Choices for Change

About a year and a half ago I published another blog post, titled Open.

It was one of the most well received that I’d ever written, which I attribute to the fact that women want other women to be real people in front of them.  They want friends to ‘do life’ with.  People who are there with them when they’re annoyed, angry, happy, laughing hysterically.  People who won’t judge them if (when) their kid does something that embarrasses them.  People who are willing to say, ‘hey, this sucked for me.  I am not okay with it.  I need to fix it.’ and who are willing to be there in whatever capacity is needed in a transitional or difficult time.

I have found, in all my discussions with other women, that they want to be connected to other people without any front.  They don’t want masks or fake faces or the pretense of a perfect life. They want real.  They want reality.

Before I go any further, I want to encourage ALL women to become this.  To be real.  To not try put on ‘airs’ or pretend to be anything other than who you are.

Sometimes, it’s hard, being legit, when you aren’t sure if you are safe to be so… maybe the women around you aren’t being truthful about themselves.  Maybe you are the only one who is open and honest about your life.

Stick with it anyway.

Because who you are is who you are.  What other people choose to do is not on you – you be you.

So anyway, back then I did that post and a few people asked me how I chose what I chose to do to enhance my life.  In this case, I chose to start running and signed up for a 5k; I chose to visit my sponsored child in Thailand; and I chose to get LASIK. Yes, these were all pretty big decisions.  Well… the last two.  😛

So how did I decide on these things?

They were already ‘on my radar’.

In high school, I wasn’t an athlete – I was a musician.  However, I was sort of physically fit – I liked to walk and do aerobics and I didn’t mind jogging a bit in gym class.  I never ran an amazing mile – often, I felt like I was dying by the end of it 😉 (my first 5k I was elated to hit the first mile marker and still feel as awesome as I did!) – but I never associated that feeling of gym class/presidential fitness test with jogging or exercising for leisure.  As an adult, I went to the gym a little bit before and after Pink’s birth, but soon the membership was sitting unused, so I did the smart thing and cancelled it.  I had seen friends do a Color Run and thought it looked pretty fun, but knew I was in no shape to try to run one yet.  I hadn’t even committed to wanting to run one yet… but I knew about them, and my interest was piqued.

When I was in 2nd grade, I got glasses.  When I was in 4th, I got bifocals.  I was able to move back into regular glasses early in middle school, but I continued to wear them until I got contacts as a freshman in high school.  I remember my grandma saying to me as a child, when I complained once about needing glasses (I cried about the bifocals), ‘It would be nice if there was something that could cure it, that’s true.’ (or something along those lines)  Many years later, LASIK became increasingly popular.  I had some problems with my contacts in 2011-2012 that had left me unable to wear them for long periods of time afterwards.  Though I never slept in my contacts and overall wasn’t the worst contact lens ‘abuser’ out there, I didn’t give my eyes the break from them they needed and ended up with a scratched cornea and some other problems.  I became accustomed to glasses again, and though I could wear contacts as needed, they never felt comfortable in my eyes again after that.  During that process, I briefly asked the optometrist about LASIK, and he told me that I was at a prime age to consider it.  I didn’t pursue it further at the time – the cost scared me away, and it was put ‘on the shelf’ as something that I’d ‘like to do someday’.

I looked – one time – at the trips and tours page with Compassion International.  It was right before they took a trip to Thailand in 2011? or so.  I deflated with disappointment to see that this was something I would never be able to afford.  Oh well.  It was just a pipe dream anyway.  I didn’t look again.

Availability/Timing and a big Motivator.

Picking up with Compassion first…

Out of curiosity, I looked at the tours page again in April of 2013….

And there was a tour scheduled…

and registration was opening up at the end of the month.

I didn’t even pause to consider.  I didn’t think twice.  Biggest pipe dream first? Yep.  Sure.  Let’s do this thing. I didn’t have a passport.  I’d never been out of the country.  I had no idea, on that day, how I’d save the money for it.  But I made up my mind that it would get done.  It would happen.  Registration opened a few days early, and I signed up.  But before I even did that, I began looking around — how could I make some extra money for this?  I put in applications, vowing to ride the town bus if need be to get to work.  I did job interviews for the first time in TEN years.  I figured out exactly how much I would need to save each week in order to get the full amount in by the deadline – I had 5 months.

While looking at the tour page, I noticed where it said it would be ‘moderate in difficulty’.  I wasn’t surprised – I knew there would be physical involvement. *Cue the Color Run springing back into my head.*  … I wasn’t opposed to running.  I sort of liked running, actually.  I had friends who liked running.  So I asked a friend to train for the 5k with me. Because I wanted to be physically fit enough to not worry about any sort of difficult terrain I may come across.  I wanted to be healthy for this.

Then, as I was thinking about the logistics of being in Thailand, I thought, hmm… how nice would it be not to have glasses or contacts while there?  I mean, I didn’t know how long our days would be.  I didn’t want to abuse my eyes with contacts… I also didn’t want the hassle of glasses everywhere. So… I called the LASIK center and set up an introductory, ‘evaluation’-type visit.  It was in July.  I was a great candidate for LASIK, and we worked out a good date for it – something after both 5ks I would be running in September, and after my final total was due to Compassion, but yet early enough that I would be a few months out from the actual trip.

So we settled on September 26.  September 7 I ran my first 5k.  The 14th I ran the Color Run.  The 20th I had my trip paid in full.  And the 26th I had LASIK.

There was a reason I called September my #monthofaccomplishments!!  😀

It’s good for me.

I had always had the idea of going to visit my sponsored child.  It was a far off, lofty goal for me – one of those ‘someday’ ideas that maybe I’d get the chance to do.

I don’t know what made me decide, in April of 2013, to look again at the Tours and Visits page on the Compassion website.  I hadn’t looked in a long time.  The thing with ‘someday’ goals is that as long as you say ‘someday’ there is no real date attached to them, so you can push them aside and forget about them.  I wasn’t really thinking all that hard about actually trying to go when I first clicked on it.  I was just sitting at home, feeling bored, and maybe a bit stuck in a rut, and wanting something refreshing, new, and different to do.

Seeing that trip coming up ignited in me a desire to do it that spurred the other things along.  It was the mental ‘kick in the pants’ that I needed.  Then I went to Thailand and if you’ve ever read anything on here, you have probably seen it referenced.  It was an amazing trip, and seeing the work of Compassion International inspired me to become an Advocate, sponsor another child, and become more involved than I was before.  Meeting my sponsored child – and many others – showed me what a difference sponsorship makes.

Sometimes I fall off the running wagon.  I did really well running, and I really enjoyed it, until winter came and I discovered that I despise running on a treadmill!!  😀  That said, I don’t plan to ever let that happen again – because then when you start back you have to start all the way back at the beginning!!  The horror!!!  So yes, I’m running again.  I have a 5k coming up soon, actually.  🙂

Running is my favorite way to stay physically active.  I have found great benefits in it… yes, I do actually enjoy it.  Even on mornings when I don’t necessarily feel like getting up and heading out the door before 6:30am, I am ready to go by the time I get there.  And then on mornings when it rains and I can’t go?  Ugh… I get pretty miserable!

You don’t need me to tell you how good it is to be active.  There are plenty of ways to do it – running is just my personal fave.  🙂

LASIK was a big decision.  A lot of people look at it and think it looks scary… ‘what?  You want me to let them take a laser to my EYEBALL?!  NOT.A.CHANCE!!’  But it wasn’t something that ever worried me.  I knew it was going to be a little costly (my trip to Thailand and my LASIK cost the same, pretty much 😛 ) but worth it when you look at not buying contacts and glasses all the time for the next however many years PLUS the convenience of not needing them!

I’ve not had any problems with my eyes post-LASIK.  I would reach for my face to take off my glasses every night before bed for about 3-6 months; I would reach over to pick them up off the night stand for even longer.  😉  Old habits!  But it’s really amazing… by the time you sit up from them finishing the procedure, you can see much better.  The worst part is the sensitivity to light for the rest of the day… even that night, I watched TV with sunglasses on.  😀  But the next day, you can do everything.  And you can see without glasses.

It’s amazing.

Those are the things I chose to do to enhance my life at that time, which have all had lasting effects through today and the future.   They may seem simple, or random, but there are always little things in our minds that we might say, ‘Oh, I might like to do that…’ but we push it off and wait.

Sometimes, you need to not wait.

If you think you want to do something to make your life a little fuller, you already know what it is.  Or maybe there is more than one it, like me.

Do it.

Because you can.

Find your things that you want to do.  They don’t have to make sense.  They might make people look at you and question your motivations (selfish? weird? narcissistic?) BUT those things don’t matter.

What matters is you finding time to be you.   It’s creating a life for yourself that you want.

Let me know and I’ll cheer you on, even if no one else will.

Make your life full – not busy, not cramped.  But full.

Good luck!

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