David’s phone rang and I checked my own. How could it possibly be noon? I swung my legs over the side of the bed as he answered; it was dear friends calling to FaceTime from Singapore – I scuttled off to put some clothes on.
“Are you two still in bed?” They sounded appalled. David had been working in the US all week, flown back to London overnight and gone straight into the office on Friday for a full day of meetings. My excuse for sleeping in was somewhat less dramatic; I’d been feeling off-colour the past few days and simply needed rest. I had woken up around 8am, read for a couple of hours and then gone back to sleep. What can I say? We don’t have kids, obviously.
Despite the late start we packed a lot into our day. Once we said farewell to Singapore I made bread dough, leaving it to rise whilst we hit the pool. Thirty laps later, we returned home famished and sat down to enjoy the leftover pie I’d made for dinner the night before, the delicious smell of baking bread wafting out of the oven.
Afterwards we went to see an art exhibition. We spent a happy hour or so perusing large-scale canvases, followed by a drink outside. We delighted in that ‘summer is coming‘ feeling. Once we began to feel hungry again we took our time walking to our favourite Vietnamese restaurant for an early dinner and returned home in time to watch a movie. It’s amazing how much you can squeeze into a small amount of time when your body’s properly rested.
The next morning I’m driving to the supermarket. I’ve already done my workout, cooked a healthy breakfast, attended to some finance matters and drafted an article. Now I’m on my way to buy food to prepare our meals for the week. As I sit and wait for the the lights to change, happy and singing at the top of my voice, it hits me that this is where everything really matters; in these calm days and in the tiny details of my life when my feet are firmly on the ground.
I used to believe these calm days and the tiny details were boring and insignificant.
I used to put off caring for myself, making decisions and taking responsibility for my life. As a result, I frequently felt anxious and stressed.
Now I suddenly feel like I’m living one thousand miracles.
Why? Because it feels so good to take care of yourself and your life. It creates energy and space for amazing things to happen.
So, what changed? Firstly, after thirty years of yo-yo dieting, I made the decision to quit diets for good and began a journey to make peace with my body and resolve my disordered eating. I don’t care what anyone else says, I know – because I’ve lived through this particular hell – obsessing over your body and food takes up so much precious time and energy, creates a constant state of shame and leaves you feeling disconnected from yourself.
In other words, it leaves very little room for anything else.
Secondly – and nobody is more surprised by this than me – I quit drinking alcohol. No, I didn’t hit some kind of rock bottom and I didn’t even plan to quit, but I did decide I want to be fully awake for my life. What I discovered was the drinking society deems as acceptable and harmless because it ‘takes the edge off’ was actually contributing to my anxiety and stress, which in turn was contributing to a general sense of disarray.
Because when you take the edge off you also take away the pressing need to make decisions about your life or take responsibility for the tiny details that keep it smoothly ticking along.
Quitting dieting and drinking weren’t quick fixes for all the pieces of my life that were in disarray – it’s taken a long time to get to where I am today – and there’s no way to avoid doing the work required to put things right.
These days, however, I have no doubt that I’ve got it in me to show up and do whatever needs to be done now and in future, because I’ve never show up so fully for my life as I’ve been showing up these last few months. My head is clear, my heart is open and I’ve been doing the work. Not because I think I ‘should’, but because this who I am now – someone who makes decisions and takes responsibility for my life – every single piece of it.
What took me by surprise on the weekend is that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams just how incredibly satisfying this feels.
And whilst I want adventures and to do All The Things, these days, rather than looking so far ahead, I’m paying attention to where I am right now. I’ve found deep happiness and peace in the ebb of life, which means I can truly embrace the seasons of flow and the limitless possibilities I know await me.
That alone feels like a miracle to me.
© 2017 Esther Zimmer