Toni and I first met at Judi’s wedding shower. Judi and I were in our early 20s, and we met through work. Toni was Judi’s future sister-in-law, married to the brother of Judi’s fiance. Toni, like me, always struggled with her weight, but I remember her wearing at the shower denim short overalls, a hot pink shirt, and a deep, dark tan (hey, it was the early 90s.) It was an outfit I, with legs like claps of thunder, would have never considered wearing, but Toni looked fantastic. I noted that aside from the healthy tan, her legs didn’t look much different than mine. Confidence, I realized, made a difference.
That was 15 years ago, and Toni now does my hair. Yesterday, sitting in the chair, it was obvious to me that Toni had lost weight in the six weeks since I had seen her last. She looked as edgy and current as always, only thinner. I debated all of two seconds before opening my mouth.
“Have you lost weight?”
Toni smiled. “Yeah, I have.”
“Well, you look even better than usual. What have you been doing?” I almost didn’t want to know. I’m tired of trendy diets.
“You’ll laugh when I tell you.” Toni paused for only a second before continuing, “I’m doing The Secret.”
“Get out! Really?” I was immediately curious. Not because I doubted her or hadn’t heard of The Secret or The Law of Attraction. I live in southern California–most preschoolers have vision boards. But I wanted to know how she was applying the principles, and why.
Toni has been eating when she is hungry. She eats what she wants. When she is no longer hungry, she stops. Simple enough, but anyone who has struggled with weight knows this is actually difficult to execute. She also visualizes herself thinner, and acts likes someone who is thinner.
This is all fine and interesting, but nothing I hadn’t heard before.
“The biggest change for me is that either way, I am happy. I don’t need to lose weight to be attractive. I’m fine the way I am.” And that’s where Toni and I differ. She looks in the mirror and focuses on what she likes. I look in the mirror and grimace. I joked about our differences in attitude, and what Toni said shocked me.
“I’m 41 years old. Half of my life is over, and I’m not going to spend the remaining half hating the body I am blessed to have.”
All of a sudden, it hit me. If Toni’s life is half over (and statistically speaking, at 41 years of age it is) then my life is also half over. I have wasted half my life waiting to look perfect–only I didn’t realize it. Because, really, I don’t feel 36. I don’t even feel 30. I barely feel 26, and I can’t believe the Mister and I aren’t newlyweds anymore.
But I am 36 and the Mister and I have been married for 9 years. And I think it is time to be more accepting of the body I am blessed to have before it is no longer mine to appreciate.