There’s an idea — and a law of physics — that time only moves in one direction: forward.
And yet, our clocks and watches reset every day. Each morning, we get a new set of hours containing hundreds of chances for change. If you’re reading this blog, the thing you’re trying to change is probably measured on the scale.
The scale, commonly thought of as the enemy, is actually a nifty little device. It can — and does! — move backwards. Oftentimes, its moves backwards can feel a hell of a lot like time travel.
As the needle has moved a little less to the right every week that I weigh myself, I’ve gone back to old clothes, old feelings, and old memories associated with the number the scale shows me. I’m fitting into things I haven’t dared to even try on since my first job, since college, or since high school. I have all kinds of associations with different garments, like remembering seeing something on me in an old picture and wondering what the friends in the photo with me are doing now, or recalling when I bought the item, but never actually wore it anywhere. Going back through my closet takes me back to moments in my life when I was younger and more optimistic, and it strangely conjures up not feelings of nostalgia, but feelings of hopefulness.
I started my weight-loss mission with the goal of running away. I was going to put as much distance as possible between me and that ugly, ugly number the scale showed me when I stepped on it at my heaviest. I never wanted to see the needle anywhere near it, ever again.
Now, a very comfortable number of pounds past my halfway point, I am running towards something: my goal weight. I find I’m not looking at the distance between the needle and the weight of shame anymore; I’m looking at the distance between the needle and the weight of victory.
My thought is that this process compares nicely to the perspective you have when driving a car. The rear view mirror is very important because it shows you where you’ve been and what might be coming from behind that may put you in danger. The side mirrors are important because they let you look around and take stock of what’s happening in your periphery as you process and react to the changes in your environment. But there’s a reason the windshield is the largest viewing surface, and the one the driver is oriented towards: life only moves in one direction. All of the different views inform your **cringe** journey, but none of that matters if you don’t know where you’re going.
That’s why I’ve stopped running in evasion and started running in pursuit.
I’ll remember where I came from, but forget the way back there.
I’ll look around, but I’ll keep moving.
Eyes on the horizon!