In January 2008, my brother was deployed to Afghanastan for 4 months. I wrote this email on April 30, 2008 to my friends… It’s old, but I thought it was worth sharing…
I feel as though I should start this with… Hello, my name is KP. It’s been 120 days since my last bite of chocolate…
However, as most of you know, I WILLINGLY and PURPOSEFULLY gave up chocolate (and all sweets/desserts/candy) on January 2 of this year in support of my brother in the military. Chris went to Afghanastan right after Christmas, and I decided that if he was going to give up his time with his family as part of his duty to our country, I could give up something that I love as a show of support. So, when he landed in Afghanastan, I stopped eating my beloved, much sought after, heavenly, satisfying chocolate. He was expected to begin his trip home on May 5, and I planned to have my first bite of chocolate as soon as his butt hit the airplane seat. As good fortune would have it, he left Afghanastan this morning at 9:30. His replacement came early, and he was allowed to ship out 5 days early. Yay! So, I thought I would share with you all some of the many insights that I have come upon during my 120 day journey through HELL!
I’ve learned that:
- A promise is very easy to make, but really, really hard to keep.
- It’s a whole lot easier to accomplish things when you commit with your heart, instead of your head.
- Sometimes things that seem like really good ideas at the time, don’t feel like really good ideas when you’re trying to execute them.
- Sometimes, even small sacrifices that don’t seem to matter can really make a difference to other people.
- Sometimes, people need to know that you’re on their side, and that you stand behind what they are doing.
- I have always said that I can do anything for 12 weeks… Did you know that 4 months is actually 16 WEEKS!!!
- Giving something up for 4 months is like having 3 years worth of Lent all at once!
- Sometimes, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (oops, I dropped some chocolate on the keyboard – just kidding!J).
- Your true friends are quick to lend a hand when they think you’re doing something worthwhile.
- Your kids really do notice what you do, and every now and then, it’s good to set a GOOD example.
- Being disciplined is really hard work!
- There are a lot of people out there that make incredible sacrifices every day - for us and for others. You really appreciate the selflessness that’s out there when you try to do something outside your comfort level once in a while.
- Sometimes when you work hard to accomplish something good, you actually accomplish something better.
- Making a commitment and keeping it feels really great!
- Life is crazy, and many things are beyond our control. But, if you’ll take control of even one little thing in your life, it can totally change your attitude.
- Believing in your ability to accomplish something is just as important as actually accomplishing it.
- When you are anxiously waiting for something to happen, it seems to take forever.
- However when that event happens a few days earlier than expected… it’s time for a happy dance!
- 120 days without chocolate is a whole lot easier than 125 days without chocolate!
- I now know that I can give up chocolate for 120 days, so I never, ever have to try THAT again!
It’s 1:00p, exactly 3.5 hours since my brother left Afghanastan. I have learned that I can wait a little longer before I have some chocolate. I think I’ll change my motto to ‘I can do anything for 16 weeks.’
Remember…. Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well preserved body… I plan to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, margarita in the other, totally used up and worn out, screaming ‘WOO HOO! WHAT A RIDE!’ – Maxine