Blog Post Day 98: The Parable of the Sweatpants
That indistinct blob at the bottom of the pic are the aforementioned sweat pants.
About six years ago I “inherited” a pair of sweatpants from my mother. While I regularly raid my mom’s jewelry chest when I visit her, we don’t regularly swap clothes as our tastes are vastly different. This was, however, a special circumstance. I was in a rehabilitation hospital learning to walk again after a debilitating bout of pneumonia that had left me bedridden with atrophying muscles for several weeks. My family had bought me several pairs of gym pants to wear for my therapy sessions but the fabric made them too difficult for me to pull on myself with my limited muscle movement. So my mom gave me her pants, which fit perfectly and had the right amount of friction for me to be able to wriggle into them even from a mostly prone or sitting position.
Over the past year and a half as I’ve lost more and more weight, the pants have started to fit less and less well. These days they look downright ginormous, and I’m constantly tripping over the hems now that my thinning hips have made the pants legs way too long for me. Still, like clockwork, I pull them on and head out the door each Saturday morning to browse the farmer’s market and do other errands. I have other stretchy, Saturday-morning-friendly pants, but these are my favorites. They have pockets. And I admit to grinning wildly as I have to pull the drawstring tighter and tighter. Who cares if they no longer fit and, in fact, have become wildly unflattering? I’m used to them, they’re comfortable, and they’re a significant reminder of how far I’ve come.
The thing is, however, that I don’t need them for any of those reasons. I have other comfortable pants. A quick look in the mirror can affirm to me that I’m on the right track with my weight loss program, and I gave back my wheelchair, and got rid of my walker and my cane a long long time ago.
As I was tripping over the hems once again—while making some astounding disco dance moves to Play That Funky Music, I might add—I thought, Hmmm, what else in my life is like these sweatpants? What attitudes or behaviors or ways of thinking no longer fit the person I am today, but are still hanging around because they’re comfortable? Because I’m used to them, and because I can hide behind them? Sure these old modes trip me up occasionally, but isn’t that a small price to pay for the comfort of the familiar?
*Seems to me Resurrection Sunday’s a great day to shake off those old attitudes, really take a look at who we are now, today, and then walk as the person we are, rather than the person we used to be.