Mark and I went up to Ventura last week to ride some bike paths we hadn’t yet explored. We stopped at a new place for lunch and have fun being silly – even BEFORE we had some mimosas!
What Inspires Love?
Sometimes I think I get all in my head and judge myself harshly. I also get wrapped up in minutia of schedules and plans and what ‘I think should happen’ or ‘how I THINK I should react’. This is a tough habit to maintain, being retired, where one is supposed to ENJOY the fruits of freedom and to go with the flow. I think that one lesson I’ve learned lately is to let go more and to enjoy the moments as they come. For example, here’s a video I posted to Instagram just so you can experience the waves and the sound of the sea at sunset.
OK, so when you are gazing at SUCH GRANDEUR who has time to nitpick? ME, that’s who! I catch myself constantly thinking about what I need to do and prepare for the NEXT activity, whatever that may be. I think about when and what I’ll eat, even if I am not one bit hungry, I think about what outfits I’ll need and did I pack enough, I’ll wonder where we are going next and get anxious if I don’t know exactly where the next restroom is going to be.
Did I mention that I have a compulsive-obsessive mind apart from eating?
I believe that one of my stumbling blocks with food lately is also a long term stumbling block in my life. I don’t allow love in. I push it away with busyness AND I cover up fear of rejection with body obsession (old topic). It is hard to explain the differences in my perception now. I still have these issues and I still have behaviors that block my progress, but they are not so automatic.
What inspires me about the changes I’m trying to make is that I now realize love is all around. Do I sound like some sappy music is playing? Let’s think about love for a moment.
In the USA, and probably in much of the world, love in the romantic sense is portrayed on screen and in poems and in music as that giddy butterfly feeling of sexy newness and soul mate discovery that we are taught to long for. After almost 21 years of marriage, love feels different. And I used to miss out on knowing how much I was loved since I didn’t identify all of the acts of love that came to me on a regular basis.
Cupid and Red Baby
This is a great example.
See this car? This is MY red convertible. I got this car because Mark knew that I would love it forever. He knew this car met the secret dream in my heart like no other. I didn’t even consider this car back in the day when we bought it (circa 2005). We had saved partially enough to buy another car when my then current car bit the dust and became too expensive to repair. We probably would find a new (for us) car that was a couple of years old (much cheaper) and reliable and practical. To drive to Los Angeles where I used to work isn’t long in miles, but traffic can make it long in time. Angelenos love our cars because we spend a lot of time in them, but my commute wasn’t such as I deemed it worth the money to spend more than required to get me to work safely. Did I mention Mark and I are savers who pay cash for almost everything? This car was not one where we could pay cash. Mark had never purchased a new car in his life. He worked long hours in his job. A hard, physical job. He enjoyed the idea of early retirement. That was his dream. Bobbles such as a fancy red convertible would delay that dream. Big ticket items were discussed, dissected and put off as long as possible. I too wanted to retire, but not with the passion that Mark had. We test drove a car like this for fun. The one we drove was white and I longed for a red one. Back in those days, the demand for these convertibles outweighed the stock. You were lucky not to pay way over sticker price for the privilege – and you took what color you could get, IF you could get one at all. I sighed and dreamed and played ‘what if’. But I knew we would go the practical route. This car fits ME perfectly, but Mark, being much taller, hits his head a bit when the top is up. This is NOT a comfortable car for Mark.
Despite that, we decided, again, ‘for fun’, to call the AAA car buyer program in the slim hope that this wildly popular and hard to find model would be in that year’s program. This is a great program where AAA negotiates a set price for their members with certain car dealers. Usually the best deals there would be found on models the dealers wanted to move. We knew there was no hope that we could swing the premium way above sticker that was the going rate. This was a pie in the sky move. A way to dream a while longer before hitting the earth with hard reality.
As you can tell from the photo, my car WAS part of the program that year. We actually got a discount AND I was able to get a red one. I had to wait months for it to be built in the factory, but it was exactly what I wanted. The day she was built our salesman called me at work to tell me, my car was being built that day. I remarked to my co-workers, ‘It’s just like a baby is being born! It’s my red baby!’.
Now discount and all, this still cost much more than what we had planned. Mark rarely drove it when it was new, but he kept it clean and polished and shiny for the joy I got out of driving it. It made me SO happy to drive Red Baby. It still makes me smile. I love Red Baby as much today as I did the first exciting minute we drove her off the lot.
So why did it take me SO LONG to see this was one great big I LOVE YOU from Mark?
Because just like I will tear down my body’s attributes and focus on negative comments on iTunes or people unliking my page on FB, I was focused on what was missing from my life, not on the joys of what I had.
Ventura and Santa Barbara
Mark and I drove Red Baby to Ventura because Mark found some cool bike paths we had not ridden before. This too is an act of love. Mark found us a great adventure!
Ok, Mark’s a Great Guy, But does THIS have to do with Eating Issues?
Mark is a great guy. Mark also has his foibles, just as I do. And I know now, that I focused on what I percieved we lacked as a couple, not our strengths. When I let myself just appreciate him for who and what he IS instead of who I WISH he were, I am filled to the brim with love for him. Does this sound familiar?
What did/do I say about my body? If only I were thinner. If only my legs weren’t so big. If only I could fit in chairs.
I focus on what I perceive as missing about myself. The things that aren’t, in my mind, positive. This goes easily to the physical, but also to my character. I pick on myself too much. I cut myself not enough slack. I’m not in the habit of loving myself as I am.
But I’m learning. That’s what this last year has really been about. Me letting love in. From Mark, as he is, from Me, as I am.
Do I wish that Intuitive Eating landed me with a society approved lovely beach body? Sure. But mostly I’m grateful for the lessons. My body is awesome. As is. Mark is awesome as is. You Brave Companions are awesome as is. I don’t need you to be different. I love YOU right now. And for the first time, I’m starting to actually believe, that you love me too. As is.
Happy Valentine’s Day!