Today was the day for my monthly visit (whoa! that’s sounds like a preamble to icky grade 5 health class…) to our downtown clinic. The night before my ‘Downtown Day’ I have to rifle through my closet to find something from this decade that is suitable to wear in an office environment. Not only that but I force my poor feet into heels and pray I can make it through the day without tripping. Last month as luck would have it the strap on my shoe broke while I was getting off the subway and I had to stuff my size 8’s into a co-workers size 6’s for the remainder of the day. Never before have I appreciated so much that my regular work day attire consists of scrubs and Crocs!
Today, as on many days, I was struck by how truly lovely Canadians are and it reminded me of how fortunate I am that I can call myself ‘Canadian’!
It’s the little things: as I was getting on to the crowded subway the young man inside quickly hopped out so that I wouldn’t have to squeeze past him (if he had offered me his seat and called me ‘dear’ however I would have decked him). When I went to Starbucks for my morning jolt of happiness the barista (such a fancy title!) called me by my first name not just once but TWICE and wished me a good day… It’s the little things. There is a Tim Hortons close to our ‘not downtown’ clinic which I go to every day that I work and I am always amazed by how polite all the patrons are. Everyone holds the door for one another, people smile and FREQUENTLY patrons wish each other a good day. Again…all little things but they make my day.
Today I saw a patient who is fairly new to her Lap-band journey. She was banded in February 2015 with her initial weight being 260 lbs. She has been coming in regularly and I would say has been having a fairly standard journey thus far. Today she weighed in at 248 lbs and had her fourth small adjustment as she feels she is ‘almost there’. She hasn’t really lost that much in the past few months, however this isn’t phasing her…she has done her homework and knows it is coming. Not only that but she is recognizing (and loving) the difference this weight loss has made in her life thus far. Today she showed me how her pants were sagging in the butt and how her rings are spinning around on her fingers and she was beaming ear to ear. She said to me ‘Sue it’s the little things that are making me the happiest’.
From my 9 years of working with banded patients, something that is overwhelmingly apparent is that it is the little changes that occur in a person’s life as a result of weight loss that have the greatest impact and seem to impart the most amount of happiness and satisfaction.
One of my co-workers often tells the story of a phone call she received from a patient who was inside a fitting room and crying because she fit into a ‘normal size’ pair of jeans and she wanted to share her joy. I remember a patient commenting to me that he was at a BBQ the weekend before and realized he was sitting with his legs crossed for the first time in 30 years. My sister when she flew home from overseas and didn’t have to ask the skinny flight attendant for a seat belt extender.
I think all too often in life we are so focused on what we think our goal is, be it a bigger car, a new home, a higher income, a number on the scale, that we fail to recognize, savour, appreciate and enjoy the ‘little things’ along the way…the things that really matter. And more often than not its the little things that truly make us happy in life.
Sometimes patients will have a particular number they want to see on the scale and they have a timeframe within which they expect to reach this number. They focus so intently on this number and beat themselves up mercilessly if they are not reaching this goal within that (often unrealistic) timeframe that they completely fail to appreciate all the accomplishments they have achieved along the way.
I’d really encourage anyone who is perhaps feeling this way to take a step back, look at what you have achieved thus far and CELEBRATE, ENJOY and be SO PROUD of all the so-called ‘little things’ that you have achieved that are making your life better.
‘Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things’
~ Robert Brault (I don’t know who he is but the older I get the more I see the truth in his quote)
Yours in Health, Happiness and celebrating all those ‘little’ things,