A New Unit of Measure

I ran into some old friends from high school not too long ago. We sat and talked for a while, the conversation mostly around how we’ve all fared during the pandemic.

We talked about lost family members, chronic illness, job changes, relationships that came and went. And once we took a collective sigh about all of those things, the conversation steered to weight. 

A knot formed in the pit of my stomach at the first mention of pounds gained.

This pandemic has been unimaginably hard. Within three months, I helped care for my parents while they recovered from COVID, learned my job was being phased out, and had to deal with a life-changing health diagnosis for a family member. My daughters struggled with staying home for the last weeks of school.  

I went to two funerals, one of which was for a girl the same age as my teen daughter. 

I spend more nights than I’d like to count worrying about my husband, an Black man who works nights. I make sure the tags on his truck are current, remind him to keep a copy of our current insurance card, and inquire about operational tail lights. If he’s gone longer than he says he will be, my worry skyrockets. 

The stories I heard from my friends that day were similarly tough. They had been through so much. They were still shouldering so much. And somehow, the number on the scale was a key measure of survival.

I wanted to say that I didn’t feel that way. That either I don’t own a scale or I haven’t used it in so long that it’s covered in dust. The truth is I weigh myself far more than I’d like to admit. 

And when I do, it’s not really about my physical health. I’m looking for an arbitrary number that I’ve decided is my “ok.”

I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to measure my success by my dress size. Moving forward, I’m looking for a new unit of measure – something that captures what really matters to me. Game nights. Vacations. Dates with my husband. Shoot, maybe I can measure in laughter. 

I’m not sure what the right unit of measure is, and it may take a while to find it. My search begins today. 

Maybe you want to join me?

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