On accepting, but not giving up

Friday, January 16, 2015 Permalink

I wrote a post while away at Christmas about the fact that I was pleasantly surprised to discover I’d ‘changed’ without really realising it was happening. It seemed I’d become more zen, despite the lack of lightbulb moment signifying the transformation.

And then this past week I shared some exercise goals. I realised I had no desire to learn to run or become fit enough to get through arduous bootcamps. I just wanted to be fit enough to feel comfortable and healthy. On a similar note I expect I’m going to be disappointing my personal trainer who’s worked out how much weight I could lose in the next year on a specific (sustainable) calorie allowance and so forth. I haven’t had the heart to tell him my goal is really to get into exercise enough that I start making sensible food choices…. rather than dieting.

Gone are the days I yearn for a super slim or fit body. (Well, fit would be nice, but…) When goal setting with my trainer, I said I’d like to feel comfortable (with myself) enough to have a relationship. Someday. He asked about specific body parts I thought could allure unsuspecting (but possibly desperate) potential suitors (butt, chest and so forth). I almost gagged on my water. “Ummm… I’m not really worried about that sort of thing,” I told him. And besides, I’d like to think someone was mostly attracted to my mind (and my interminable wit). #obvs 😉

And finally – a true sign I’ve moved on – I gave away some material I’d saved for nearly 20 years. I had two pieces of green silk I’d bought when I lived in Cambodia in 1997. It wasn’t expensive but I’d loved the colour and it had great sentimental value. I’d imagined some fabulous dress, perhaps also with emerald green sequins. I’d wear it for some amazing life-changing event. When I lost enough weight.

Waiting for happiness

And the other piece was a smaller piece of gorgeous pink / gold embroidered material from India. When I lived in Mozambique in 1995-1996 I child-sat for a friend who travelled from Africa to India with her husband for a job interview. They were only gone a few days and their household staff remained. I was a poor volunteer but suddenly had a cook, maid, security guy and driver at my beck and call. And quite frankly their three kids were lovely and quite accustomed to absentee parents.

On her return however, my friend presented me with this small piece of stunning material she’d bought in India. For all I know it was some cheap thing she picked up at the airport on her way home, but it seemed special to me.

I’ve kept it since. Imagining some sort of fabulous halter-neck top, showing lots of my toned tanned back, perhaps with a gold chain or similar across the back. Of course, again… this dream top would come to fruition WHEN I eventually lost a decent about of weight to wear such a thing.

You may be thinking that suddenly I’ve engaged a dressmaker and am finally getting my dream clothes made – despite not having lost weight (and having gained it).

Well, sorry. No fairytale endings here.

However… as I was feeling a tad poor at Christmas, instead of giving my niece money (my usual fall-back) I gave her the material. I thought she’d appreciate it and knew she’d look great in anything made from it.

Also – it was like I was hanging onto some dream that may never come to fruition. Like keeping size 10 clothes when you’re size 20 and (now) really only aspire to size 14 or 16!

Change and acceptance

My fears were similar to those in my recent ‘exercise’ post.

Was I giving up? 

Much overanalysis later, I realised I wasn’t. I was accepting, but not giving up.

I was ‘accepting’ a new reality. I don’t think I’ve come as far as ‘accepting’ who I am today, but I’m realising that one doesn’t necessarily need to aim for perfection. Again, shooting for the moon is perhaps a thing of the past for me. Being fit and healthy and feeling good in clothes is perhaps enough. Of course I’m a long way from that, but we know from every reality TV show EVER that… it’s a journey.

Have you ever changed your goals or dreams mid-journey? 

Late to the party, but Flogging my Blog With Some Grace today.

  • Andrea @ The Pineapple Cake
    January 16, 2015

    Wow. What an excellently written post.
    You’re definitely not giving up in any way, shape, or form… just changing your goals.
    As a perfectionist myself, I know how hard it can be to accept things that are not up to the standard you have in mind.. it’s something I struggle with daily, both personally and in relationships. To be able to sit back and say I am happy with my progress to this point, and I know there is still a journey to go is a big step.
    You have the right attitude, and I look forward to seeing your progress.

  • Min (@riteofthemiddle)
    January 16, 2015

    Deb – I have done almost exactly what you explain here – held on to things for WHEN I am slimmer etc etc. I had a big clean out ages ago and finally passed on my treasures. I have accepted that I will never be as slim as I once was. I hope to get slimmer than I am now – yes but I will never be that very slim younger me again. It’s interesting that you are talking about ‘acceptance’ as that is what my Mindful Monday post will be about on Monday. Here’s one sentence out of the post I will be publishing on Monday …. “Acceptance is not ‘giving up’, resignation, spinelessness or detachment. Acceptance describes the embrace of the true, deep understanding of how things really are. It is a pause, a period of allowing, of letting be, of clear seeing.” Min x

    • Debbish
      January 16, 2015

      I’ve had the Michael J Fox quote for a while Min (not sure if I’ve previously used it actually) and always think that really represents what those promoting ‘self-acceptance’ are trying to say. That it’s ok to accept who you are (here and now) while still seeing room for improvement or change!

      Look forward to your Monday post!

  • middleagedmama1
    January 16, 2015

    I’m with you Deb, I was just to feel fit enough to feel comfortable and healthy. Over the past 12 months I have managed to lose 6kg mostly by walking more and trying to be more selective about what I eat. Slowly but surely!!! x

    • Debbish
      January 16, 2015

      Thats great Janet, well done! I saw the pic of you on the treadmill the other day and you looked fabulous!

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    January 16, 2015

    Oh Deb I love reading this and I too have started to accept a bit more. I will never be what I was but don’t really want to. I’m proud of you for giving away that gorgeous material, and I’m sure you niece will love it. I think the sooner we just accept what we’ve got the happier we will be. Sure we can change our habits, I like you am just trying to get healthier and hopefully other positive side affects will come. My big thing right now is not taking on board other’s negativity and also not expecting them to act a certain way. x

    • Debbish
      January 16, 2015

      Ah yes, that’s something I still need to work on myself Em!

  • kirstviz
    January 16, 2015

    I’ve had a really bad week and yet reading your post inspires me that its ok to change things as you go and just accept life as it is. Thank you x

    • Debbish
      January 17, 2015

      Great to hear Kirsty! The sane part of me knows that sustainable change is the way to go, but it’s easy to get influenced or swayed by desperation or when comparing oneself to others!


  • Char
    January 17, 2015

    Great post, Deb. Changing goals mid-journey means that you’ve had a realisation. You’ve learnt something about yourself. That’s never about giving up – more about self-discovery.

    • Debbish
      January 17, 2015

      Thanks Char. I like to think so. I also like that the change (in me) seems iterative. After years of trying to force myself to be ‘different’ (thou shalt lose weight; thou shalt be more zen – etc) it finally just seems to be happening. I’m sure there’s a lesson there!

  • yinyangmother
    January 17, 2015

    I think your re-evaluation is a great step towards change. We can only change when we start from a point of acceptance of what is. Especially as we get older it is great to get comfortable enough to be able to realise we don’t have to (and probably) can’t get bad to some youth ideal, but that we can be the fittest, healthiest and hopefully happiest version of ourselves, maturing like a good wine or cheese!

    • Debbish
      January 17, 2015

      Ah yes… completely agree – it’s realising that not achieving some (unrealistic) ideal of our youth is not failing but evolving in some way!

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    January 17, 2015

    I sense a big change in you Deb! Change is exciting! I’m excited for you 🙂

  • Jess
    January 17, 2015

    I actually think this is a huge step. If you can accept then you can lower the pressure and anxiety and it no longer becomes a battle it just happens. At least that is what I tell myself. It is really hard to change and I think you have changed a fair bit. I bet if you got to a size 16 or 14 you would feel amazing. And it is not far away from a 10 or 12. When I was studying Personal Training I read women in their 20s soul focus (typically) is to get skinnier. At some age it shifts and women want to be healthy, they realise that looking better and feeling better will come with that but looks are no longer the soul focus. Reading it made me really assess my goals fitness wise cause I knew previously being skinny was the goal.

  • Jacana
    January 19, 2015

    I really enjoyed reading that post. THANK YOU. If we don’t change our goals and focus from time then we are not living life. So my response to your question – yes I change my mind, my goals and my focus every week if not everyday.

    • Debbish
      January 20, 2015

      Oh thanks Jacana. Glad you enjoyed it.


  • Grace
    January 21, 2015

    Bam! That Michael J Fox one is one of my all time favourite quotes!
    I used to think I would be “giving up” or resigning but then it just got so exhausting to resist or fight was beyond my control. And that’s the thing – we can only change what’s in our control.
    That’s not giving up – that’s all about acceptance.
    Giving away that material would’ve been a very special gesture and I’m sure your niece appreciated it.

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