family-photoI wasn’t in many of my family pictures. Adding to this – we had two great family trips in the past year – and one could assume, by looking at the mementos, that I wasn’t even on the trip. So, I got to thinking – if I’m not in the photos of my own life…am I missing out somehow?

I was pretty upset by the realization that I was hiding from the lens.

I’m my own worst enemy here. I’ve struggled with my self-image for a lifetime. I know we’re all usually more critical of ourselves. Even though I’d label myself an optimist, a half-full sort, truth be told, I never learned to love me fully…just for me. I always had an “If, When, Then, Someday” plan in my head, but those days never came.

Around this same time, I had a real life epiphany. I was talking with a personal trainer & lamenting that my habits were not getting me the goals I wanted. She told me something in a way I had never heard it before. She said to me “Wow – you eat healthy, you exercise, get sleep, have happy kids and like your job. You manage your stress and even find time for some personal hobbies (like writing). You have got to find some way to congratulate yourself for your excellent life MAINTENANCE”…that was the key – I never gave myself credit for maintaining a positive & healthy life. It was true that my actions weren’t getting me on the cover of Women’s Health, No I don’t have a literary agent, yes my jeans size were in the double digits..BUT truth be told, I do a lot of things right.

Only when I could acknowledge that my current actions were positive, worthy even, and not feel guilty or jealous or disappointed– could I identify which habits I needed to change.

It happened both in slow motion & like a ton of bricks. BANG! I gained clarity that day. I had been misplacing my energies – I kept expecting different results from actions that were already giving me outcomes but I was ignoring them.

The gratitude started flowing. An appreciation for being a good wife, mom, friend & neighbor. At 45 years old, this old dog learned a few new tricks. I identified a few habits that I could change – drink more water, take on some real issues that affected my kids, read more & gave back, to me. I committed to and completed a fitness program that I could incorporate into my life. for life.

I’m happy, and proud, to say that over the months I saw different results. I lost weight I never thought I could, I made friends I didn’t know I needed & I found time I swore wasn’t available.

So now my goals have had to change. The habits I want to tweak are different ones. And I’m starting with the camera. I am going to be in the picture. When my kids look back over the chronicle of our lives together – I want them to say “Mom was present, and she made an impact – and have the photo to prove it”

So I hope we all can make some changes in the year ahead, that impact us in ways that might be unforeseen at the moment – but become clear. We all deserve to live a life worthy of the photo album.