Recently, I’ve found myself reflecting more than normal. It’s a road I tread carefully because the destination is often unpredictable. I am in touch with my emotions and am an innate observer, so it doesn’t take much for me to “overthink”. All the What Ifs easily come flooding in and happily fill whatever holes, big or small, currently riddle my heart. I’m happy to report this reflection sesh ended with an attitude of gratitude and the realization that big changes start small!
Ending my reflection with an attitude of gratitude is a HUGE deal for me. Not that I’m not a bundling heap of happy, but no- I’m really not. I’m “that person” who asks all the questions, will point out all the shortcomings in your plan, who constantly wants to know “how can this be done better”. I tend to expect the worst. It’s a personality thing… look it up.
I often feel like a Debbie Downer. The smasher of hopes and dreams. The burster of bubbles… it never stops, even if I’m not saying it out loud. That naturally carries over into my viewpoint of me. Nitpicking and unsettled. Full of attitude. Not to be confused with rude… I’m just feisty. Worked up. Stressed. I’m really selling myself as a stellar human being aren’t I?! *All the lols.
So, when I realized a series of moments had transpired leading to the road of gratitude, I had to stop and ask, why? How? What happened here? Funny enough, it wasn’t anything of epic proportion. I wasn’t able to pin point any singular event with an AHA. What I saw was much smaller. Almost minuscule. Moments that had been transpiring right under my nose for weeks, months, and years. Moments I had been out of touch with, because my focus had been 5 years down the road- not here in the now.
I’m fully aware that this already sounds like a feel-good coffee table book. MyB. BUT I have to say it- I have to share it. Level coffee table book or not!
All the things in my life right now, that I’m in love with, started with a small step.
My decision to step wayyyyy outside the comfort zone of corner sitting led me to attend a women’s networking coffee group in February of 2017. Little did I know it was only the second meeting of its kind ever, that I would grow to be great friends with the lady who initiated the group, and that together we would grow it into a vibrant community of almost 9,000 members with 3 chapters in the state of Arkansas. What? All because I wanted free coffee, and actually went and got that free coffee.
My decision to take back control of my health began by reading books like The Whole 30 and The Obesity Code. The knowledge alone wasn’t enough, but it peaked my interest in doing better, in being better. I knew visible change would take years since years of neglect had brought me here. I started stretching for 5 minutes every morning and taking my dog for evening walks. For months that was all I did. But I kept at it and it became second nature.
After a few stressful years I stepped outside of my comfort zone of bedroom stretching and evening walking by attending a free class at my local Orange Theory Fitness in Charlotte, NC. It was hard. I almost didn’t drive to the class. Almost didn’t get out of the car. Almost threw up walking through the door. I felt so insecure. So embarrassed. So not in tune with my body. But I did it. I got my toosh into that class and surprised the crap out of myself. There was so much I couldn’t do, but plenty I could. I kept reminding myself, big changes start small. Big changes start small. And now, I’ve been attending classes for 3 months and feel like a different person.
A person I waited so long to be because I wouldn’t take that first step. I hadn’t accepted that big changes start small.
We moved into a new neighborhood in a new city this summer and I was determined to get connected. I could have purposed in my heart to wait for neighbors to stop over with pie, but I didn’t have time for that. I was going to plug in. Get involved. And so I did.
I looked up the neighborhood online and found out they had a Facebook group. I joined that group so fast and showed up to an event just a few days later. Would you imagine that just 3 months later I’m on the board of the association as Social Chair? Or that one of the neighbors I met ended up hiring me full time at their local print shop around the corner? As in my commute to work is exactly 7 mins and I get to lunch at home? You can’t make this stuff up. But it certainly wouldn’t have happened if corner sitting Susanna hadn’t left her comfort zone.
It had been years of silently ignoring my pain regarding infertility. Sure there were spousal talks on rare occasion, but mostly anger, disappointment, and loneliness. In a fit of rage that ended in surrender, I wrote and published the first section on my/our journey of infertility. Right here on this blog. I shared it first with Dan and my mom, both asking me if I was sure I wanted to put it out into the world.
It’s a bell you can’t unring.
I hadn’t been more sure of anything in my life and published that sucker first thing the next morning. I spent the next 9 hours in tears. The messages, the love, the support, the texts, the phone calls poured in… from dear friends, from friends I had lost touch with, from complete strangers, and from family too. My world was shook to realize that men were feeling what I felt. That they also identified with the loneliness and felt the pain just as deep. I learned about unshared miscarriages and others currently struggling with infertility. That post was one of the most life changing moments for me. I haven’t been the same since. And it all started with a sentence.
I’m a woman of faith. There are things you are supposed to want to do… like read the scripture, pray, and praise. None of that has ever come naturally to me. Did that mean I didn’t love my Savior? Did it mean I wasn’t devoted? I can’t tell you how many years I forced myself to sit down in the morning… nothing changed. I still wanted sleep more than I wanted to be in the word.
Then it hit me. Why hadn’t I asked Him for the desire? So I stopped all the self flagellation and doubt and asked. And asked. And asked. Sometimes that was the only thing I uttered to Him for the entire day. Then, a song came. Then my desire to start a gratitude journal. Then my desire to journal all the songs I had in may heart. Then the desire to start reading scripture. No longer doubting myself. No longer doubting Him. I imagine that was how my faith was meant to be all along.
You get the point. I don’t need to write a novel.
I’d love to challenging you, by challenging me, to keep taking the small steps. Because. Big changes start small. You can have a million questions and not know what’s happening next week… and still take them. You can be hurt and still press on. You don’t have to have all the answers. So many of your questions will answer themselves as you start moving instead of waiting for the perfect moment. It is possible.
If there is something you’d love to know, or do, or try- find a way to give it a go. Learn that second language. Make walking the dog a routine. Try cooking at home. Lord knows I’ve got plenty of simple recipes to share with you! Set an appointment on your shared calendar for date night. Journal when you can. Don’t beat yourself up when you sleep in or would rather Netflix. It isn’t all or nothing. Perspective folks. Big changes don’t just happen. Big changes always start small.
There are plenty of people out there who will beat you up… you don’t need to do it to yourself.
I’d encourage you to pick one thing and take that first step. Who cares how long it takes to get there!
All this random reflection has plastered the biggest smile on my face, and I have a feeling it’s here to stay a while. I’m still the chick who’s a realist and going to ask you- “but why?”. The difference is, I’m now hyper aware that my destination is my choice. And each choice is nothing more than the next small step in the right direction. I can choose to let life happen to me, or I can work to create something beautiful, meaningful with this life I’ve been given.
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~