Monday, November 22, 2010

Having Faith and Hope

Life sometimes makes me chuckle.
Because if I didn't chuckle, I'd probably break down and cry.

Okay, I did cry a little. A week ago, I was laid off from my chiropractic job.

Yep. After deciding, and managing, to have a better attitude about my job, I was let go. It happened on a Friday, after the work day had ended. The day after I found out my car needed $700 worth of repairs. Steve had to pick me up from work that night because my car was still at the repair shop. I got into the car and responded to his questions monosyllabic-ally. He caught on fast and asked what was wrong. I started to cry and told him I'd been laid off. He pulled over and held me close until I stopped crying. We talked about my options. My boss had given me two options - to have Monday (the last day of the pay period) be my last day or to work a little longer while I searched for a new job. We decided to see if he'd let me work the rest of the month, just a couple weeks, but the money would be helpful. Steve took me out to dinner and I tried hard to forget about being laid off.

The next day, Saturday, we moved into our new home, which really helped to take my mind off my job situation. Nothing soothes the mind and soul like manual labor. I love the new house and already feel at home in it. This weekend, after spending Thanksgiving with my family, we'll bring up my red couches, kitchen table, and all the other stuff I left in Cedar. It will be awesome to have everything with me again.

Monday came and I asked my boss if I could work through the end of the month. He said that would be great and was happy that I had decided to stay a little longer. weird is that? If it were up to me, I'd be staying even longer, but whatever. Then, Wednesday after work, he called me into his office and said he had a better idea. Friday would be my last day and then he'd pay me for Monday (today) and Wednesday. That way I could get a little more money without having to work. It wasn't an option, it was how it was gonna be. I found out later that this change came about because the office manager, the diva I dislike, insisted that I be gone by the end of the week or she'd quit. Even though I dislike her, too, it was humbling to find out that someone dislikes me so much.

The past few months have been hard job-wise. I've learned just how much my self image has depended on having a good job, one that I enjoy and excel at and that challenges me. Not having a job like that has been really difficult. I don't regret moving here, being around Steve is worth all the job heartache. And, it's helping me develop a few attributes that I lack or am not strong in. I'm having to depend on someone else, something that my independent side struggles with. My brother gave me excellent advice about letting Steve take care of me and I'm doing my best to follow it. I'm grateful that I have such a wonderful, generous man in my life who is willing to take care of me when I need it (and when I don't). Most importantly, I'm having to have faith and hope that I'll find a good job soon; one that will pay the bills and that I'll really enjoy. I'm trusting God that He knows what is best for me and that if I work hard at searching for a job, one will pop up. I've already been blessed to have a friend let me know about some openings at her job. I'll just keep praying and crossing my fingers.

For years, I led a safe life. It was a good life but a part of me hoped for something more, something new. Boy, did I get what I hoped for! Life is fun and new and scary and exciting and nothing is for sure, and goll darn it, I'm happy.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Attitude Adjustments

I'm constantly amazed by how often I need to remember how important my attitude is. A couple examples:

As I've mentioned before, I work at a chiropractic office. It's part-time, just Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for about 8 hours a day. It pays just enough to pay the bills and give me a little spending money. I was so happy when I got hired - a month without working had done a number on me - but then I got an interview at Weber State University and suddenly my attitude took a nose dive. I started to see that my boss could be a bit of a jerk. And the office manager is a diva that creates drama and tends to throw people under the bus for things she does. I started dreading going into work. I really wanted the WSU job - it was full-time so more money and included health insurance, free tuition, and life insurance. I loved working at SUU and was thrilled at the prospect of working on a university campus again.

Last week, when I found out I didn't get the job (they said they really liked me and would have hired me but the gal they hired had a little more experience at a university), I had to re-evaluate my attitude. I started remembering the positives about my job. It's really nice to have the weekends off (there are a lot of jobs that would require working weekends) and a couple days during the week to do whatever I want; write, exercise, cook, run errands, etc. With my better attitude, I stopped dreading going to work. Yes, the doctor may be a jerk sometimes and the diva still gets on my nerves, but I also work with two really awesome gals that make work a lot of fun. I'm comfortable with my job responsibilities and am getting to know the patients. And, I'm incredibly thankful to have a job at all with money coming in!

I stepped on the scales not too long ago and it showed 175 lbs. I grimaced! I actually grimaced. Yes, the number hasn't significantly changed in quite awhile, but I still can't believe I was bummed at weighing 175 lbs. I once weighed 350!

Lately, I've been thinking of myself as being "so fat". A big part of this is due to the excess skin around my thighs, arms, stomach, and breasts that make me feel and look bigger than I would otherwise. I'm losing good habits and starting up bad habits again. In the two months I've lived here, I've stopped exercising as much and have started eating desserts and snacking more. These contribute to the disappointment I feel about myself and my weight loss. I remember thinking I was so skinny as I was able to fit into the theater seats without killing my hips. Or as I tried on smaller sized clothes than I wore in high school. When I thought of myself as skinny, I acted like I was skinny - being more active and being more in control of my eating. Now, I focus on the skin around my stomach, my saggy breasts, and the other areas of my body that aren't "perfect".

My friend Ashley wrote to me about how our thoughts about ourselves can help or hurt us in our goals; weight loss, quitting smoking, anything. If we think of ourselves as fat, we become fat. I know this first-hand as that is what happened as I grew up. I was taller and bigger than the other kids my age and decided I was fat (really just hit puberty sooner) and eventually fulfilled that belief by becoming obese. As I lost weight, I was so proud of myself and felt so good and those feelings fueled my desire to continue to lose more. Now, as I've hit a plateau and with only 15 lbs to lose to hit my doctor's recommended weight, I can see how my attitude has shifted and thrown me off the path I want to be on.

Instead of telling myself I need to lose weight and focusing on my imperfections, I need to tell myself how great I feel and how skinny I am. My brain will register that I'm skinny and will help me act like a skinny person. As I remember to appreciate my thinner body, I'll feel more comfortable in my own skin again, and will remember to love the feeling of running and walking and will do both more often. Instead of hearing the words "fat" and "bigger" repeated over and over, my brain will hear "pretty" and "amazing" and "thin". And that's what I'll become (or stay).

Instead of telling myself to stop eating desserts and stop snacking, I need to focus on eating good foods. My brain doesn't need to have chocolate cake repeated over and over - it tends to ignore the "no" in front of those two words and starts craving cake. So, I'm trying to say apple over and over again. Fortunately, I love apples, so it won't be a huge deprivation. And, I'm sticking with my 80/20 rule and will give myself the pleasure of chocolate every now and then. And, I'll keep telling myself that I'm satisfied and not hungry at all, then I won't feel the need to snack as often.

I know how to lose weight, I've lost A LOT! I'm hoping that my new attitude helps me at what I've heard and am learning for myself is the hardest thing to do - keep off the weight. I refuse to allow myself to gain back the weight I worked so hard to lose. I believe my attitude adjustment will go a long way to helping me accomplish this goal.

I'm no Pollyanna, but I really do believe that looking at the positive side of life and the situations found therein can make life a lot more enjoyable. I'm blessed to have so many positives in my life and remembering them puts a smile on my face even when I'm as blue as I can be.