprehension of something. But you can’t purposely fast track it, because you need to have that moment of comprehension, and you can’t make that happen if you don’t see what you are lacking. Good post!

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Thanks Lydia. I’m really not sure. I suppose a therapist or someone could say… “THIS is what is wrong” or an outsider tell you what you need to do etc… if you can’t see it yourself. It’s hard… more so if you consider that the a-ha moments may never come and we’ll continue to live in oblivion when it comes to certain things….

  • Johanna
    December 8, 2016

    The older I get the more things I’d like to change in my past, but maybe they are things I’m only ready to change now, and I wouldn’t have been ready to take them on then, even if I’d realised they needed changing. I’m going through a situation like that right now, and although deep down I know it needs changing, in reality I know I’m not ready to do anything about it. Sympathise with your thoughts today Deb you’ve really made me think. In reality we can only do what we can do with the knowledge and powers we have available at the time.

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Yes… it helps me to process that sense of ‘regret’… by considering that whatever it was happened at the ‘right’ time after all and that I wasn’t ready for it any earlier.

  • Kate W
    December 8, 2016

    A fantastic, honest post Deb. I agree, you can’t fast-forward a-ha moments, you just have to get there on your own. I had one earlier this year – the way my husband’s family communicates with each other (or rather, doesn’t!), is a constant source of frustration for me, mainly because I think so much tension could be avoided if they just talked. It has taken me 17 years to realise that my husband’s approach, although flawed, is his coping mechanism (probably stopped him from going MENTAL) and that it will never change. I’m no longer fighting it. Doesn’t sound like a big deal when I write it down but has been for me because I just let go/ ignore the tension and frustration now and it’s been so much easier this year.

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      I actually had a similar realisation about something myself this morning Kate. I was lying in bed and couldn’t sleep and thinking of a few things that have frustrated me lately. Finally I realised there’s nothing really I can do about it and I need to disengage and ‘let it go’. (Which will now be NEXT Thursday’s post!)

  • kathymarris
    December 8, 2016

    No Deb, I think our a-ha moment comes when we’re ready for it. I never got mine until about 3 years ago when I was working in a boring job, doing the same old stuff day in, day out and hanging with friends who were dragging me down. Starting up the blog, ridding myself of negative people and seeking a new career brought me to where I am today. If only I had my a-ha moment a lot younger as I feel I have lost all those years of being a follower rather than a leader. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Yes, it’s a conundrum isn’t it?! We would have liked that change earlier and it would have been useful but we also need to be ready for it! Grrrr….

  • Vanessa
    December 8, 2016

    When we’re in the thick of it I think it’s reasonable to want to jump out of it. But I don’t think we can force the ah ha moments. They are only ah ha moments because they’ve finally sunk into our heads in a way that works for us. And that is time and experience.

  • Janet Camilleri (@middleagedmama1)
    December 8, 2016

    I guess to me, things happen when they are meant to. I always dreamed of writing for a living and having my own business, but like you, it took redundancy to push me into it. As long as we continue to learn, grow, and develop – never say never!!!

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Yes, I guess we don’t know what’s ahead of us…

  • Mystery Case
    December 8, 2016

    I think it’s easier for others to see our aha moments before we can & agree we need to do the hard work ourselves before we are ready to see or hear them.

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Yes, it seems to be the consensus Raych.

  • seizetheday20
    December 8, 2016

    Personally, I think it’s a process. Things happen at the time they are meant to, and unfortunately, we can’t rush time. It’s fun how some of the things I “really wanted to happen” didn’t work out and now I’m not sorry at all. I thought I wanted it at the time, but …. We just have to take it as it comes, I guess, and be kind to ourselves along the way. #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      December 8, 2016

      Yes… it’s weird to wonder how life might be if things had turned out differently.

  • robjodiefilogomo
    December 9, 2016

    Wow…what a great read Deborah.
    I have to think that this aging this affords us the experiences to be able to have “aha” moments and be able to analyze our lives. I would never want to be young again with all of the angst. And although I do wonder about if I had done something different, I think we’ve gotten smart in our old age. At least smart enough to realize we can’t change the past, but can learn from it!
    What a great quote from Elizabeth Gilbert!!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Debbish
      December 9, 2016

      Oh yes I love that Elizabeth Gilbert quote!

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    December 9, 2016

    I think our aha moments come exactly when they are meant to come. The aha moment is a realisation or an awakening (as you describe) and until we’re ready to see it and believe in it, it won’t happen. It may have presented itself multiple times in the past, but until we’re wearing our “I’m ready to see it now” glasses it will continue to glide on by unnoticed. Personal development and self awareness training can sometimes fast track this stuff … but really … I think it takes a moment in time when you need it most for the penny to finally drop.

    Great post Deb!
    #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      December 9, 2016

      That’s true Leanne… I hadn’t really thought about the fact it could have presented itself before but we weren’t ready!

  • Jo
    December 9, 2016

    I think those moments come when they’re meant to come & not a second before. I think the work you’ve done on yourself before hand can influence what you do with them or even how quickly you react to them, but if you’re not ready for it, you’re not ready. Fab post…love your Thursday ones best of all.

    • Debbish
      December 9, 2016

      Thanks Jo. I enjoy them as well… x

  • Emma
    December 9, 2016

    I don’t think you can fast track life but you can be brave in the decisions you make, following your instinct when you can because that sixth sense is probably right. There are lots of a ha moments and I suppose it’s acting on them.

    • Debbish
      December 9, 2016

      True Emma – I hadn’t mentioned that or thought about it. Once we have that realisation it’s up to us to DO something about it.

  • Carol Cameleon
    December 10, 2016

    I believe stringly in a-ha moments coming along at the right time for an individual. Often we try to force things but get frustrsted and waste energy. These moments come we are ready for them. #teamlovinlife

    • Debbish
      December 12, 2016

      I can appreciate your comment about waiting time and energy Carol – that’s a great point to remember.

I'd love to hear your thoughts