What would you do, and other questions without answers

Monday, June 4, 2012 Permalink

There are times when I’m so inspired that I have to sit and write a blog post – even if I’m in the middle of a gazillion other things.

This, you’ll be thrilled to know, is one of those times. And I have two of my fave bloggers to blame thank for this eruption of self-awareness… or possibly whatever is the opposite (self-ignorance?).

Interestingly though, it’ll be building on something I started writing last year, similarly inspired. But… here’s the rub (don’t you love that saying? I don’t really understand it or its origin, but it’s got a certain je ne sais quoi to it!) – in October last year when I sat down to write, I got stuck. Big time!

What would you attempt to doThis all started marinating around my little brain a few weeks ago when Karen, from Before & After, wrote a post featuring the ‘What would you do if you knew you could not fail?’ quote. I commented that I’d seen the quote late last year and was so excited by the concept I had my fingers poised to respond, before I realized I had NO FRIGGIN’ IDEA what to write.

Then, on the weekend I read Jules’ latest Big Girl Bombshell post. Her very exciting news is about a book she will soon be launching. Her desire to write, she says, has long been a secret dream, and her post ended by asking: “What is your secret dream?”

Again, I sat at the keyboard, fingers at the ready. And stopped. Shit!  It required more thinking than I could muster on a Saturday morning, so instead I left some glib comment about not-working. “Perhaps writing,” I said.

Then I continued my day’s blog reading and came to Karen’s latest ‘Before & After’ post.

Karen’s come a long way in her weight-loss journey and is now a non-dieter. She’s always come across (in her posts and in her book) as very calm and zen. But lately she’s struggled a bit with some old demons. She’s been questioning her behaviour and coping mechanisms, but in Saturday’s post she writes that she’s realized she’s been asking the wrong question and – she needed to look at the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’.  Her post ended with a challenge for her readers: What better question could we be asking ourselves?

All of these thought-provoking posts early on a Saturday morning was just too much for me. I was feeling tired and emotional and as a result:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Schmiet/status/208721999894286338″]

I continued my blog reading (yes, I knocked off 68 unread posts, emptying my Google Reader – which incidentally featured in my ‘Photo-a-day’ challenge for June, under the theme of ‘Empty’. Meaningless to some, but important to me after a few hours at the computer!) and came across one from Skinny Emmie.

Anyhoo… Skinny Emmie’s vlogged about staying motivated (to lose weight and get healthier) given it can be such a long bloody trek!

Naturally, on first glance, my answers to Jules’ and Karen’s questions would be weight-related. My secret dream and what I want to do (if I could not fail) would be to bloody well lose weight and keep it off! Like Skinny Emmie, I don’t like the alternative. I don’t want to remain this weight and I don’t want to get heavier. That’s a no-brainer!

But… as I’m trying to remind myself that ‘I am more than my weight’ I decided that I wanted to take it out of the equation for a change.  Rather I want to try and imagine myself at an ideal weight or – indeed – any weight.

So then, body-image issues aside: What is my secret dream? What would I do if I knew I could not fail? And so, it seems… in response to Karen’s later challenge, a better question to ask myself is: ‘What do I want?’

Faaarck! Again, I’m answerless.

It occurs to me, since turning 16 years of age I’ve spent so much time focusing on the weight, dieting, body side of my life that I don’t know what else I’m passionate about, or what else I want from life.

Is it contentment that I desire? And what the f*ck do I mean by that? Do I know what to do (or not to do) to achieve it?

Or should I be aspiring to love and be loved? And, is that enough?

I wonder if not knowing the answer is a bad thing. Will I continue flouncing about life…. searching…. for some indescribable much-aspired-to state only to remain thwarted in my challenge and left waiting, wondering… because I don’t bloody know what it is I want?

I often talk about putting my life on hold until I lose weight. (Which is a worry given that I am 44 years old!) But I now wonder: Is that it? Is that really what’s holding me back? Or perhaps it’s a lack of direction? Or  a lack of desire?

What’s your secret dream?
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What’s a better question to ask yourself?

Do you know what it is that you want?


  • jules- big girl bombshell
    June 4, 2012

    well, you mention one of my secret dreams in your post (thank you) but there are others…a motivational speaker, owning a clothing line, and a biggee…having a non profit to help kids use their creativity for social good.
    what would I do if I knew I could not fail? Own my own business. and of course, All of the above and more!
    what’s a better question to ask myself? It actually started with many of the similar processes that you are going through. Not just knowing what I want but asking am I do something everyday to work toward those dreams. Next question..why or why not and lastly…is it based on a fear or is there something more I need to learn.
    It is all a process. My biggest turn around was as you ask…is my weight really holding me back or is it the excuse.

    • Debbish
      June 4, 2012

      Wow Jules… I have to say, I only got to the last bit of my post by chance (ie. is it my weight that’s holding me back or something else?). I’d finished writing it and wrote the last para – about how I always blame my weight… but wondered – in taking it out of the equation – if something else is at play. It’s so easy to blame my weight for my failures, lack of successes – or whatever comes in between!


  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    June 4, 2012

    What’s interesting is that the question I included in that first post was modified to this: what’s worth doing EVEN if you fail?

    But anyway, you said something here to which I can so relate: “It occurs to me, since turning 16 years of age I’ve spent so much time focusing on the weight, dieting, body side of my life that I don’t know what else I’m passionate about, or what else I want from life.”

    Exactly. Me too. And even though I have realized some of my dreams (writing…) I also very much realize that “my weight” is still often front and center.

    And so I am continually asking and answering those same questions. Maybe that’s my purpose.

    • Debbish
      June 5, 2012

      Karen, I suspect the ‘even IF I fail’ is even scarier to contemplate!

      In writing this I got to the point where I wondered how I WOULD discover my passions and secret dreams!

  • Marion
    June 5, 2012

    Hi Deb! I think the question of “what would you do if you could not fail,” is about taking far more everyday chances and exploring possibilities. Most of our chances we take on ourselves are *not* worth any frenzy. They do not risk our health. Failure is not that bad. It actually shows a great deal of self-confidence to be okay with making mistakes in front of others. Once I embraced mistakes, failure, and struggle, I actually *could* do many of the goals I wanted to do. Learning from mistakes makes life easier, not harder. You’re a little risk adverse. I know it sounds wrong, but people who makes mistakes, knowing that we can learn from them, get amazing results of *not* being a perfectionist.

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      June 5, 2012

      Oh Marion I’m VERY risk-adverse… I occasionally make big life-changing decisions (changing jobs a lot, working o/s) but there’s always a safety net involved and I haven’t fallen. That’s not to say I haven’t failed (there was a time at University, it seemed I did little else – other than sleep, hang out with girlfriends, watch TV etc – hmmm… could be some contributing factors there!) but – as you’d know from my posts – I prone to not-trying if failure is an option.



  • Satu
    June 5, 2012

    I have several “secret” dreams, but I’m not going to reveal them here. 🙂 I do want to lose weight, but I don’t think it’s very high on my list of things I dream of doing…

    You got me curious writing about this today. How did you choose your career (whatever it is)? Was it something that interested you or did you drift intoit? What are your strengths? Are you using them in your current job?

    • Debbish
      June 5, 2012

      You’re right Satu – I’ve drifted into some recent jobs and there are aspects of my job I enjoy (doing some writing – though in form of briefing notes, reports etc) but sometimes I’m left feeling quite uncreative and unfulfilled. The move to a 4-day week recently was supposed to go some way to improving my work/life balance and give me more time to ‘discover’ my passions. (I hope!)

      Looking forward to the slow reveal of your secret dreams over coming years (or their achievement!!!).


  • Eating as a Path to Yoga
    June 5, 2012

    I think women especially use their desire for weight loss/body dissatisfaction as a sm0kescreen so they can avoid the real exiled feeling and exiled dreams they truly wish to pursue at a core level.

    What could we accomplish if we put weight loss on the back burner, and instead lived out loud and pursued tangible ideas? AND… would that impact our weight?

    I don’t know. Just something I’ve been thinking about.

    • Debbish
      June 5, 2012

      Very true I suspect. I often wonder what I would have done with my spare time if I hadn’t spent the last 25-30yrs obsessing about my weight (think of the brain space I would have cleared up!).


  • Julia
    June 6, 2012

    I read this post a few days ago, and have been thinking long and hard about the questions you posed at the end of it. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I knew I could not fail. I feel lucky to say that I am already doing what scares me – finishing a PhD and going into a job market with terrible prospects, but remaining optimistic because I really love what I do. I think a better question to ask myself is what would I do if I knew I wouldn’t die. I’ll never sky dive because throwing myself out of a plane seems like asking for trouble. But seriously, when I think about my secret dream, it is to be thin and fit. It is my only dream. It is the one thing that I can’t do for myself easily. Your post makes me realize that I DO really want to find my svelte and fit self, and I CAN do it – the only thing that is stopping me is forgetting that this particular dream can become reality.

    • Debbish
      June 6, 2012

      Great response Julia. I love that you’re working towards your passions – your PhD! Professionally I’m not really sure what I want to do/what interests me or what I’m passionate about.

      Also, it’s great that you realise becoming fit and svelte is doable! Yay!

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    June 6, 2012

    I’m still thinking about this one Deb – watch this space 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 6, 2012

      Yes… it’s not an easy one. You can see how I found the concept exciting but then stumbled at the starting blocks!!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts