Living Our Life Stories

You rarely achieve finality. If you did, life would be over, but as you strive new visions open before you, new possibilities for the satisfaction of living. - Eleanor Roosevelt

The stories of our lives could be compared to a journey with many different routes. The journey could be easy or challenging with huge obstacles to overcome when you least expect it. Sometimes you may have to decide whether you should turn left or right and each time you choose, you are writing a new chapter in your life-story. 

While sorting out some boxes of old memories recently, I discovered two little booklets issued to a much younger me about three years apart by the weight-loss group I joined many years ago. In the first booklet I was close to my ideal weight for my age and had about two kilos to lose. I stayed with the group for about nine months before I gave up: Four kilograms heavier than my starting weight. Three years later I was back – with almost twenty kilograms to lose after trying some fad diets in between. This time I stayed for only three months before giving up.

I don’t know what happened to the other booklets issued to me at different intervals of joining and giving up, but I did reach my desired weight eventually before picking it up again. It was only years later after a cancer scare, that I became conscious enough of what was really important to me. I went back to a group, chose a realistic weight, changed my lifestyle, and have stayed the same healthy weight for the past ten years.

Looking back, and remembering where I was on my life journey at the time I started my weight-loss efforts, it is easy to understand why getting to a desired weight at the time was so hard. We tend to think that by achieving certain goals in our lives we can increase our level of satisfaction. The media also lead us into believing that once we have that perfect body, home, car, relationship, children and more, we will be happy.

We try to achieve perfection and we feel guilty and unhappy when we don’t. And, as Deepak Chopra says in “What Are You Hungry For”? “Life is about fulfilment: If your life isn’t fulfilled, your stomach can never supply what’s missing”.  I now know that no diet could ever have given me what I was looking for at the time.

So, if our stories contain many chapters, I am happy to say that those chapters in my story about yo-yo dieting are now replaced with chapters about contentment. Along the way one learns eventually that happiness does not depend on perfection. The journey may be bumpy and many challenges could make the road difficult for the weary traveller at times, but what gives us real fulfilment in the end is whether the choices we make along the way are meaningful to us.

To create a story of fulfilment and happiness try the following steps:

  • Don’t wait for happiness until everything else is perfect –choose to be happy under all circumstances.
  • Appreciate each day and savour every moment. Be grateful for what you have and enjoy wholesome, healing food.
  • Choose to spend quality time doing activities which makes you happy like hobbies, gardening, writing, painting, crafts and whatever else lifts your spirit.
  • Enjoy the healing power of nature. Walking on the beach or spending time in Kirstenbosch Gardens are great ways of taking time out when the journey gets tough.
  • Reach out to others whose gratitude is your only payment. It is fulfilling to know that your actions can make a difference in the world.
  • Practice gratitude for the small things that makes your life worthwhile.

You may have different ideas about what is fulfilling for you and that is fine, as long as your choices leaves you happy and able to write a new chapter about contentment where you are in charge of your weight issues.

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