Thoughts on Personal Growth: Eating, Exercising, and the Freedom Inherent in Taking it Slow

I’ve been able to sense several shifts occurring over the past few weeks. I’ve been vaguely aware that I’ve been nearing a milestone in personal growth, maybe even several at once. It’s been incredibly energizing to sense this change and to embrace it, despite my inability to put my finger on it. I trusted that it would reveal itself to me in due time.

Today is a Saturday morning. I woke up quite early, as the boyfriend and I had opted for an early bedtime last night. He was out the door at the crack of dawn to go skiing, the first run of the reason, while I’m hanging back to go to a volunteer event and get lunch with a new friend. I hadn’t had a weekend morning all to myself in quite a while. It was quiet and lovely. I had a couple of hours to spare before it was time to leave, so I moseyed around the apartment, soaking up ever glorious minute. I emptied the dishwasher, made breakfast and coffee, and sat down with a book I’ve been enjoying. It was pure bliss. I eventually transitioned over to the couch with the book and the remainder of my coffee, always preferring some extra cushioning whenever its available. I was halfway down a page in my book when my mind exploded (not literally, but the word “epiphany” hardly even does it justice). The novel’s protagonist was discussing her experience with starting and growing a blog, and I’m willing to bet that’s what awakened my subconscious.

In that moment, it was clear what had been shifting over the past few weeks. On this Saturday morning, I consciously chose to forego a morning workout in exchange for slowness and simplicity. For the first time in a long time, I intentionally sought both physical and mental coziness instead of subjecting myself to an obligatory ritual. I won’t be able to attend my favorite yoga class today because my volunteer event starts at 10 AM–I’ll be there until 2, then I’ll be grabbing a late lunch with a friend, and by the time I get home it will be early evening and I’ll surely lack the motivation to fit in a workout for the day. Make no mistake, I did still think through this chain of events in my mind–but this time, I decided to say, so what. So what if I don’t fit in a workout today. Do I actually want to work out this morning? No, I want to read my book and enjoy breakfast and coffee without rushing around to the gym and back. And so my mind was made. No internal struggle or strife included. It was so easy and yet so revolutionary that it literally startled me as I pieced together what had happened. This is the shift I’d been sensing–I’m finally letting go of the compulsive exercise habits I’ve clung onto for years, as well as the thoughts and beliefs that accompany them. I’m beginning to choose self-compassion over everything else. I’m in the early stages of this transition, but my goodness is it the most glorious feeling I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve lived with myself, in this body and with this spirit, for 25 years, and I am now finally beginning to love being me, to intentionally choose to care for myself regardless of circumstance. My hunch is that I can learn to loveĀ being me, I can also learn to love me outright. How wonderful that will be.

I mentioned that I had this awakening while reading a novel’s protagonist talk about blogging–that’s because I firmly believe this transformation would not have been possible without the community of wellness bloggers that I follow. I am not a nutrition professional, or a food blogger, but I have been following a curated community of these (mostly) women for a couple of years now, because I am passionate about wellness and all things it encompasses. And I have noticed a change in the language and content that a lot of these bloggers put out there–the general focus seems to have shifted from living a perfected “healthy” life, complete with intense daily workouts and the cleanest of clean meals, to a lifestyle that embraces the pleasure and joy of eating, the importance of connection, and the merits of bio-individuality. This community is beginning to embrace intuitive living as a way to promote holistic and total wellness, and it’s infectious in the best way possible.

No longer do I turn to Instagram to see what workouts people are doing and what clean meals they’re eating in order to stay on top of their regimented lifestyle and ensure they remain lovable and worthy of all things good in this world. Now I turn to Instagram to see real-life accounts of people who are doing really cool and enjoyable things in their daily lives that make them feel happy and vibrant, all the while knowing and believing that they are enough no matter what. And that’s not to say that these individuals don’t still struggle with self-compassion and self-love–the important thing is that they’re choosing to live their lives in spite of the looming fear of unworthiness that we all face. That is the bravest and most inspirational thing I have ever witnessed on a social media platform. And I cannot thoroughly express my gratitude to all of those who are participating in this shift and who are turning my Instagram feed into a catalog of lovely, cozy, joy-filled lifestyles. Thank you so so so much, to any of you who might be reading this. Please remember these words if you ever doubt the impact you’re having on this world. Please acknowledge your own bravery and allow it to fuel you moving forward. And above all, please enjoy your Saturday morning as much as I have.

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