About six months ago, I was dragging my hefty self down the home stretch of a mile-and-a half walk around the block when my portly, nearly deaf neighbor Art Deco waved me down (that’s not his real name, by the way; his real name is Arthur Deco).
“JACKIE,” he bellowed over the droning of his leaf blower (Art’s got a thing about leaves touching his lawn, so he blows them over to my yard). “YOU TRYIN’ TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT?”
“Geez, Art,” I frowned, putting my index finger up to my mouth. “We don’t need to announce it to the entire neighborhood…”
“I NEED TO DROP A FEW POUNDS, TOO,” he exclaimed, patting his own extended mid-section.
“Great,” I told him. “We can be dieting buddies and help each other out. When I feel the urge to drive out and get a burger and fries, I'll call you first.”
“GREAT!” smiled Art. “I’LL RIDE WITH YOU.”
In the days that followed, I invited him on walks, told him about all the wild and crazy smoothies I was making and clued him in on a senior special the gym I had just joined was offering, but Art wasn’t interested in any of that.
“I’M NOT PAYING FOR SOME FANCY-SCHMANCY GYM,” Art told me one afternoon.
A couple of months passed and Art stopped me on the street again.
“JACKIE, YOU’RE LOSING WEIGHT, SON.”
“Yeah,” I smiled. “That was kind of the idea, Art. Except I thought that you were gonna do this with me.”
“I TRIED THAT SUBWAY DIET FOR A WEEK–YOU KNOW, LIKE THAT JARED GUY,” Art said. “BUT I WOUND UP GAINING TEN POUNDS. TEN POUNDS! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?”
“THAT DOESN’T SOUND RIGHT,” I said, before catching myself. “I mean, that doesn’t sound right.”
“I DON’T KNOW,” Art shook his head. “I HAD ONE SIX-FOOT SUB SANDWICH EVERY DAY FOR LUNCH.”
“Ahhhhhh,” I nodded. “I think I may see the problem. Well, c’mon. We’ll try again. I’ll help…”
“MAYBE AFTER THE FOURTH OF JULY,” he told me. “WE’RE HAVING A BIG COOKOUT WITH THE GRANDKIDS.”
I shrugged and returned home. Things got kind of busy, and I didn’t talk to Art for a couple of months.
“JACKIE,” he smiled. “YOU’RE WASTIN’ AWAY TO NOTHIN’.”
“Yeah, Art,” I told him. “This program I’m on is really working. The sooner we get you started, the sooner you can drop those pounds, too.”
“OH,” exclaimed Art. “IT’S EASIER FOR SOME FOLKS THAN IT IS FOR OTHERS, JACKIE.”
So here I am, 75 pounds down and believing in my own future. What Art doesn’t understand is that this journey isn’t easy for me, isn’t easy for anybody I know. It’s day after day of dedication, of good choices, of hard work.
For people who believe in themselves, the hard road becomes less difficult. For the ones who don’t believe, the difficult road becomes impossible.