Staying the Same is the New Transformation
Chasing dreams, transforming our bodies, working hard… it all seems to be for some final payoff when we can finally love the life we have. But isn’t it possible that striving to improve ourselves is actually making us feel more crappy about where we are, and who we are, right now?
Everyday I see a different post about someone’s transformation: right now it’s the “puberty challenge,” there was the couples challenge, the 10 years ago “this was me in 2007, this is me in 2017” and of course #transformationtuesday. We really seem to go nuts over the photos that show dramatic differences. On the other hand, in the posts where people look the same we might celebrate how they “haven’t aged a day!” or, more commonly, not celebrate anything at all.
So, why are we so obsessed with transforming ourselves?
When I posted my blog on how to be a broke nomadic minimalist, one of my friends, Adrienne, shared that what resonated with her was the idea to just get a job, “anywhere.”
The idea is that if you really want to travel, to go on an adventure, to live wild and without materialism, then just get a job wherever and go for it. Adrienne contrasted this idea with all the memes that tell us we should be in the career of our dreams, because if we don’t love what we’re doing then we’re wasting our time. She suggested that that notion creates unnecessary turmoil, because what if where we’re at is actually, enough?
In other words, maybe all this “motivation” is making us feel crappy, because our life doesn’t actually need any transforming.
What if we could just love who we are and what we’re doing right now? Isn’t that the point?
This idea has been on my mind since Adrienne brought it up, and it really rang clear when I weighed myself a few weeks ago. This was the first time I weighed myself since going on this #fulltimervlife adventure, and since embarking on our Hoop Play training tour. I weighed myself and was extremely disappointed to discover that I am about the same weight that I have been for most of my adult life. No transformation, just same old Katelyn.
Now let me be clear – this meant that I actually gained weight. Because, although I know perfectly well what my natural weight is, I resist it with all my might. What I believe I should weigh is actually about 20 lbs, maybe even 30, less than what I know is my natural weight. Therefore, in comparison to the totally unrealistic expectation of myself I have on occasion met, right now I have failed.
Every time I’ve gone down those 20 or 30lbs I feel amazing – at first. And then, after some time, that feeling of not being “good enough” sets in again. And not only does that feeling cause me to abandon all efforts and end up back at my natural weight anyway, it also drifts into other parts of my life.
It sets in as impostor syndrome– I’ll be a real fitness instructor when I lose X amount of weight, teach X number of classes, or can run at X speed for X number of minutes. I’ll be a true leader and entrepreneur when I train X number of students or make X amount of money! I’ll be real hoopdancer when I can perform X trick! Then come the really negative thoughts and before I know it I’m frantically googling job postings and diet plans.
I’ve got to get skinny and get a real job! Why aren’t I living my best life possible?!?
Well this time, finally aware of what was going on, I intervened and tried something totally different. Its been hard work and its certainly not over yet, but I made a decision to give up control. Because, in reality, I don’t have any control anyway. If I were to lose those 20lbs, it would only temporarily change how I feel about myself and then I would go back to needing to be better again. If I were to get a regular job, with a boss who adored me, it would only be a matter of time before I started doubting them and feeling like an impostor again. And if I focused all of my energy on learning every new hoop trick then I wouldn’t have any energy left over to work on the things about my business that I really love – like inspiring new hoopers, mentoring instructors and business owners, and designing unique programming.
I didn’t create Hoop Play as a weight-loss program; its not designed to turn us into our best selves.
I created Hoop Play because hooping makes me feel good, and I want others to feel good too. Plain and simple, hooping reminds me that I have a body, it can do cool stuff, and it feels good when I use it.
So instead of getting sucked into all of those “inspiring” posts and making a declaration to be better, I’m just going to try really hard to enjoy the life I have right now. Because, that is the point, right? And I don’t mean that I’m going to focus on loving my body so I’ll lose weight, enjoying my business so it prospers more or loving my family so we’ll communicate better. I mean literally just loving my life right now, with no other agenda. Because I know that how I feel - not my weight, my income, or how my customers perceive me – is actually what I have control over.
What if you could set the bar a bit lower and still be OK? Maybe the world would keep turning and you would enjoy it a little more.
As I age I may gain more weight. My business might fail. In fact, I might not improve at all on a surface level. But if, whether ten years from now or today, I can just be happy with who I am and where I’m at, then that’s enough.
- Katelyn, hula-hooping social worker, fitness instructor & human being @ hoopplay.ca