June 30th is a crappy day for me and has been for a lot of years. It is the anniversary of my father’s death (14 years ago)… and my grandmother’s and two of my uncles. Weird, I know. I often think if something bad is going to happen to me, it’s going to be on this day. After all, it’s kind of proven itself.
But this year, June 30th hasn’t made me as sad as it once did. I’m more reflective. Because I’ve lost so many people that I care about on this day, it makes me realize just how fragile this life is. I’ve often looked at June 30th the same way I look at New Year’s Day or my birthday. It’s a time for new beginnings. After all when one chapter closes, another opens, doesn’t it?
My father would be proud of me today. The last time he saw me, I weighed 90 pounds more than I do now. I’ve lost 55 pounds this time around, but there were other weight loss stops and starts along the way where I managed to keep off a few of the pounds each time. More than that, I’m the healthiest I’ve been in a very long time. I still have weight I can lose, but I’m fit. I exercise, I eat healthy (most of the time), I get enough sleep. My father, his two brothers that died on this day and his two other brothers all died of heart disease. They were all athletes, all in relatively good shape. Three of them didn’t even reach 50. The youngest brother was 41 and made of “blue twisted steel” or so he told us. My father was 63 when he succumbed to a stroke, from the same disease he shared with his brothers – atherosclerosis.
Being fat is a serious health risk in my family. It’s taken me a really long time to own that. But I finally have. And I am committed now to getting and staying as healthy as I can be. If I’m going to drop dead of something some June 30th in the very distant future, it’s not going to be because I didn’t take care of myself or heed the warning signs. My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and all the other signs of a healthy 50-year-old are there for me now. They weren’t two years ago.
This will be the last time I work this hard to lose 80 pounds. Because I’m not gaining it back this time. I like how I feel in my now healthy body. I like that I can run and that I don’t suffer from reflux anymore. I like that I’ve been able to reduce the one medication that I’m on from three times to once a day. I like that I can see and feel the muscles in my legs and arms. I like having a visible collar bone.
I’m committed to this way of life now…forever. And from now on, June 30th is going to be my commitment day. I will still remember the people I’ve loved and lost on this day. But I will honor them by being proud of what I’ve accomplished; that I’ve made changes that positively affect my health, my life and the people around me.
I can’t avoid it if I happen to get hit by a bus some future June 30th, but I can certainly do everything in my power to stay strong and healthy.