When we talk about why we gain weight sometimes we say that "life happened." I've said it before, to others and to myself. I've heard lots of people use the term. It's a very common explanation. What does this really mean though?
Honestly, this is a way of saying things didn't go according to my plan. Right?
About a year and a half ago, life happened to me. It wasn't anything bad, per-se. but it was change. Huge change. Some of the major planning I had done, some major protective walls that had been built in my life to keep me on track were basically removed. Indeed, life happened. I spent a while pouting about this and then I spent some time being scared. Ultimately, I ditched everything that I had learned about staying healthy simply because it didn't look the same way it had before. And because it was going to be really difficult.
This happens on a micro level as well. Take for instance, a stressful evening at home. The kids aren't doing their homework, the husband is going to be home later than expected, you have a headache, the meal you prepared was not well-received. Finally everyone is asleep so you sit down to watch your favorite show only to find out the President is speaking or something like that. Not really what you had in mind. Things did not go as planned tonight. Can I salvage it? No, but maybe that poorly hidden pack of powdered donuts can.
This is life happening on the most basic level. And there's not a darn thing you, me or a powdered donut can do about it. There is no question that life is going to happen to me this year. It will happen to you. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to toss the goals we are so focused on right now? Are we going to wrap our arms around the refrigerator and expect it to comforts us? I know better than that. It stabs me in the back every time. Are we going to believe the lie that healthy living is optional and something that must take a backseat when "life happens?"
In an earlier post I talked about planning. Planning is so hugely important. For long-term success, I think planning has to go beyond what we are eating and when we exercise. What I'm saying is that I...you...we need a plan for when life happens. Because I know it will. Life happening is a constant in our lives. Another constant is me. I am always part of my life. The only variable is my reaction to life and it happening to me.
Choosing a correct posture for how we live when "life happens"...well that could be a game changer. For the long haul. It sounds absurd to say, "Hey, if life just never happens to me, then this plan will work!" Ridiculous! But isn't that what we are banking on most of the time? We have to dig deeper than that.
Life happens. Yes. It happens when I am living. Thank God I am alive. Unexpected illness, new commitments, job stress, conflict, over-full schedule, getting pregnant, the holidays....these are the things that equal "life happening" and when we experience them that simply means that we are alive. That we feel pain, frustration, anger, fear--all of that points to the fact that we are living, breathing. Life is happening to us. Life happening to us should be, even when it is difficult, an encouragement to keep going. Not a green light to lay down.
I want to quit giving up on things because it gets too hard...because life happens. It's a cop out, plain and simple.
I think a better way of looking at this life happened thing is to expect it, anticipate it and plan for it. Continuing to live healthfully through the nitty-gritty--can we plan for this? I think so. I think we have to.