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Provided by Sheryl C. S. Johnson
Sheryl C. S. Johnson

We’ve heard the story from dozens of women. I heard it because I chased my skinny friends down, demanding, “How did you lose all that weight?”

After baby No. 3, I came into my own 30-pound story. I’d been nursing or pregnant for years and the inches crept on, making themselves comfortable. Like most women sporting a little chub, I wasn’t happy. Every time I saw a mirror my countenance fell. But I would be happy! It was inevitable. When I weighed 30 pounds less, I’d really be the smiling, cheerful angel everyone thought I was.

Weightwatchers.com and I worked hard to shed those 30 pounds. Soon the payoff moments began to trickle in. A sales clerk chastised me as I shopped for new clothes, saying, “You’re too small to shop in women’s. Let me show you our misses section.”

That felt good. It felt good as I hid behind a rack of blouses, wiping a happy tear. It felt good all the way home. It felt good as I wore my new outfit on Sunday, and that’s all the feel-good mileage I got out of it.

I’d spent 15 weeks thinking the happy fairy would tap me on the head and all my dreams would come true when I lost the weight. As I stood in front of the mirror I realized, though I may have looked a little different, it was still just plain old me. I was living the same life with the same wonderful people day in and day out.

It hit home when a neighbor came by and jokingly said, “I hate you. You and your skinny self, your perfect house, your perfect children.” I laughed it off nervously, not knowing how to respond. When she left I had a good snorting chuckle. If she could have seen past the entryway that day, she would have noticed laundry piled in the hall and my usually stud-muffined kids in their rag-a-muff glory at 2 p.m. wondering why lunch was late.

If I wasn’t getting that warm, fuzzy feeling from people noticing my new weight, where was it going to come from? It dawned on me that I did live with a wonderful family, in a nice home, surrounded by many friends. I had wasted 15 weeks waiting to be happy. I could have chosen to be happy every moment. I could have chosen to be happy 30 pounds ago. Doh! I collapsed onto the one clean couch in the house and rubbed my hands across my face. Happy wasn’t about size. It was about choice.

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My husband and I named the phenomenon “The As-Soon-As-es.” We’d be happy as soon as I delivered a baby and could stop waddling. We’d be happy as soon as we were in that new home. We’d be happy as soon as the car was paid for. We noticed somewhere along the way that if we were together, that was plenty of reason to be happy. Happy was something to feel on the journey, not just a spurt of emotion to revel in at the destination. Besides that, what do you do after reaching a destination? You start another journey.

Wherever you go in life, whatever goals you reach, it will be the same old you that you’re seeing on the other side of the mirror. You’ll reach those goals with the same disposition you journeyed there with. Your disposition can color the moments of your life happy. The awesome thing is that you can choose that disposition, moment by moment, thought by thought. Choose happy. Don’t wait.