Most Americans are familiar with the 1960s TV show “I Dream of Jeannie.” Jeannie could grant wishes, make items or people appear or disappear, and, in general, alter circumstances when needed. Jeannie had a good heart and used her magic to help make things better. Invariably something would go wrong and Jeannie, with help from Tony and Roger, would have to sort out the problem. She would eventually fix it with her famous quick-blink-sharp-nod magic.
Wouldn’t it be grand to have someone like Jeannie around? Even the standard genie with three wishes could magically transform us into someone fit, strong, and healthy. At the stage of my life when I felt too huge to be allowed to exist in society, I would have called up my genie in a heartbeat. It would have been like inheriting 10 million dollars! How could that be bad?
But it is.
Jeannie used her magic to abruptly alter physical circumstances. Much of the show’s humor comes from Tony’s and Roger’s attempts to deal with the sudden changes. As much as we like to think we too could roll with it and everything would be all right, we aren’t in a TV sitcom. It just doesn’t work that way.
In real life, people don’t handle that kind of change well. According to an article by GoldenGirlFinance.com, research done by the “National Endowment for Financial Education” showed that “70 percent of people who had unexpectedly come into large sums of money ended up broke within seven years.” Why?
When you dream of the day when you’ll have more money, don’t you also dream about the things you can finally buy because now you can afford it and still put food on the table? Typically we don’t spend as much time dreaming about which investments are best for growing our money toward a secure retirement or what steps we need to take to pay off our mortgage.
The same is true for becoming fit, strong, and healthy. When I weighed over 300 pounds, I dreamed of wearing Levi’s 501, button-up blue jeans like I had in high school while still eating brownie hot fudge sundaes whenever I wanted. I wasn’t dreaming about exercising more and eating less. I wanted my health troubles to disappear without me making any uncomfortable changes.
I re-watched a few “I Dream of Jeannie” episodes on YouTube and noticed that woven into the magic, crazy hijinks, and fun the show was about nurturing and building positive relationships.
Our lives are FULL. There is always a lot going on. But it really is our relationships that matter most. This includes our relationship with ourselves. Imagine how you would feel if your spouse or a close friend started treating you the way you treat you.
I would feel neglected, pushed aside, and forgotten. “Don’t my needs matter?” I would ask. “When do you think you’ll have time for me?”
How often do we push our needs aside to help or please someone else? There are times when we need to do this for others, but we also need to make time to take care of ourselves. Remember what the flight attendant says before every flight: When you need to help the person next to you, it’s important not to pass out.
I once told a psychologist friend of mine that I didn’t have time to track my food intake and exercise. “How much time does it take?” she asked.
It only takes a few minutes, and it keeps me mindful of what I’m working to accomplish for myself. I feel good and make progress when I track my food and exercise. The real reason I wasn’t taking the time to track my food and exercise. I didn’t want it bad enough. It wasn’t important enough to me to take better care of me.
Let’s stop waiting for a genie in a bottle to make our health and wellness dreams come true. They’ll come true when we decide they’re important enough, that we are important enough.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Making changes in our lives is so much easier when we have each other to lean on.
Also, I’m still working on installment two of “Girl Power,” so stay tuned. :-)