I used to get anxious about the passage of time growing up, especially in the summer. My birthday is toward the end of July, so after the last gift was ripped open and the thank-you notes had been sent, summer was almost over. It meant exchanging my carefree days at the pool for homework-filled nights after school.
As an adult, I don’t feel that same anxiety because summer doesn’t really mean anything other than hotter temperatures on my way to and from work. But I’ve managed to find other ways to resent the passage of time. I mentioned before that I struggle with my weight, and in the last few years I have measured months and years by my weight gains or losses.
Annual doctors’ appointments stressed me out because I knew I’d gained weight since the last visit. I dreaded stepping on the scale and watching the nurse record a higher number on my file. Another year and no weight lost, I’d think, saddened that I let another year slip away from me. Not only had I not lost any weight, but I gained some. And I’d leave the doctor’s office heavy in both body and mind.
Disappointed in myself, I’d promise that next year would be different. It rarely was.
So by the time I had aged out of feeling the back-to-school dread on my birthday, I began feeling the I-still-haven’t-lost-any-weight dread each year. Don’t get me wrong—I am not Mopey McMoperson on my birthday. I love birthdays! Presents and spending time with friends and family are the best! But the weight thing was always just, well, weighing on my mind. (Sorry. Had to.)
And then something changed.
I joined Weight Watchers in May, and after a few months I realized that I was looking forward to the end of every week, every month, when the number on the scale would drop lower and lower. I recently turned 26, and I can honestly say that I felt no anxiety whatsoever about turning another year older. I’m getting healthy and things in my life are generally going in the right direction.
After nearly four months, I have lost a little more than 21 pounds. In the past when I’ve tried to lose weight, I would get to a milestone like 20 or 25 pounds and feel like I just had so much more to lose that I’d get overwhelmed and give up. But something about this time is different. I feel like I’m just getting started and I can’t wait to keep going. I can’t wait to see where I am in another month—or what the nurse will write in my file at my next annual appointment.
In high school, I did Weight Watchers with my mom. We supported each other, but one day she saw an episode of Oprah where a woman was telling mothers that they shouldn’t focus so much on their daughters’ weight or physical attributes, but rather on their strengths and talents as a person. So she took her advice (maybe a little too literally) and as I lost more weight, she began telling me how talented I’d become. It became a running joke with us, and one day she bought me this bowl.
Whenever I lose weight, I think of my mom saying, “You look so talented today!” Or, “that dress makes you look so talented!” The last few months I’ve become so talented that I’ve managed to drop a pant size.