Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Big Belly

I've physically exploded since being back in America. 18 months of this new life has led to 15 pounds settling around my midsection. I recognize the choices that led me here. I've lost the resolve and commitments I maintained overseas. There's been a lot of driving combined with an escalating workload. Don't get me started about my grief for what is happening in America at this point in time.

On these dark, rainy and cold days, I miss the Southeast Asian culture of communal physical activity. Family and friends gather for walks walk along the river promenades.  "Aerobic" classes, where the brightly dressed instructor counted off repetitions in Thai and arms and legs flailed wildly, were offered in the park for $1,  or the fancy gym in Phnom Penh where I would swim in the outdoor pool glowing in lamplight several nights a week and marvel at the bats feeding just above the surface. Even now, as I drive to one job or another, I look at runners and cyclists alongside roads traversing the neighboring farmland and long for their commitment. My work schedule always seemed to get in the way.

In recent months, as I crept 5 pounds above my "never line" on the scale, the malcontent with my body has settled in like a dark cloud surrounding belly. This area is where I deliver my insulin, by syringe, upwards of 4 times a day. At times, when life is particularly frenetic and I'm doing a shot at a desk or under a table, my belly is peppered with small bruises. This seems to be a normal part of middle age, but I'm not happy with the saggy. Friends and acquaintances ask supportively, "Have you had your thyroid checked?" "You know this happens with menopause, right?" or "What about a class?"

On bad days, I retreat into invisibility, nodding and non-committal to their encouragement. Perhaps my struggle with accepting my belly is just another symptom of the trauma that's affecting the nation. People are worried and humorless, concerned about proposed tax code may impact small entrepreneurs like myself and lots of other Mainers. Or the crazy stuff the President says. I see them on the retail job, hoping to afford a new coat for Christmas. It's not pretty.

I'm exhausted (and at times elated) by the juggle of other priorities that have characterized the past six months, but it is clearly time to try a new tactic and bring in reinforcements to reaching goals. That's why, in December, my frugal self is making an investment. I'm talking to a personal finance coach to tame my wacky puzzle of income, and set financial goals for 2018.

I'm also making an investment to reclaim my life. I'm going beyond the cheap gym in the mall ($100 for a year!) and into a six-month plan with a wellness coach. Maybe some support on the business development too. Because when the going gets tough and there's a big job ahead, it makes sense to build a team.