A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn
Those of you who follow this blog know that I take the advent of a new year quite seriously (A Tired Older Woman Plans For Success). I invest time, espresso and chocolate insuring that I make the best of each January’s chance to make a fresh start.
Some of you brave souls took my advice. You gathered up a pen and some paper, grabbed a beverage and filled a bowl with some munchies. You cleared the decks, surrounded yourself with soft music and thoughtfully mapped your goals for this year. You avoided going into too much detail, embraced flexibility and vowed to keep your eyes open for unexpected opportunities.
So, where do you go from here?
In order to give you an answer, I’m afraid that I must digress first.
A few years ago, I realized it was time to purchase a birthday gift for my friend, Beverly J. Crawford (@bevjcrawford, beverlyjcrawford.com), another member of From Women’s Pens, but I had no idea what to give her. Beverly is the kind of friend who knows how crazy I am, but has never once called either one of my sons and outlined just how certifiable I might be. On this count alone, I wanted to get her something she would really enjoy.
Waiting in line at the grocery store, I was attracted by the cover of a hardbound book that was displayed for sale at the register – not a common offering at this particular store. The cashier began ringing my items, and I moved on without looking too closely, telling myself that a book from the grocery store wasn’t really what I had in mind anyway.
Three days later, I found myself waiting for a seat at my favorite pancake house. Across the lobby, a young woman sat – a vision of calm in a sea of madness – reading what appeared to be the same book. Our number was called, and I rose with my dinner companion, not having asked if the book was any good.
Fast forward to the following weekend. Still searching for a gift, I entered a bookstore and was immediately greeted by a large display of this book. Now, I’m not normally superstitious, but having lived in the Deep South for most of my life, I recognize that three times is the charm.
I was immediately struck by something I had not noticed before. The book had been written by one of my now favorite authors, Debbie Macomber, about whom I had heard some good things. The title of the book was Twenty Wishes. I bought two copies, along with a box of Godivas just in case I needed an extra.
Returning home, I couldn’t wait to start reading, and as usual, Ms. Macomber did not disappoint me. The story centered around four women friends who, through a series of events, at this point in their lives all found themselves single. One evening, they vow to write down a list of twenty wishes each and to compare them the next time that their group meets. The book then relates how this exercise changes them.
A few days later, I presented Beverly with her copy, and she, too, was enchanted. Over dinner, we agreed to take the next logical step. We would meet again for dinner in two weeks, and in the meantime, we would each make a list of our own twenty wishes, which we would then compare.
We agreed on two things:
- These would be “if you had a million dollars” wishes, and
- These would be “if you could not fail” wishes.
For a person who makes her living through words, it is rather embarrassing that I can’t explain how excited we were. Two weeks later, we began our meal by sharing a spinach and artichoke dip and our first wishes.
Now, Beverly and I are good friends, but we are very different people. My children are long grown. At the time, both of hers were still at home. I treasure quiet and solitude. She prefers to be surrounded by a party. I’ve spent much of the last twenty years running businesses. She spent most of them as a stay-at-home mom. Even so, our first wishes were almost identical.
As we progressed through our salads and main courses, this continued. My #7 was her #12. Her #10 was my #18, but the message was clear. Beneath the glitz and the glamour, we cared about and, in some cases, were concerned about the same things.
Not surprisingly, as we made our way through a meal laced with fat, calories and cholesterol, we both wanted to lose weight. Both of us had a wish for a piece we were writing. Both of us had mentioned spiritual growth.
We shared a brownie hot fudge sundae, returned our lists to our purses and promised to meet one year later to see where our lists had taken us, which we did. We continue to do so every year. In fact, we compared our lists for 2013 this past week, Juliette Hill (@JulietteHill1) having joined our tiny group as well.
Perhaps, it’s the economy. Perhaps, it’s that we’re both a few years older. Whatever the reason, our lists still mirrored each other’s, but they were both quite different from previous years’ lists.
So why do we keep doing it?
Well, there are the wonderful meals that we’ve shared and the great conversations and, of course, we love just getting together. At the end of the day, though, I think we would all agree that there’s something more to it.
For one thing, once we’ve agreed on our dinner’s date, we are all committed to actually producing our lists. There’s no getting out of it. There’s no putting it off. We have all commented at one time or another that knowing the others were going to see the ultimate list resulted in our giving the whole process even greater consideration. Then, too, sharing such intimate thoughts is a reflection of our friendship.
In my mind, though, reviewing our lists with each other kicks the whole process up one gigantic notch. By giving our twenty wishes a public airing, we build in accountability.
What, you might ask, are the results of our efforts?
I LLCd my fifth business, which I had no intention of doing previous to making my list. Beverly mailed a letter that she would not have sent otherwise, and a new man entered her life. Juliette found the courage to build a highly successful writing career, something she had put off for many years. We would all cite manuscripts completed, better cover choices and improved marketing. I have found these past couple of years to be full of amazing spiritual growth, and all of us have traveled more than we would have done otherwise.
So when are you going to get started, and no, next New Year’s Day is NOT an acceptable option. More importantly, who are you going to share your list with – a girlfriend you treasure like me, your significant other? Maybe, you’ll have the courage to go out on a limb and become a role model for making a successful life by sharing your twenty wishes with a younger person in your church or even your very own child.
Whomever you choose, I wish both of you joy. Let me know how it turns out!
Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn