The Sunny Lifestyle of a Home Journalist

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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If You Fell Off a Treadmil

I read this book called What Alice Forgot a little while ago, and thought it was so good. It was recommended by Janssen on this podcast, and it sounded interesting, so I got it on audible.

Anyways, it's about this 40 year old mom who falls off a treadmill at the gym and immediately forgets everything that happened within the last ten years of her life, including her three children.

But it ends up being a blessing in disguise because, within the last ten years, she's completely changed as a person. Her relationship with her husband, sister and even sweet elderly neighbor has basically been destroyed and her life has become a swirling, complicated mess of divorce and a whole lot of other things she never would have dreamed she would get involved in.

It was super thought provoking, so I thought I'd share a few things about it.

Alice at age 30 is this young, carefree, pregnant newlywed who doesn't have much but drowns her sorrows in chocolate and never, ever exercises. She also hates all social events. (Sounds like my kind of person, actually.) She isn't the skinniest wife around and her hair is sometimes a little crazy, but she doesn't care because she's madly in love with her husband (Nick) and genuinely enjoys life. They just purchased this fixer upper house which they never dream they'll have enough money to actually fix up.  

At age 40, she's bogged down with caring for her three kids, volunteering for every school activity out there and trying to please others. She's stick thin because she works out constantly, and totally avoids anything with sugar in it. Over time, she somehow developed this terrible disdain for her husband who she's about to divorce. But weirdly enough, she has plenty of money, and a perfectly beautiful borderline mansion that's finally been finished because of her husbands promotion and long hours at work.

The book goes through how she's naturally shocked at all of these new changes in her life right after her accident. Who knew so much could go wrong in 10 years? She gradually gets her memory back, and readjusts her life according to what her 30 year old self did and didn't like about it. 

One of the biggest shocks was that she was actually divorcing Nick, the love of her life and the one she can (and must) tell everything to.

A few takeaways:

1- Never stop eating chocolate, or giving your kids chocolate.
2- Never get too busy, or work too much, and make time for the things that are important in life like marriage and true friends and family.
3- Sometimes, we change and grow over time, but our love and our kindness deep down should always stay.
4- Never exercise too much (especially on treadmills).
5- Be fun and spontaneous sometimes. Once in the book, Alice wore her 6 year old's dressup sequin scarf because she thought it was pretty. Her 40 year old self would never have touched it, but her younger, more bubbly self thought it was cute.
6- Never become a sour, boring old person. Life can be hard  and there are definitely obstacles in marriage and parenting and other things, but we can still stay sweet (and fun), no matter what comes our way.
7- Money doesn't make you happy. And you can have the biggest, most perfect house on the block, but that won't save your marriage or your relationships, or give you what you really want in life. (Good thing, cause we'll probably be living in a tiny apartment and scrimping for at least the next year.)
8- "Never forget how in love you are today. It will get you through all your tomorrows." That's what one of the ladies at my bridal shower wrote in my advice journal, and it's so true! I also liked how, at the end of the book, Nick was so thankful that Alice lost her memory, because he knew that's what brought them back together. But it shouldn't take a serious head injury for us to remember what things were like in the beginning. 
9- "It was so good to find that their relationship could keep on changing; finding new edges. Early love is exciting and exhilarating; it's light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after you've hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you've seen the worst and the best, that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves it's own word."

I wouldn't really recommend this book because it does have some language and a few less than kid-friendly references, but I really liked the ideas in it and the way it made you think. I learned a lot that can be applied to my place in life right now.

Anyways, I said all that to say that if you fell off a treadmill and lost all your memory for the last ten years, what would your old self think of your new self, and the progress you've made? Who knows where I'll be in ten years, but I do know that I identified with the old Alice to an almost scary degree, so I hope I don't end up where the new Alice did. 

But with God's help, I know I won't. Even though my love is young and I'm young, we're beginning something huge and amazing that will just have to last a lifetime.


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