I've always been an "all-or-nothing" person.
I'm fastidiously clean or I'm a tornado, leaving messes everywhere in my wake. I'm a fitness expert or a fixture on the Minnesota couch-potato circuit. I'm eating a low-carb, clean-eating diet or I'm devouring an entire bag of potato chips in one sitting.
Being totally committed to one side of something has always been so comforting to me.
It's hard to live in the grey areas; how can you identify yourself as a runner if you don't run every day? Or if you're slow? How can I be a wine connoisseur if I'm not imbibing on the regular?
The idea of identity and how you define yourself can make trying to live (and thrive) in the grey difficult.
The past few weeks, I've been working towards revamping my lifestyle and making sure I'm doing whatever I can to take care of this body. I've been logging my food (because I have a tendency to overeat if my portion sizes aren't monitored), watching my alcohol consumption, and sweating away at the gym. I feel better, happier, and healthier when I know I'm taking care of myself.
And then Friday night shows up.
Our favorite local brewery and some of my closest friends beckoned. I had diligently planned out my day to allow for a nice Oktoberfest, but no other indulgences. We show up and there's a food truck that serves exclusively grilled cheese. Seriously—seven different kinds of grilled cheese (one of which was stuffed with mac and cheese). Did I avoid the intoxicating smell of the grilled cheese and stick to my one beer?
Of course not!
I downed that delicious carb-filled sandwich, accompanying potato chips, and added more beer into the mix.
And when my husband and I arrived home, we may or may not have consumed nachos, too.
I don't write this to serve as some sort of bad diet confessional. All of those extra carbs and calories were amazing and so worth it. It would have been easy, or perhaps more beneficial, to turn down those items and stick to my original plan.
But oh dear, life is short and meant to be enjoyed in every single bite or sip. Instead of worrying about the potential grams of fat I was ingesting, I sat and thought about how good that sandwich was. I laughed with my friends and enjoyed the greasy, cheese-filled moment.
Yes, eating healthfully is important. Yes, doing things that are good for your body are important. But you know what else is? Learning to lighten up and enjoy the moment you're in.
And this morning, I picked myself back up—plenty of sleep, a wholesome breakfast, and penciled in some weightlifting for later this afternoon.
That's the point of this whole ride called life: enjoying the good moments when you have them, walking the fine tightrope of taking care of yourself and living it up, and standing up again when you fall off your plan--no smile withheld, no carb regretted, no moment wasted.
Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to hit the gym while salivating about those mac and cheese morsels coursing through my bloodstream.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.