Sunday, April 18, 2010

Into Each Life A Little Rain Must Fall

"Be still sad heart and cease repining;
Behind the clouds the sun is shining,
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life a little rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary"
Longfellow

I was 20 minutes out of Pittsburgh Friday, heading home on Route 28. The rain was light when I left, but getting heavier. It was only 4:00, but it looked like dusk. I called Cassie and asked her to check the weather online and tell me what was ahead. She said the radar indicated I was heading into a large red cell, but that closer to home things looked better.

I threw the Jeep into full-time 4-wheel drive and put the wipers on high. Traffic was steady. No one was passing anyone. Suddenly, a hot-shot green pickup came barreling out of nowhere and rode my tail before darting out in front of the car on my left, barely missing my back left bumper. Good thing I needed both hands to drive, not that he’d have seen my one-finger salute through the downpour. Schadenfreude isn’t very Zen, I know, but I felt a gratifying pleasure when, four minutes later and still driving cautiously, I caught up to him at the stoplight at the end of the four-lane freeway. 

The stoplight is where Route 28 turns into a two-lane nightmare that can take me 40 minutes or 60 minutes to trek, depending on whether a coal truck and/or a semi truck is ahead of me. On Friday, however, it wasn’t a truck but an impending red cell that slowed everyone down.

My Jeep was one of a long line of vehicles (including the green pickup) that drove into that big dark blip on the radar. Like synchronized swimmers, we drove up and down and around the hills as the lightening flashed and the wind threatened to blow us off the road. The rain was pounding so hard I couldn’t hear Ira Flatow,  so I turned off the radio and thought about the person driving the lead car. Was he white-knuckled? Was his heart palpitating? Mine would be. I’m not a leader. I’d have pulled over and let someone else take over. I was sincerely grateful to that driver 15 cars ahead of me who neither panicked or choked and wished my driver’s ed instructor had been so brave 30 *cough* years ago when he had me turn the wrong way down a one-way street in downtown Minneapolis in rush-hour traffic. Talk about choke and panic.

When the radio’s off, my mind starts to write. It links circumstances to metaphors and I start talking to myself. I really wish cars came equipped with black box recorders. Anyway, the metaphor du jour was, conveniently, the rain, and more specifically, the red cell on the radar.

When I decided to lose weight for the last time, I was extremely motivated and I dropped the first 15 pounds fairly easily. Then the scale started slowing down, even going in reverse some weeks. I “called ahead” to the people on the Weight Watchers discussion board who were on the path ahead of me. What’s coming up? What do I need to prepare for? And they told me about the “big red cell” – that storm of doubt and fear, loose skin and dissatisfaction, frustration and the fat girl who lives in the back of our heads.

I’d journeyed down the weight-loss road a thousand times before, always as the green pickup truck. In a hurry and unfocused. This time, equipped with knowledge – especially the knowledge that I wasn’t alone – I got in line and rode the hills up and down and around. I turned down the noise and listened to my body. That’s what made all the difference.

Since slowing it down five years ago, I’ve encountered lots of green pickups who were stopped by the red light. Some fell into line and journeyed slowly with the rest of us, but most pulled over and avoided the big red cell.

I can still see the clouds in my rear-view mirror. I might have lost weight, but I need to stay ahead of the storm. And that journey isn’t any different than the one I began in 2005. It’s all part of the same path.

So what about you? Are you the green pickup or are you the vehicle that’s geared down with its lights on and wipers on high?
----------------------------------
Congratulations to Tricia, who blogs at Endurance Isn’t Only Physical, for winning the “10 Minute Solution: Ultimate Bootcamp with Jessica Smith” DVD.

12 comments:

  1. Love the metaphors. I am the original turtle in so many ways, but I have come to accept that now.

    And I love the term Schadenfreude - my husband and I use that all the time :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been trying not to be the green pickup since early 2004. So far, so good. Unfocused "driving" will lead me to a cliff and I'll drive off of it. Trying to live a real life, and still stay focused my goal weight is a challenge. But there are so many challenges in all areas of our lives. This is but one.

    Nice post, enjoyed reading it!

    Margie M. writes at:
    www.myhealthylivingthruweightcontrol.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe I have found the place and time in my life where I am achieving weight loss for the last time. In the past, I have very much been the green truck. This time around I have a plan that has become a part of my every day living and resolves to so much more than achieving weight loss. When my body feels better and the good old medical charts confirm improved stats I know I am ahead of the storm.

    I like your reference to calling ahead...this is very much how I feel many times simply by reading your blog.

    Thank you for being so thought provoking and I love your writing style!

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow.

    it is the same path, huh?

    in fitness and in career, errr, I mean life in general :)

    Miz.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I use to be the green pickup jump out there and run forward guns blazing. I have learned with age, that I need to slow down and it will come. My weight is coming off slow but sure. So I am in the last car bringing up the rear and it feels good. I really enjoyed this blog today. Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a thoughtful post - and you know what? This time I had you and Lori and Jennette and so many other bloggers who were ahead of me in the journey to lose weight that I was able to get some direction, and I really think that was why I finally did it - lost a ton of weight - this time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The green pick up is a wonderful way of putting things in perspective.

    I have never been severely overweight. I am only 5'1" and 10 to 15 lbs makes a huge difference.

    At 47 and about 10 lbs over my happiest weight, I really get this post.

    I have lost these 10 lbs many times throughout my life. Sometimes staying there for 2 or 3 years. But never permanently. I always inch up.

    10 lbs seems like such a small thing, but it isn't. In my past it takes 10 weeks of solid Weight Watchers and exercising lots to get it off.

    Why do I think that now I can be that green truck? I can't.

    Thanks for your post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I desperately wanted to be the green pick up....until I realized what it entailed.
    Now I am the happy little economy car that is chugging along slowly all the while discovering new things about myself and how I operate. I have realized there is no special price for getting there first!

    leftyb

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is my very first time to read your post. So interesting. I noticed your photos on your profile. Such a wonderful change. You look so great and sexy on your before and after photos.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Shelley said it perfectly! I can only say "Ditto." Thanks, Lynn!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yessirree. I am the slow but steady driver following a slew of other cars both on my weight loss journey AND in real life storm driving! Loved your thought process.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've been behind with my reading, glad I read this today, I really needed to. I've been in a funk but I know you're right I just need to stay the course and I'll be just fine. *hugs Lynn*

    ReplyDelete