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Being Better

Something I’ve noticed here lately, but especially over the weekend, is that Jeffrey makes me want to be better. A better partner, better friend, better Mahm – and just an all-around better person. Now, this isn’t a sappy story about how I idealize what a hero he is, because trust me, he has faults of his own, but rather how his mere existence as my soon to be hubby continues to alter my path. I think part of it is a testament to my willingness to do something different and my open-mindedness that being stuck in my own ways is not going to lead to growth. But, he provides a motivation like I’ve never felt before. It’s not a strong calling of, “My god, I must do these things to keep this man happy,” but more of a steady feeling of security and a sense that what is happening in my life is right. Scratch that, ‘right’ is not the word I’m looking for. What is happening in my life is good. And if it is good, it is God’s will.

When we first became friends, my diet consisted of nothing more than chicken fingers, fries and maybe if I’m feeling extra wild – a little honey mustard sauce. Just yesterday Jeffrey was telling me how he stopped by my apartment to take care of pups for me and he opened my refrigerator to find juice and candy. Literally that was all. I’ve always been a super picky eater, but more than anything, just very unwilling and quite adamant that I would not try anything new. I knew what I liked and it worked for me, so no reason to test anything else out! But over the last two years, slowly at first, I began to try new things ONLY at his urging. He took me to a Mediterranean place on what I didn’t know was kind of a date (Whoops?), had me try a gyro (which by the way are delicious), suggested I try adding vegetables into my chicken fried rice from PF Chang’s, introduced me to Thai food that I now love, and who knows how many more bites of things here and there that I would never have chosen to eat on my own. I always feel like a puppy when I try new things and am rewarded with praises of, “Good girl!”

So, we watched this documentary on Netflix a few weeks ago called, “What the Health.” And boy, did it radically change our outlook. If you haven’t seen it and do not want to know, I suggest not watching it. I’m a true believer of ‘ignorance is bliss’ because if you don’t have awareness of something, you don’t have to do anything about it. But, now that I’ve seen it, and we have done some research on our own, including watching other unrelated documentaries, we have decided that meat and dairy are not very good for us. Jeffrey jumped in 100% and has completely cut it out of his diet and I have for the most part, except for wedding cake testing and a few other things that have been made with eggs. In the beginning, I was pretty resistant to the change because it did not seem convenient. I would text Jeffrey complaining after work about what I’m going to make and then would say no to everything he suggested to just end up making the very first thing he offered up – a spinach salad with strawberries, onion, peppers, and honey mustard dressing. I can still be somewhat stubborn. 🤷🏼‍♀️

In the few weeks we’ve been doing this, we’ve found PLENTY of tasty food options and new dishes, our energy level is insanely high and we don’t have the constant need for an IV of caffeine via energy drinks and coffee all day every day. Jeffrey has lost 10 pounds and is really enjoying this new lifestyle. And what I started to see is that in those times where I don’t want to do it anymore, my motivation does not come from my own will power, but rather my wanting to be supportive of him in this journey. Maybe being a single female, I never felt a reason to watch what I ate even though I agreed that it’s much better to eat more veggies and less processed foods and meat. My willingness to work on my own health is not for me but for that of my future family.

As part of getting healthy, Jeffrey has decided to take up bike riding again, something he enjoyed for a long time probably until he got sedentary in a relationship with me (again – whoops?). He went on a 27 mile ride with a friend yesterday and even suggested I get my own bike. Normally my first thought would be, “Nope. No, thanks. I’m not going to do something just because you do it.” Instead, my first thought was, “it would give us something we can do together and if I don’t like it, then oh well! Why not try?” He has tried to get me to join his kings and castles game. Though that one is a little too nerdy for me, I love when he tells me about it (especially when I have no idea what he’s talking about – the looks on my face, I’m sure, give it away), because I know he enjoys it. And it makes my heart happy to see him happy and excited. Even a little competition is healthy. We are both on our 11th step and I am more motivated to finish mine. Because I know he has a due date of September 15, why not get mine done before him? Little things that push me to try to better myself every day. And the more I thought about it, I started to understand where my feelings of support come from. Since the beginning, Jeffrey has been nothing but supportive of me in anything I want to do.

When I started my dog group, I didn’t invite him to it at first because I thought it would annoy him. And when he found out about it, I think he was a little shocked because I hadn’t told him about it. I post some pretty weird stuff in there – I dress up the dogs, we wear party hats and sing songs – talk about embarrassing, right?

But, I added him to the group anyway and as we’ve grown, he’s been so encouraging and helpful. He reminded me on Saturday that I hadn’t written a blog yet that day! What that means is that he actually takes the time to read what I write and that feels good. (I’ll quiz him later to see if he caught this one). And then on Sunday, he participated in our Waggle TV Facebook Live event. He was interacting with viewers, answering questions, being a camera man when necessary, and most importantly a Puppy Daddy the whole time. He even put on Sally’s flower headband for us to have a laugh.

He may very well have been miserable the whole time, but if he was, he certainly didn’t show it. Now, I don’t care how weird I look, and what he sees, in my group because even if I didn’t realize it and was embarrassed of it before, I think he’s always known that’s who I am. And it just reinforces in me that feeling of goodness for two reasons. 1. It’s okay to be me. 2. No matter how goofy I look, he’s willing to do it right alongside me.

My Unsolicited Advice for the day? Couples don’t have to do everything together, or even like everything, but I wholeheartedly believe we must support each other in everything we do.

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