I love quotes. I like all kinds of quotes, be they inspirational, motivational, funny, silly, sappy, or whatever. Any time I read a quote that touches me in any way, I like it. I try to pass on the particularly good quotes, and if you’re on my Facebook, you’ll know that’s true. Lately it seems like a few of the same quotes keep coming up in my life. Maybe it’s just that I notice them more because they are more relevant to me right now. I don’t know. All I know is that these quotes really hit home right now. I am on a major life quest to change myself inside and out. I am not only trying to lose weight, but also to gain strength, balance, and clarity. I don’t just want to be thinner, I also want to be stronger and healthier both inside and out. Part of that journey includes, and MUST include, surrounding myself with people who are good for me. Some people are good for me because they serve as examples of what hard work and dedication can do. Some people are proof of the goodness and compassion that we are all capable of. Some people are amazingly supportive and encouraging. I also realize that some people are only in our life to challenge us and some people are only in our lives to show us what NOT to do. All of these people are necessary to my success and well-being. With all that being said, I also have begun to realize the flip side of all this: me. Who am I to the people in my life? What kind of example do I serve? What kind of example do I WANT to be? In the past I know what I’ve been: what NOT to do. In the past I have done alot of stupid things. I smoked and drank and ate garbage. I have been negative and pessimistic. I have been angry and untrusting. All of these things I have been and done, and I freely admit them. I acknowledge and accept them. I was who I was and I cannot change that now. What I can do is learn that who I was is NOT who I am now. Who I was has taught me who I want to be. Since I have been on this journey, I have been very open about everything. I have several reasons for doing this so publicly and to be honest, most of them are selfish. In including everyone in my journey, I am putting myself in a position to be held accountable. Because everyone knows that I am doing this, everyone keeps me in check. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me how I’m doing. That is a push for me to keep going. Another thing is that by journaling/blogging/posting about my journey, I am keeping track of where I am, where I’m going, and where I’ve been. I can look back at what was happening two months ago and feel pride in how far I have come since then. Yesterday I read the blog I wrote on the day that I first ran. I remember struggling through a short 30 second sprint. Yesterday I ran several 1 and 2 minute sprints. Now I know to some people, 2 minutes of running is not impressive, but if you consider my weight and my health it really is. A couple of years ago I was a t a point where I could barely walk. I couldn’t go shopping anywhere unless I had a shopping cart to hold onto. Six months ago I was starting to creep back up to my highest weight again and again, I was starting to have trouble walking. So yes, 2 minutes of running is an amazing accomplishment. It will be even more amazing when I run for 5 minutes straight, and 10, and 20, and on and on. I will get there and I will blog about it. So yes, sharing my journey has been a partially selfish thing for me to do, but it has also had an amazing and unexpected side effect. I have been noticing how it has effected other people. Some people have commented on my posts, some people have sent me messages, and some people have told me in person, just how much my journey has meant to them. I’ve had people say that my will power has encouraged them to do something that they didn’t think they could do. I have had some people say that watching me lose 100 pounds has encouraged them to lose the 25 pounds that they need to shed. I’ve had people say that I have motivated them to start exercising or being more active with their families. I have been asked advice about eating right and exercising. How ironic is that? I laughed when a friend of mine, who is 15 pounds overweight, asked me, who is still 300 pounds overweight, how to lose weight. I laughed, but it felt so good. I am doing a good job, and I am motivating others to do the same. I am focusing on the positives in my life and I am bringing anyone who wants to come along on the journey with me. For once in my life I am a good influence. One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs is “I’m not the kind of girl you take home”, but lately, all that is changing and I am so happy about it. I am so proud of me. For most of my life I have never felt proud of myself and even when I did, I never NEVER said it out-loud. I never wanted to seem egotistical or boastful. Now I see that having pride in myself is not a bad thing. I’m not saying that I am better than you or anyone else. All I am saying is that I am good enough. I am good enough and I deserve to be happy. I deserve to live a long, healthy, happy life. Is my life perfect? NO. Of course it isn’t. It’s good and bad and sometimes it’s hard as hell. Sometimes, it’s a struggle, but it is always worth it. Part of the reason that my life is so good is because I am blessed with the people that I have in my life. I hope that individually I have told you all how much you mean to me. Maybe I have and this is all old news. Maybe I haven’t and I really need to. So let me take this opportunity to say this to you, thank you. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for your support, your encouragement, and your love. Thank you for making me laugh, for letting me cry, and for accepting me as I am. I even say thank you to those of you who have hurt me because you have taught me what is not acceptable. Each of you brings something to my life that is valuable and worthy. I hope that I bring good things to your life as well. I look forward to every moment we have together. Thank you for being a part of my life.