January 26, 1985 is when I was married.
Fifteen years later, January 26, 2000 my life was in ruins in so many ways. I was fat, 265 lbs. I was fifteen years older. Three of my children had died. Physically I was a mess as well.
How bad? Well, when I began the long slow road to physical health and started at a gym, I could move between 20 and 40 pounds on the machines, generally whatever the lowest setting was on the weight machines. Walking even a mile was difficult for me.
It has been thirty-three years since January 26, 1985. Fifteen years to disaster. An interregnum. And then rehabilitation.
Now I weigh a good deal less. I can walk fifteen or more miles, with a full backpack over the Appalachian Trail's ups and downs. In so many ways things are so much better.
It came to mind as I read a story on Facebook that wrapped in someone who was looking at a shipwreck in many ways. They were getting divorced, they were older and they had gained a lot of weight.
I reflected on that because I identified with them. I tried to express that, but did so poorly. Got told I was disgusting and fat shaming. The people I was trying to talk to didn't get it. I wasn't shaming the other person -- I had been in their shoes -- and I wasn't claiming sympathy as an excuse to deride them. I had been that person whose world had crashed apart.
But, things are better now. I was lucky enough not to face divorce (though burying three children in the space of five years was terribly hard and the death of so many dreams). I lost the academic career I had been building towards with publications and seminar presentations. If you've been 5'5" and 265 pounds with no muscle tone at all you know I was a mess.
It is a terrible place to be. Yet.
Yet yesterday, January 26, 2018 I was glad to be alive. Today, January 27, 2018 I am glad to be alive. There is so much joy possible. The person I was commenting on seems to see that, I hope that they mean what they wrote.
But it was good for me to look back and see myself in their shoes as well.