“No matter where you go… there you are.”
This quote actually comes to us from Confucius, the well known Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher who lived between 551 and 479 B.C. It’s also a line from Buckaroo Banzai, the 1984 cult film starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Goldblum (Look it up over a bowl of popcorn!). That juxtaposition just makes me giggle. And unless I miss my guess, somewhere Confucius is having a solid chuckle over it as well.
So why do I bring this up? Because when it comes to our weight, body image, and riding our horses to our highest potential, it’s easy to gaze into some far-off future and imagine a leaner, lighter, stronger body—a body worth feeling good about.
“When I get this weight off I’ll show more…”
“When I get in better shape I’ll ride more trails…”
“Once I finally manage to get rid of these wobbly bits I’ll buy some nicer riding clothes…”
You know the thought pattern. We imagine how on that magical ‘someday’ we’ll do things differently and feel differently about the things we do.
‘Someday’ has arrived. Think about it. Isn’t today “the tomorrow you dreamed about yesterday?” I remember hearing this line—lifted and twisted slightly from a wonderful old country song recorded by Lefty Frizzell (written by Joe Johnson)—for the first time when I was in high school and just beginning my angst over a body that weighed more than the height/weight charts said it should. Looking back now I realize I was a very, very average size, but the disparity between the number on the scale and the number on the charts made me feel, to put it bluntly, huge. It hampered my riding. It dampened my joy. And worse of all, it kept me from trying events and experiences with my horse I probably would have really enjoyed.
The trouble with letting that slippery someday romp around in your imagination is that it can buck us off in the here and now. Feeling hopeless and captive to any number we allow to define us, we say, “Someday I’ll get a handle on this,” and then more than likely, “Pass the Cheetos.”
All this to say, what if today is the day you get on those scales and see that number for what it is? A number. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t put you in any category. Above all, it doesn’t have to automatically propel you onto a cycle of self-contempt. What if we recognize this as Someday? Give stinkin’ thinkin’ the boot, let go of whatever provokes our numberphobia and saddle up and ride right on through it.
Ride those trails. Enter those shows. Go ahead and push yourself to ride better, learn all you can, try harder—and reach for those new heights you’ve reserved for your Someday self.
Let’s all agree that it’s time to look squarely into the face of that number that holds our todays and tomorrows captive and take away its power once and for all. Give yourself permission to view that number as information—not indictment—and begin the slow and steady climb toward freedom.
It’s strange how changing the way you look at a number can become the simple shift that can actually spur the change we’ve been seeking all along. Give it a try and let me know what happens. I’m pulling for you.
About the Author
Melinda Folse is author of the best selling books The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses and her newest release, Riding Through Thick and Thin, as well as articles and blogs that explore the many metaphors to be found between the world of working with horses and universal women’s issues. For more, visit melindafolse.com.