At one point in my life, I had a goal. I no longer have it, because I’ve reached it.
Six years later, but still.
If there are any of you who’ve been reading this blog since before the world shook, before the brain tumor and the heart attack and the breast cancer and the ordination, you might remember this goal. It was specific, simple, and stupid.
My wife, the Christmas of 2009, bought me a pair of beautiful slacks. Best pair I’ve ever owned. I rarely need to dress nicer than whatever the UPS guy might accept as reasonable, but they might come in handy for a special occasion.
My daughter got married the previous summer, and the stress of that and a cross-country trip dropped my weight to a level not seen in decades. That followed a typical holiday weight gain and a minimal desire to reverse that, meaning that I didn’t want to work hard. I figured if I lost something, half a pound or a pound, every week, I’d have a pretty easy time of it with not much in the way of deprivation, so I did that.
Here’s the thing, too: Lose a pound a week, on average, for six months, and you might find yourself 26 pounds lighter.
Anyway. I was on the lean side, and glad to be there. And even if that weight eventually jumped up a little, I could still squeeze into my jeans with a 32-inch waist, which somehow gave me pleasure that can’t exactly be explained by vanity. It was more marveling at something I never expected to see.
So Julie bought me these slacks, waist 32 inches, and they were made for another man who lives in another dimension in which inches mean something else, apparently. I couldn’t snap close these pants if I wore a girdle and refused to breathe for a week.
So, goal. Drop that weight back down, fit into those great slacks, feel good. And if you’re bored and curious, search for “pants” on this blog and you’ll find several entries over the course of a month, describing how I was attempting to lose a few pounds and trying on those slacks every week, until I decided on the other dimension thing. Wasn’t happening.
Years pass. My wife’s illnesses led me to marathon exercise routines and free rein to comfort myself with food that fell into that comfort category. Weight fluctuated, from a reasonable place in the mid-180s to over 200 pounds, and then a bit more. This sort of crested and immediately fell back, maybe a trauma glitch, and by the time autumn 2011 rolled around I was back in the upper 180s.
And then there was the movie, and my indecision about how the character might look until it got too late to go in any direction but up. This was great, as it turned out. I played that role as a slightly doughy guy around 60 (I was 55), and I felt fine (hated the wardrobe, but felt fine).
I dropped 10 pounds off of that 205-207 range, but that was as far as I got. I just stayed there, through the rest of 2013 and 2014 and the first half of 2015, never fluctuating more than a pound or three. I was fine with that, too.
And then June came, and I decided to make some eating changes, and then I went through a period where my appetite disappeared, and there were other things. Still, as the weight slowly slid off, occasionally I’d try on those pants. Down in the low 170s, I still couldn’t close them. Talk about your dimensional crisis. I gave them to my wife, just in case she ever had the need for some casual, loose-fitting power pants for some outfit. It wasn’t to be.
And then I went to Texas in September, and I never eat well on the road. Sometimes I have great local meals, but I tend to never quite understand when to eat until I start feeling light-headed. So I dropped some more pounds, unintentionally.
How do I explain this without sounding even more vain and stupid? I weighed around 207 when I made Winning Dad. I dropped down to around 197 for the next few years, acceptable.
Today I weigh 163 pounds. Dunno. It happens. I stay away from sugar, and I’m still having problems learning to eat regular meals. It’ll be OK. That’s statistically, in fact, an ideal weight for me, so no issues there.
But hey! Let’s try on those slacks NOW.
Snap. Button. Closed.
So I wore them last night, first time (I actually had to cut off the tags of a 2009 pair of pants). I went to an ordination service for a co-worker and I wanted to look nice.
And at the end of the evening, I could reflect on vanity, its usefulness and pitfalls, and of course aware that there are many of you out there saying Oh please. Most of us have weight problems. Why do I need to rub it in?
I’m not, in fact. Just sort of surprised. By the fact that I now weigh what I did in high school, or when I got married. The new and weird look in the mirror. The fact that I can wear anything in my closet.
And the awareness, at the end of last night, that I was glad to finally wear those slacks and complete that old goal, as silly as it was.
For the last time, I suspect. This is an anomaly, a slimmed-down version of an aging male, probably a last gasp at something. Ask me in six months what I weigh; I’ll tell you. I have a feeling my wife may be wearing those slacks from now on.
But the real reason, which I finally came to terms with last night, with one last look at the mirror after coming back home, is the decision maker.
Turns out they’re too big.
I firmly believe in other dimensions, by the way.