I used to visit some elderly sisters in a nursing home. They were very elderly. One of them lived to be 103 years of age, and her younger sister lived into her late nineties. They shared a room and it was always a delight to visit them. Their attitudes were of gratitude. It wasn’t the home they’d shared for decades, but they were aware that they couldn’t be there anymore, accepted that fact, and made the best of it by adapting to their new location. Some of their surroundings were the same because they decorated their space with pictures and mementos of people they loved.
Often, my opening line when I entered their room was, “Hi! What’s new?” And without fail, the younger sister would respond, “New Jersey, New York!” with a slight shrug of her shoulders and a mischievous tilt of her eyebrows. I don’t remember specific conversations about new clothing jerseys or new York peppermint patties, but I know we had a bit of fun playing with words.
Many times, I had my little girl with me. She had a special bond with the younger sister. The older sister would ask if my daughter was my “baby” to which the younger sister would interject, “Baby! I always wished my parents had another child so I wouldn’t be the BABY!” The way she said baby was quite comical but very real for this ninety-six year old younger sister. There was no generation gap between my youngest and her at that moment!
So back to what’s new. I was thinking about new this morning as I looked out the window above my kitchen sink. It was just starting to get light, but the birds were in full sing. New songs even though they were the same calls they’d used yesterday. I felt thankful for the dawn chorus. A new day. New mercies. The thought of spring coming. Hope. A fresh start. It’s a nice way to start the day.
In my journey of learning to live with sugar addiction, I’ve found it very helpful to notice new opportunities, new beginnings, new ideas. They tend to spark a song of thankfulness. An old song made fresh by the awareness of yet more to be thankful for. My journey hasn’t been a straight line of successes. I’ve had plenty of slip ups and stalls. Maybe too many bananas. Or a field day with grazing. But I’ve recognized the new opportunities for success. Sometimes with the next bite. Sometimes a couple of weeks later. The weak becomes stronger and I’m new again.
In my journey, I’ve had opportunity to get new jerseys in much smaller sizes than I used to wear at my top weight of over 250 pounds. I recently bought some new York peppermint patties, but not for me to consume. No. I’m thankful to be aware and care about the consequences of eating just one. It’s never just one because I’ve proven, many times, that sugar triggers something in my brain that messes with my impulse controls. I’m like an alcoholic with sugar.
My forthcoming book is part of what helps me keep my new jerseys fitting and the new York peppermint patties out of my mouth. It’s a record of awareness, acceptance, and adaptation. It’s a record to remind me of what it was like when sugar controlled me. What it was like when it didn’t. It’s a record of the slyness and subtle ways sugar tried to get back in control. And just for the record, even though it repeats a bit, it’s not a broken record! It’s the record of me working a paradigm shift. Yes. I have a new paradigm.
That’s my twenty cents worth!
What’s new with you?