The first time I ever flew by myself, I was pretty nervous. I had a layover in Denver which meant navigating a large airport, then when I arrived in Las Vegas, I was in charge of getting myself from the airport to the hotel. Despite having flown many times before, I doubted my ability to do it alone. But sure enough, by putting one foot in front of the other, reading a few signs, and making friends with a sweet couple who got me to the shuttle in Las Vegas, I arrived unscathed at my hotel. I was a little surprised. The world hadn't stopped spinning and I was where I was supposed to be. I stood a little taller.
A couple of months ago, David and I took a basic handgun class with another couple. I'd never shot a gun of any sort until one week before the class. When we went to practice, I didn't like it at all. It wasn't a total disaster (no one was shot), but I sure wasn't looking forward to doing it again. One foot in front of the other, we walked into the building where the class was to be held. I was surprised to see a familiar face - my long time ago hair stylist...who just happened to be teaching the class. I relaxed just a little, until it became time to demonstrate our ability to safely load and unload 2 guns (with blanks) before going to the range. I wasn't sure I could do it. We hung back until the very last group. One foot in front of the other, one breath at a time. Load, unload, make safe. We went to lunch at one of my favorite places, but I could barely enjoy it. The next step was the range. 20 practices shots with a 9mm and 20 with a revolver. Then 20 with each again to pass and qualify. I had shot exactly 5 rounds the week before...now I was to shoot 80?! Again, we hung back until it was time for the last group. One foot in front of the other. The phrase "anyone can eat an elephant, one bite at a time" kept running through my head. I didn't worry about shooting, just focused on each step. Load the magazine. Count 2 bullets. Point. Pull. Hmmm...that wasn't so bad! I was less terrible at it than I expected to be, and I didn't hate it! Instead, I kind of...liked it!
It is an incredible feeling to do something you think you cannot do. I never dreamed that I could lose 45 pounds and keep it off, but almost exactly one year ago, my friends at work and I formed a team to participate in the Biggest Loser contest at school. Our team won (by a landslide, I might add) and I came in 2nd individually. During the contest, I said more than once that my plan was to lose enough and keep it off so that I wouldn't want or need to participate in the contest the next year. I'm not sure I really believed that was possible. Time flies, and it is next year already. Tomorrow will be the first weigh in and starting point of the 2014 contest. I'll be cheering my friends on, but I won't be participating this time. I reached my weight loss goal in June, and despite Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the yummy foods that involves, I have maintained since then. Each decision to remove one's hand from the candy dish, to exercise instead of lay on the couch, to just say no to one more serving, those things all add up. It turns out that the saying is true...anyone can eat an elephant, one bite at a time.