I’m going to be a mess when my four kids, ages 3 to 11, begin driving and dating when they’re in their 30s.
The combination of a particular mid-life crisis I’m experiencing and my struggles with anxiety and depression have made my life tougher than I’d prefer over the past month.
Simply put, I’d just let my health, my marriage, my spirituality, my family, my finances and upkeep on my house flounder for far too long. Though I focused on being good at my job (Utah Jazz sports writer for the Deseret News) and trying to be interesting on social media (Twitter might as well be a four-letter word in my house), I foolishly put the rest of my life on cruise control.
To paint a picture of my situation, just know that in this metaphor my cruise control lever is broken and we were on a big hill. Yeah, watch out below.
I once heard a motivational speaker suggest that audience members try to transform their mess into their message, so I’m going to have one heck of a message to deliver once I’m on the other side of this mess.
In the long run, these challenges will be good for me as long as I continue on the path of improvement I’m currently on. I firmly believe that.
The timing has been somewhat fortunate in the sense that right now is my downtime from work. The day I fully realized the gravity of my situation was also right as the annual summer break I get was about to begin.
That’s allowed me to focus on working on my health, my marriage, my spirituality, my family, my finances and my house without having to worry about writing, deadlines, travel, etc. That’s been a blessing. It’s also been a curse, though, seeing how I now have oodles of time to mull over a plethora of past mistakes, regrets and prioritization issues that are currently haunting all aspects of my life.
As I said in a video I made last weekend, I consider myself a work in progress. I like the multi-layered aspects of that phrase. Overcoming obstacles requires work, and I’m definitely working like a mad man. I also like that the phrase includes the word progress. It’s only been a month — five months when considering this all began when I started taking control of my health in March — but I’ve definitely made progress in areas.
I’m closing in on having lost 100 pounds and feel amazing physically.
I’ve taught myself how to patch holes in drywall (our house’s walls were like Swiss cheese thanks to kids) and have done many other handyman projects around the house, which is saying something because I’m about the least handy person on earth.
I’m trying to be a better husband.
I’m working on ways of tackling our massive debt.
I’m reading scriptures and uplifting messages, praying, attending church and doing other things necessary (hopefully!) to rebuild a relationship with God.
I’m taking time to do activities with our kids, too.
Despite the work and progress, there are still times when I lose hope. With so much improvement left to make — being 215 pounds overweight wasn’t my biggest problem, believe it or not — it’s easy to get discouraged about some of the things I’m trying to overcome. It’s especially difficult because there are things that are out of my control. I could do everything right and it still might not be enough. Consider this a tough life lesson about procrastination and selfishness.
I was having one of my freak-out moments while talking to a therapist the other day.
“I thought I’d have more hope as time passed,” I told her. “I have less hope.”
She wisely reminded me that I can only control what I can control (me), that I need to focus on continuing to make personal progress (and not worry about others) and that I need to take a deep breath.
“Breathe in faith,” she said. “Breathe out fear.”
And so I will.
- Starting weight (March 6): 373.7 pounds
- Last week’s weight (Aug. 12): 284.6
- This week’s weight (Aug. 19): 283.1
- This week’s loss: 1.5 pounds
- Total loss: 90.6 pounds