340669_257481624273506_5637861_oI think one of the hardest lessons in life is learning that change cannot happen until you are really ready for it.

And, it doesn’t matter how badly you want something for yourself, or for someone else, it’s not going to happen until you, or that person, is ready for the change.

Change is really hard.  Sometimes it can be exciting and fun.  And, other times, it can be scary or painful.

But, it’s also inevitable and necessary.

Problem is, while the world and the people around you keep changing, if you’re not changing along with it, then you get left behind.

I see it every day…People getting left behind because they are not ready for change.  It breaks my heart at times.  Other times, it makes me angry and frustrated.  And, other times, I just have to let it go.

Don’t ever confuse my lack of force to change you as not caring, though.  That is so far from the truth!  I have just learned to patiently (and painfully) wait for you…

I have often been asked why I don’t chase people down and try to sell and promote CrossFit more around town.  Why don’t I try to recruit more members?

Because…CrossFit is a lifestyle change, and it’s really hard.  Completely rewarding and totally worth it, but, until someone is truly ready for this change, it’s not going to work.  I can nag and hound someone until I am blue in the face, but it’s not going to change that person for the better, nor will it last very long, until he is doing the hard work and effort himself because he wants it for himself.

It can be extremely frustrating, though, to watch people you love get left behind.  Especially when you know that things could be so much better for them if they just did X, Y, and Z.  It’s so tempting to just do it all for them.  And, temporarily that may work and make you feel better.  But, the hard truth is, the second you stop doing it for them, you then have to watch them fall right back to where they started from, and everything you did for them was really just for you.

My father has Diabetes Type II.  He’s had it now for about 10+ years.  With a proper diet and exercise routine, it can be well managed.  However, to this day, my father still chooses to eat and live the way he always has for his entire life.  Frozen pizzas, Diet Cokes, lots of milk, potato chips, fast food, popcorn, and anything deliciously processed.

There was a time that my mother prepped and planned his entire diet using the South Beach Diet plan.  It was A LOT of work for her (on top of her full-time teaching job, and everything else).  But, for the most part, it was pretty successful, and my dad lost weight and was doing really well.

Guess what happened when my mom stopped doing it, though?!  Bingo!  Right back to his old habits!  Not overnight, but gradually, over time, he slipped more and more.  My dad also does not check his blood regularly.  And, unless my mom or sister nag him about it, it just doesn’t happen.

For years, I was angry and sad about my father and his resistance to change.  I just could not understand why he wouldn’t want to change his lifestyle for himself, and us!  I thought he was being selfish and stubborn.  I felt like he was choosing food over all of us.  We were not important enough to change.

But, that’s not it at all.

It’s NOT about us.

It’s NOT about me.

It’s NOT personal.  This is where most of us get caught up, though.  This is why most of us get hurt.  We take it too personally when someone doesn’t change, rather than realizing that it has absolutely nothing to do with us.

It is a true case of, “It’s me, not you.”

My father would jump in front of a train for us.  He is always willing to drop whatever it is he is doing to come help us.  He will always come get us if our car breaks down, even if it’s across the country.  He will play for hours with our kids.  He will do whatever it takes to make us happy.  My father is one of the most fun-loving and caring men out there.  He loves us, and he shows it everyday through the things he does for us.

But, my father is addicted to food.  It may sound silly, but it’s just as real as a drug or alcohol addiction.  Certainly not as immediately dangerous or severe as drugs or alcohol, but a problem nonetheless.  And, quite often, easily overlooked or brushed off because it’s “just food.”

I’ve reached a point in my life where I have decided to just be thankful for the days that I have my father here, enjoy the time I have with him, make sure Bailey gets as much time with him as possible, and just keep the door open for him.

There is always that hope, that possibility that one day he will be ready to really change, and I will be right there to support him.  Until that day comes, though, I will no longer nag him, lecture him, give him guilt-trips, or do things for him, because not only has it not changed anything, but it is also very draining personally.

There is a point in a co-dependent relationship where you have to decide what is best for yourself.  Sleepless nights worrying, anxiety attacks when my mom calls thinking this is “the call,” and nagging fights are not how I want to remember my days with my father.  Nor does it make my own life very “liveable.”

Quality of life.

What does a “Quality of Life” mean to you?  For me…Right now…It’s loving and enjoying my father, and not enabling him, not nagging him, but also not ignoring or pretending.  It’s accepting the circumstances, knowing that I only have control over myself.

So…What makes some people change, and others not?  How can some live for new adventures, and others stay stuck in the mud for their entire lives?  Some are ready for change at the age of only 15, while others take 80 years before finally taking that leap.

It’s the unknown.  And, that is what makes it so frustrating and scary.  I’ve spent too many years being frustrated and scared about my father, though.

I only things I know and understand at this point are:

1. My father loves us unconditionally.

2. My father loves life – He is a true kid at heart.

3. My father loves food.

4. He is not ready to change his lifestyle…And that has absolutely nothing to do with us…It is not personal, and I cannot take it personally.

5. Doing for others, and doing for yourself are two totally and completely different things!!!

I don’t know what it will take, or when it will happen for my father, if ever.  The only thing I can do at this point is just keep hope.

The only constant in life is change, and the only thing you can control is yourself.  I cannot change people, just as much as they cannot change me.

Only I change me.

And only they change themselves.

Keep an open mind and heart.

Love unconditionally.

Adjust your sails as needed.

And…Enjoy the journey, storms and all.

2 thoughts on “Change

  1. 1) I hope your father reads this. 2) I can’t help but feel like I’m a lot like him in many ways. My eating habits have not resulted in serious medical issues….yet. But I do have an unhealthy relationship with food. And I need to “accept” the change. When I don’t watch what I eat AND DRINK I can creep up to 160lbs QUICKLY, but if I diet and keep kicking my ass in the gym I lose it quickly, but don’t really maintain……I guess that’s the big issue. I lose it, then don’t know how to maintain it. Either way I go back to where I started, essentially not “accepting the change.” It was really nice reading this from the other perspective. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for my husband to see me so unhappy with myself, body, weight but yet I don’t “really” do anything to fix it. Good post!

  2. After everything you have ever said before, during and after a WOD, nothing has it home more than this article. This is a life changer and major “eye” opener for what I am dealing with at hand. Thank you for your love for life. You truly are one of the most amazing mentors I will ever have.

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