I ran into one of my professors last week, who I don’t see a lot this semester. We were kinda of just saying hi in passing, then she stopped before going downstairs and said, “I love your life. You know, or what I see of it on Facebook. I think to myself, ‘I wish I did that!’ Then I remember, ‘Oh yeah, I used to do that, I was young too once.’” She’s also one of the professors who knows me well enough (and is hip enough) to be a Facebook friend.
It was odd how long I carried that compliment around with me. That validation meant a lot.
Now, I could construct an entire “how you curate the image of life that you want to through social media” rant now, and I probably will eventually*. But her comment made me think a lot more about the pressures of youth. Youth is valued infinitely in our culture. Everyone wants to look younger, feel younger. “Youth is wasted on the young.” We need to adventure, climb mountains, go out every night, drink, spend recklessly, stay up too late, sleep too late, eat whatever we want.
But oh, how rarely I actually do that. I had one beer and went to bed at 10:30 last night after taking in a few episodes on Netflix. True story.
The pressure feels even greater since getting married. You have this window of time, this sliver in which you’re supposed to get everything done before you start popping out kids. Baby bucket list? Babymoon? The way my brother and sister-in-law who had a kid within a year of marriage make envious comments about our date nights. We should be soaking this up. We are living the best days of our lives.
We (along with about 3 other 20-something couples) are going over for dinner and drinks at one of Andrew’s coworkers houses tonight. They’re late 40s. They complain that their friends don’t know how to have fun anymore. But we do. Because we’re 20ish. That’s a lot of pressure to live up to. More pressure than I feel having dinner with my in-laws.
I just think it’s funny. It’s hysterical, if it wasn’t so real: that we’re supposed to be having tons of fun because we don’t have the pressures they have — the retirement fund or the children or whatever. But we have lots of pressure. To have fun. And post it on instagram. #live
*Perhaps you’ve noticed, but I have many writing topics rolling around in my head. I like to write them here. So I’m sure that one will come up. Also related to this post: the hypocrisy how everyone wants to be younger but also wants to scold millennials about how they’re living their life.
That is my weight loss journey, decontextualized, without dates or weights. Almost 3 years. That’s what it’s looked like.
As you can tell, I am no longer at my lowest weight. And since the beginning of the year, I’ve been actively trying to lose what I refer to in my mind as “the last 10 pounds.” I haven’t dared to utter that aloud, because we all know lots of people who have lost so much weight but haven’t been able to lose “the last 10 pounds.” And I never wanted to be one of those people.
It’s looking like I might be one of those. I’ve been doing good these last three months. And I’ve got very little to show for it in terms of losing mass. I’m stronger. I’ve tried out some great new recipes and improved my diet even more. I’m about to run my first 5k on Saturday (more on my active hatred of running and why I’m doing it anyway later). But I have not lost weight, or not much. I have not reached that magic number (or even within 10 pounds of that magic number) in my head that I’ve told myself will make me truly happy once and for all.
But screw that. Seriously. Screw that. I started looking up juice cleanses and grapfruit diets and Self Drop10 plans today, thinking mournfully about not eating the delicious, health-conscious things I had planned for Keats and I this weekend (like turkey pepperoni monkey bread, one of my favorites). I started reading up about quitting cardio for good and doing full-on strength training only, even though I deeply love the cardio high and the energy it gives me daily. And there were so many websites and magazines and “health” companies welcoming me into their arms, telling me that they had all the answers.
Nope. No thanks. Screw them.
Perhaps this is a bit too abrasive, but I’m sick of falling into this trap that so many others have fallen into, being unhappy with my body because I’m told by every representation of female beauty everywhere that my body is not beautiful or perfect. I am safely in the middle of the healthy BMI range (which I know in itself is flawed) for my height, and I’ve got some hips and some boobs and all the women in my family routinely have 9 to 11 pound babies, so I’m probably going to carry a little more weight on my body than anyone on the cover of Self does.
I’m ashamed that I got to this point of putting a number over my health. I feel great. I don’t think not eating food or becoming a weight lifter is going to make me feel healthier (or be healthier, but I’m not a doctor, so I’ll leave it at that). But I’m not falling for it anymore. Screw that.