At the end of January 2013 (I believe it was the 2nd to last Thursday of the month - rainman memory at your service - I took a leap of faith, drove to Mason after work (35 - 40 minute drive from my old job) and walked into a place I'd never been to meet with someone I'd never met about how I could work on making some changes in my life. I couldn't believe I was actually doing any of the above. Me, meeting someone new and being interested in what she had to say and, maybe actually saying more than 10 words in response. Most people who knew me then would tell you, there's no way Amanda would do that. And, for the most part, they were right. But, I trusted my brother and his judgement and I knew he wouldn't be sending to talk to someone he didn't really like, respect and admire in many ways. After all, he is my big brother and he loves to be protective in any way I'll let him. So, I knew I would be in good hands.
First talking to Renee' - I felt energized. First time I'd felt that in a long time. When I told my brother that, he just smiled. And my family respected that I would tell them what I wanted to tell them when I was ready to share it. Deep down, I think I needed to do this on my own at first (well, with Renee's help) so I could take ownership in changing my life. Sometimes, I think the phrase changing my life is a bit of an understatement. But I'll go with it.
I'm sure I'm going to forget something (or many things) but this is everything I can remember accomplishing in the last 9 months. Renee' made a similar list for me after my spring break this year - just 2 months after I met her. I should probably let her add to this list. She comes up with a lot more accomplishments for me than I do for myself. In addition to accomplishments, there are so many things I've learned about myself, I'm not sure I can list them all. But, I'm going to do my best so that anyone who reads this knows that it truly is possible to change your life without changing who you are as a person.
1. Volunteered at different places with people I've never met
2. Tried new food - especially fish
3. Started learning how to cook
4. Figured out what a garlic clove is - still don't know what to do with it! :)
5. Stopped looking like I was walking in circles at the grocery store (unless I'm looking for something new).
6. Tried Green Tea - and actually liked it!
7. Established some new friendships that I am so lucky to have in my life
8. Learned that it is okay to indulge from time to time - it's part of life
9. Learned how to smile again and actually have meaning behind that smile
10. Wrote down several goals for the next few months
11. Developed self-confidence and self-esteem I didn't know was inside me
12. Started exercising again and grew to enjoy it
13. Discovered that I despise push ups - but for some reason I keep doing them
14. Learned that there are amazing people in the world who want to help others - I just had to find them!
15. Discovered that there are people who want to know me for me - something I struggled with for many years
16. If I don't take chances, I'll never know what could lie ahead of me
17. Much as I enjoy my little comfort zone, I need to step out of it to find the life I want to live.
18. Salad is actually good
19. Renee' enjoys confusing me by mentioning foods and other things I've never heard of - but it makes me laugh!
20. I enjoy laughing at myself as I find my way through this thing called life
21. Being happy is priceless
22. Starting a new job really is a new beginning - in so many more ways than I ever imagined
23.Being social is actually fun!
24. I ran/walked a 5K in 35 minutes!
25. Sometimes, new friendships can turn into the person or people becoming your best friend(s).
26. Being around people who are positive, enjoy life and bring out the best in me is an unbelievable blessing
27. I've lost 91 pounds!!! Un-freaking-believable!!!
I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. Renee' has helped me find things inside myself that I either didn't know existed or had lost throughout the last few years. I can't even begin to explain how amazing it feels. And how incredible I feel. But, maybe this picture will give you a little insight -
I've never seen this quote until today but I think it sums up the last 9 months of my life -
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
And, if I had to, I would sum up my very first conversation with Renee' with this quote -
This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.
I could have only imagined how true that would be - and in more ways I could have ever imagined.