When I was a senior in high school, I became friends with some Swedish exchange students – Per, Henrik, Charlotta and the guy who asked me to prom, but I said no because I wanted to go with Per, but he didn’t ask and so I went to the drive-in with my girlfriends instead. What was his name? That’s going to make me nuts today.
Anyway, it was a Friday night and we were all going out. I thought I was supposed to pick up Per at his host family’s house. I arrived, knocked on the door, and heard, “Come in!” I walked in to find his host parents engaged in *ahem* full-on amorous activity.
I didn’t hear “don’t.” They had yelled, “DON’T come in.”
Claire uses the word “don’t” a lot, particularly when talking to (well, yelling at) her baby brother. “Don’t play with that, Luca Man!” “Don’t touch my blankie!” “Don’t look at me!” Don’t, that that context, is such a negative Nelly word. But when used in its cautionary and instructive context, it’s one of the more important words in our vocabulary.
Here are three “don’ts” I’m striving to live by:
1. Don’t stray from the moment
I have a bad habit of wishing time away, especially when I’m on the elliptical or hungry and waiting for the microwave to heat up my food or waiting for an auction to end on eBay.
I was really bad about it when I was losing weight. I made a spreadsheet predicting where my weight “should” be weeks and months in the future based on my average pounds lost per week. Every week I couldn’t wait to get to the next week. Every month I couldn’t wait to get to the next month. In the future I’d be smaller and I was convinced smaller was better. All living in the future did, though, was waste a lot of moments that I’ll never get back. Moments when I could have really gotten to know (and more importantly, APPRECIATE) myself at each weight.
I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this since making goal, and while I certainly have come to appreciate the person I was at 300, I wish I’d – in the moment – appreciated who I was at 265, 209, 172, etc. My impatience gets me nowhere. A minute will pass whether I’m impatient or serene. Ergo, don’t stray from the moment.
2. Don’t take your body for granted
Jon Kabat-Zinn once said (and I’m paraphrasing): If you’re breathing, you have everything going for you. Our bodies are pretty amazing, at any size or fitness. But I often fall into the mind trap of lamenting what my body can’t do rather than what it can. Or, when it can do something, not remembering there will be consequences if I overdo it. And when do I overdo? Either when I’m attempting to show off (the gym is really bad for that) or when I conveniently forget I have limitations. (Arthritis? What arthritis?)
This “don’t” reminds me of a lovely song by Toad the Wet Sprocket called “I Will Not Take These Things For Granted.”
Music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall
Dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire
Running through the forest
And standing in the wind
In rolling canyons
I will not take these things for granted
3. Don’t offer unconstructive criticism and don’t wait until tomorrow to make things right if I fail at Don’t 1 and Don’t 2.
I’m the queen of self-flagellation, although I have come a long way and am much more mindful when I’m being a total bitch to myself. (So manybe I'm no longer the "queen" but a maidservant...LOL) I don’t treat myself half as badly as I used to. That’s a HUGE step forward for me.
I need “don’t” in my life. Don’t keeps me on the straight and narrow. And, if heard and paid attention to, can prevent me (and amorous couples) from a whole lot of embarrassment, too!
FYI: Lynn’s Weigh is on Facebook! If you’d like to join our group, click here and become a “fan.” Every day I post a question or topic that we chat about throughout the day, and readers post questions to me and other readers, too. It’s a fun way to stay in touch.
Also, check out my latest blog on Refuse to Regain, “No, thank you. I stay here.” I’ll mark my 3-year maintenance anniversary in a few weeks and I reflected on how maintenance changes year to year. Would love to hear your feedback!