Facebook is doing this cute new thing where they show you a picture of something you were doing “x years ago today.” When I logged in today it was a picture of the beach in Pattaya, Thailand exactly three years ago.  I had been abroad for a few weeks and had probably been in Thailand for a day or two. Pattaya was my first stop. I remember taking the picture. I even remember some of the comments I got after posting it:

“Is this a real picture?” 

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Oh, yeah. It’s a real picture. I understand the comment, though. Sometimes I have a hard time believing I took it. Sometimes I almost can’t believe that I was ever even there. Man, I was a crazy mo-fo back then. I guess I still am because I’d probably do it all again in half a heartbeat. What an amazing part of my life to look back on.  That place and picture wouldn’t even hold a candle to what was coming for me. The past is such a funny thing, though. And pictures don’t tell the whole story. I rarely look at the photos I took when I was in Thailand. Three years later, I still find myself with a lot of what-ifs.

What if I stayed longer? What if I had never even gone? What if I went somewhere else instead of coming back to the states? What if I went back right now? What if had died there? No really. I thought I was going to die over there more than once. My what-ifs aren’t regret. There isn’t any sadness or sorrow or negativity behind them. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything I won’t have the opportunity for again. My what-ifs just feel really curious. There are so many unanswered questions about what was really going on for me during that time in my life.

And thinking about that time in my life always makes me think about this picture:

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Have you seen this picture? Yeah, that’s my nose. And my finger. Do you see that heart on my fingernail? It was right before Valentine’s Day. I’d just survived the worst, most depressed, upsetting months of my life. I was doing everything in my power to make myself feel okay – tiny nail polish hearts included. Things still weren’t great. I’d been back in the states for 6 months. I felt as if I’d failed miserably at moving to Thailand. I was obsessed with getting back to San Diego. I was 28 and living with my parents. I had to take a job earning 10 bucks an hour working for someone 5 years younger than me. Thinking about these things two years later still makes me cringe a little bit.I was slowly coming out the other side, though. That shitty job got me out of the house and actually turned into something I had fun with.

One night, I took my iPhone into the upstairs bathroom. I took photos. Lots of them. I had joined Fizzle and was bursting with motivation. I had so many ideas pouring out of me all the time. I had a legal pad full 0f blog post topics. I wrote a 32 page guide about how to get over the calorie counting obsession. I stayed up until 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning changing around the design and messing with the CSS of the site and writing program outlines. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the website and my ideas and my life. I published posts and articles and inspiration. I even scheduled a podcast interview with another Fizzle member to talk about it.  I asked people to tell me about what they were going through. I wanted their “Calorie Confessions.” They emailed me. I responded.

And then I just…stopped. I can’t even remember why. Maybe I was waiting for something. Maybe I gave up. Maybe I was scared. Maybe it just didn’t feel right. I deleted everything that was there and put up a “coming soon” page. I really did think it was coming soon at the time. Or at least I thought it was coming “as soon as.” As soon as I lost more weight. As soon as I felt better and wasn’t so depressed. As soon as winter was over. Then as soon as summer was over. As soon as I moved back to San Diego. As soon as…everything. I’ve been through so much since then you’d think it would count as “everything.” Instead, calorieconfessions.com has been sitting there for over 2 years. I know in my fucking gut that my life is in that website somewhere. Somewhere.

I’ve wanted to be a coach and start this thing up for years, long before I even went abroad. The funniest part? Now I have a job that I love. I can’t possibly imagine giving it up but it almost makes me want to do my own thing even more. I want to be a coach and have my own business more than I did when I was working a soul-sucking job for minimum wage. Maybe it’s because I work so closely for someone that is doing what I want to do so well. Maybe I’ve finally gotten to the point where I simply can’t not do it anymore. Maybe I’m finally in a place where I don’t really have anything to lose. Maybe, because I have this job, there is no desperation or neediness around it. It’s become this piece of my life that is just…missing. It isn’t lost. I don’t have to chase it. I know exactly where it is. I just need to pick it up and put it back in it’s place.

The other part of this whole loving your job thing is that, well…you love your job. You know that you would also love your own business, doing your own work. How do you pick one?

Answer: You don’t.

You get to have both for as long as you want. You get to love both. You get to have it all until the time comes when you only want one or the other or something else completely. If you want both forever, that’s okay, too. If you want to quit it all and start over tomorrow – fine. I was giving myself anxiety about a decision that doesn’t even have to be made. This seems to be something I do right before I find myself taking a picture of my life that makes other people ask if this is even real.

So…is it a real picture?

Yup. It’s real. And it’s real fucking beautiful. Just like the rest of the pictures that got you from that moment three years ago to this moment right here.