If I had to pick one word to describe 2021, it would be deprivation.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot to like about 2021, January 6th and the fallout that continues not withstanding, and it was a hell of a lot better than its predacessor. But we all have pandemic fatigue, and you can’t deny that the way the year ended was a bitter disappointment. Variants are raging, and we still can’t get our shit together and agree to make the common good our priority because we can’t agree on what that is.
As good as the summer and early fall months were, my general outlook tanked when things started to tick up again, which wasn’t helped by a ten day period in early December where four distinct obligations were crammed together, the most pleasant of which was a colonoscopy. That period pretty much epitomized the state of my morale as the holidays approached. Then something happened that got my attention and out of my head.
A number of my blogging compadres, who also had also seemed to have gone radio-silent like myself, re-emerged. First it was Tom, then Grace decided to challenge herself by posting something every single day this year. Then I thought about Superman’s good fortune, perhaps sobered up a bit, and began to think about why I was so down.
There were a number of reasons, pandemic fatigue first and foremost. But one was the fact that I hardly wrote at all last year, my blogging output for the entire year being four posts. Four! I wrote so little that it was a struggle imbedding links to this because I forgot how to do it.
Not only that, I hadn’t touched novel number two in six months, and while I wanted to remedy both of these situations, the motivation was lacking. And on those rare occasions when the motivation came, the words did not.
Plus I was sick and tired of being stuck in my house because the infection rates in Connecticut were the highest they had ever been. It felt as if I entered a time warp and it was March 2020 all over again.
But if I’m brutally honest, there is one primary issue that caused my morale and optimism to take a nosedive.
Like I said, 2021 was year two of the deprivation parade. There was so much I felt I couldn’t do to keep myself and loved ones safe, that I embraced some of the simpler pleasures in life that were pandemic proof, and most prevelant among those things were food and beverages.
And why not? I had given up so much, what’s wrong with a little endulgance? Unfortunately, “a little indulgence” wound up being a campaign of not necessarily eating too much, although that was part of it, but eating and drinking the wrong things at the wrong times.
I knew it was happening too, but didn’t care. Slowly but surely, my clothing became snugger and a good chunk of my wardrobe was no longer an option. But when you are working from home all the time and are in your sweats most of the day, what does it matter?
The first harbinger that I had perhaps let things go too far was when I put a dress shirt on for the first time in two years and had a hard time buttoning the collar. I got it done, but it felt like I had six pounds of sugar stuffed into a five pound bag. I suspected I was heavier than I thought, but deluded myself into thinking it wasn’t that bad and let the thought pass.
That all changed when the ultimate humiliation occurred a week or so later. I was trimming my toenails and struggled like hell during the process because my gut kept getting in the way, making it hard to bend, reach what I needed to reach, and breathe while I was doing it.
That was the tipping point. Realizing there was no point in kidding myself anymore, I climbed onto the scale, steadied myself, and looked at the digital numbers for the first time in a long time.
I had gained over twenty pounds since the pandemic started, but I was already five to ten pounds overweight at the time, so I am officially heavier than I have been in at least twenty years. No, strike that. I’m not heavy. I’m fat. Fat, slovenly and disgusted with myself. Standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror to assess the not only the volume of the mass that had accumulated, but the flabs that had emerged, was humbling to say the least.
But now I have something to rally around and focus on. I’m a stubborn guy, and once I put my mind to something it usually happens. I’m more than motivated to right this wrong, so I look at the new year as a time to forge a new attitude, and take control of my body.
My quest is to lose twenty five pounds in the next three months (but will settle for twenty), then keep it off, which has always been the hard part for me. Nonetheless, accomplishing this will make me look and feel better, which will improve my general attitude and outlook. Walking and maintining my balance is hard enough with the MS, so lightening the load can only help improve my mobility and make simple tasks easier.
The most important thing however is that I’ll feel Iike I’ve done something to take control of life instead of managing it like a cork being carried by the pandemic waves, content to drift wherever it takes me.
At least that’s the plan. We’ll see how it turns out. The first important step is getting on a scale that first time after the diet officially started because the result will either generate momentum for the upcoming weeks of deprivation or will make me want to say the hell with it, in which case you may not hear from me in another three or four months.
PS: This was written earlier in the week but I didn’t get around to proofing it until today, which was weigh in day. SUCCESS! Won’t tell you how much I lost, but I will say it was a pleasant surprise. This may work out after all!