I’ll start Monday.

I’ll do it when I lose 10 lbs.

Just wait until my credit cards are paid off.

I need to wait until my kids are older.

I need to wait until I get a raise, or a promotion, or all of the stars and my charts and the planets and everyone I know aligns with my goals, when it’s going to be easier for me to do.

I’m telling you right now that you need to STOP THAT. I can’t tell you how many goals and dreams I’ve let slip away because I was waiting. Waiting for what? All of the above, and more. I think it’s normal that we’ll never do and become everything we dream of. Sometimes fantasies are a fun, safe escape, like thinking of what kind of home you’d buy if you won the lottery or where you’d go on your dream date with Luke Hemsworth.

I always wanted to be an actress, and enrolled as a journalism major and a theater minor in my first year of college, but I doubted myself too much and let the dream of acting go. My teeth had a gap, and even though I was only maybe 10 lbs overweight at the time, I’ve always had a curvy, hourglass shape that wasn’t popular in the 90’s era of Kate Moss and heroin chic. I was thin, healthy, talented, beautiful and creative, but I had no confidence in myself. I convinced myself that there was no money in acting, which is actually pretty true for the vast majority of people who give it a shot, and switched my major to business. I didn’t give a shit about becoming a general “business person” so I dropped out of college. I let a goal go, but since I was so mired in manufactured self pity, I didn’t set another one. I got drunk and let depression set in. I did end up going back to school, and didn’t graduate for financial reasons, but that ended up being an amazing decision for different reasons.

There are other, more achievable goals that are gone because I waited for the right time. I know everybody has them. I felt really called to go back to school and get a degree in Nutrition, but I waited until I was more financially stable. This was in 2008, right as the economy crashed and the real estate market went into the dumpster. I was hit pretty hard by that. I was (and still am) a Realtor in the Phoenix area, and we work on commission. Our companies don’t pay us a salary–we are independent contractors. If you don’t sell a home you don’t get paid. On top of that, the median home price went from about $300,000 to about $113,000. When you make a percentage of the sales price, that hurts. My husband was a finance manager at a luxury car dealership, and people really slowed down their luxury purchases during the recession. The value of our home, like every other home in the metro area, tanked as well. On top of it, 2008 is when I first developed the symptoms of chronic illness I’m still dealing with. There’s a school of thought that says that some people are prone to develop autoimmune diseases, and it takes a period of stress or a traumatic injury to kind of turn the disease “on.” I believe that the prolonged mental stress and the unhealthy way I dealt with it may have advanced my conditions. Once you have them, you have them for life.

I’m lucky that I’ve had remissions from Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I know that my best shot at helping myself go into remission is to exercise regularly, eat really clean, avoiding gluten,sugar, and peanuts, and limiting dairy and other grains. I’ve been tested and those foods are inflammatory to my system, and I know from trial and error (mostly error…shit tons of error) that I feel much better when I follow those rules. I have’t found a medication whose benefits outweigh the side effects. I have wanted to study holistic nutrition, because from where I stand, Western medicine is doing an absolutely fucking terrible job of treating autoimmune disease. What works for one person will make another person worse, and vice versa. There are a bunch of autoimmune disorders, and often times, when you have one, more eventually come to join in.

ghosts
Thankfully, most of Western Medicine has evolved far from the old days. Still, in my experience, Rheumatology hasn’t done much but be able to identify diseases and treat them with drugs that, in my opinion, have worse side effects than cocaine.¬†

Knowing what I know now, I would have figured out a way to go back to school at that time. Working as a nutritionist in a traditional setting generally requires a master’s degree, while I’m a few credits away from a bachelor’s degree in a totally different field. If I’d taken the leap then, I would have been in my mid to late 30’s upon graduation. If I were to do it now, I’d be in my late 40’s, and with the cost of college, I don’t want to start a new career at that age and have to deal with student loans until I’m in my 60’s.

There is, however, a naturopathic school in my area that has a short program that’s a lot more affordable and only lasts about 15 months. That’s now on my list of goals. It doesn’t give the kind of accreditation I’d need to work in a hospital or nursing home, for example, but I like learning for the sake of learning and I’m certain I could find a niche for that education.

Another goal I let slip away was traveling. I had my son at 23. The goal was never to have a child so young. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kid a lot and wouldn’t trade him for the world, but I’d wanted to wait until I’d finished college and had done some traveling before settling down with kids. In fact, I always thought I wanted 5 kids. Haha. That was before I had one and realized that I could do a good job raising him, but I was too selfish to be an adequate mother to more kids. I did the math and realized that I’d be 41 when he graduated from high school and was on his own. I knew I’d be young and healthy and able to travel at that time. Well. Life had other plans that didn’t involve that health that I was sure to have. Flying is actually pretty tough on me, since I take medication to suppress my immune system so it doesn’t kill me. I mean, that’s cool, but when I’m in a tin can in the sky that recirculates air that every other potentially ill passenger has been breathing, it leaves me prone to illness and infection.

Of course, there was a time when my son was young that my husband and I absolutely could have traveled. My son stayed with his dad, my ex-husband, for a week or more at times. We had the financial means to travel anywhere we wanted once in a while, but we didn’t do it. We made short trips to Vegas and weekends in the high country of Arizona, but we put off traveling abroad.

There are a lot of other examples that I won’t get into, but we all have goals we waited for. Some of them aren’t important to us. Some of them may have even been harmful or spun our lives in a terrible direction had we achieved them. I love myself, just as I am right now, and I’m the sum of my experiences from before I was born to the moment I’m typing this. Who would I be if I made different choices? I’ll never know, and that’s OK. What I do know is who I am right now is amazing, and I’m going to love the person I am right now unconditionally and let her know it’s OK to reach for her goals.

I recently filmed a small part in a short film. I’m up about 25 lbs from where I want to be, but as I researched how to get back into acting, that didn’t even occur to me. I’m in such a better mental place right now than I was as a confused, insecure 17 year old college student, that I didn’t realize until I talked to AK on the phone yesterday that the old me would have waited until I got my weight back down to apply for roles.

cops
Quick selfie with the actors playing the 5-0 before filming my final scene in my first short film.

While I have many goals yet to reach, and many that I’ve let go, for better or worse, I think I’ve climbed my highest mountain. Loving myself, and being confident in myself, has been something I never thought I could fully do. I still need to work on some things. I could cut some of the self-deprecating humor, but honestly, I find most of it hilarious. I need to work on treating my body better, as emotional eating is still an issue. There’s more…of course there is. None of us is perfect.

We can always improve, but we have to start where we are. Start today. Start right now. Don’t wait until Monday, or until your kids are in school. Start taking steps towards what you want, even if they’re tiny baby steps. Don’t forget how truly amazing and unique you are. Go get it.

Love, light, and kick-ass confidence,

-Selfish Mitch

 

 

 

 

 

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