Friday, April 30, 2010

And then there was 1 Day Left

Just like it was pure coincidence that my trip to Ireland fell on the day I ended my 6 month vegan quest, honest! So is the coincidence that my post about my 7th Grade Science teacher is followed up with dinner with my 7th Grade Algebra teacher who was visiting NYC this weekend. What is not a coincidence is that I have become so much more introspective on my life since going on this vegan quest. I have thought often about where I began to make choices that were not my healthiest - I think about when my discipline was my strongest (and I was my healthiest) and that was while in military school, and when playing on a sports team. No secret here, when part of a group, a disciplined group like sports or the military I excelled. Left to my own devices I gorged on the sweet nectar of health-apathy, and gluttony.

Looking farther back I was relying on that structure (be it 7th Grade Science class, or as a member of a rugby club team) to keep me focused 100% on my veganism. Because even if I began to eat unhealthfully, such as too many fried falafel wraps, I was still regimented in my no animal products. So, not allowing myself to cheat I was quickly brought back to plant-product meals. Had I merely been a vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian then I would have found fish dishes that surely would have become progressively unhealthy like one day Alaskan salmon, the next fried fish and chips, or found a way to start sneaking cheese into everything. My veganism kept the guard rails up to prevent any gutter balls.

Because of the worlds largest, most dynamic, and most intrusive rolodex - Facebook, I connected with my favorite teacher, Ms. O'Hara. Visiting her daughter in NYC we made plans to meet up for a drink. We met after 25 years at Langan's in Times Square where true to form she was shy about ordering a glass of wine in front of me before I assured her that I was perfectly happy with my seltzer and wanted her to drink! Besides, with enough wine in her I might get the dirt on the other faculty at my Jr. High School, or "Middle School," as they call it nowadays. The only inside scoop I got was that Brother Hinger was the sweetest man she knew (Huh??), and that his hobby was wood carving and he made her some intricate wood Christmas ornaments. Who knew?

Well, the first thing I realized about Ms. O'Hara after 25 years is that I am now taller than her! That and she is so much closer in age to me now to make us virtually peers. Almost. I still panicked when discussing years and I tried to determine how many years between 1979 and 1983. I know, I know, but I froze up! I panicked! I choked! And then instead of excusing myself to go to the rest room, I asked permission. Other than that it was a fabulous evening of reminiscing. She still looks great, and is so very nice. Being a vegetarian since the age of 19 she was most interested in my vegan quest, and she also reads the blog regularly. Although she asked me to call her by her first name, and we could easily be great friends and contemporaries (and I hope we do), there was just something disrespectful in my mind about calling this young, cool, smart woman by her first name - I mean she taught me quadratic equations! But after our great evening I am sure to do so moving forward.

We then went to another great bar, O'Brien's, on 46th where I saw some great Irish friends who had not seen me since the quest and were filled with compliments and queries as to when I will be placing a pint of black gold in my hand again.

For dinner her daughter joined us at Red Bamboo. I had the collared greens wrapped in vegan smoked ham rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce. For dinner I had Dante's Cuisine: Black pepper soy beef, fresh mushroom gravy, asparagus, and yellow squash. I was all fantastic!

Being the Eve of my last day of the vegan quest I at first thought to continue my Spartan-like adherence to the Eat to Live playbook. But then I realized, you know, I am not a boxer or a jockey weighing in before a match or race. So, would my very healthy salad and legumes be a bit more nutrient-dense than my very healthy meal at Red Bamboo? Perhaps. But I became less concerned about today's date and more focused on the small immediate goal (getting to 225lbs), and the more important long term goal of living a healthy, enriching lifestyle. I know I came close to my goal of losing 75 lbs in 6 months, and it doesn't matter if I weigh in with a loss of 57.5 lbs, or 58 lbs, or 60 lbs today, because even though I finished strong, my goal of getting down to 225 lbs (as rock solid as it still is) is secondary. My real goal, and I was never sure if I truly believed this in the beginning, was to change my life.

And that I did.


Tommy B. said...

Wow, more blasts from the past. I laughed when I read the part about calling your teacher by her first name. I ran into one of our middle school teachers (Mr. Valentine) shortly after I finished college at a mutual friend's birthday party. He asked me to call him "Mike" - just couldn't do it.

Anyway, let me be the first of many to congratulate you on completing your epic quest. I can honestly say that I knew you would make it. Congratulations and enjoy yourself on the Emerald Isle. You have certainly earned it.

Terrence said...

Thanks Tommy!

Marcie said...

I've been out to lunch with Mrs. Heerema twice and have exchanged several emails and I still just cam't call her "Denna"! You look fantastic...I'm excited about your "new" life!!