So why? Why not?

Last week the Weight Watchers leader asked what our “why” was. As in, why do you want to lose weight, why are you sitting in this chair every week? I tried answering the question, which as I talked made me realize I no longer had a why. Initially, I wanted to feel and look better and though I’m not near my target weight, to a great extent I achieved both those things.

My weight loss progress was derailed by the freak car accident my husband and I got into at the beginning of August. Everyone is OK, but the severity of “What could have been” has haunted me. It changed my perspective on everything. I’m struggling with the same issues I had before the accident, only now they all seems so trivial.

Every aspect of my life was permeated by the incident: Why do I blog? Why do I write a column? Why do I swim? Why do I garden? Why do I scrapbook? Why do I hang my laundry outside? Why do I cook new recipes? Why do I vacuum? (oh yeah, I don’t vacuum). I know some of those questions seem ridiculous, because they are tasks necessary to maintain a standard of living, but answering the question feels imperative to me right now, even for the mundane.

One of the things I asked myself after the smoke of the accident cleared was, “Did I cherish my husband enough?” I almost lost him that day, and there is no earthly reason that I didn’t. Guardian angels were involved. I saw one, though it took me two days to figure out who the stranger was that saved me. The one no one saw but me, as he intervened and flung me out of the way, and turned off the car.

My blue mood was heightened by my recent MS exacerbation which I believe was triggered by the trauma of the accident. Though I’ve improved, the residuals are extreme for me. I don’t have the energy I had during the summer, I can’t walk a distance without my leg becoming a dead weight, I don’t last long gardening. I was rocking my summer, I felt gypped out of a satisfying end.

Finding a why is integral to my healing both inside and out. My friend told me she pictures me walking distances again. But can I picture it? I came to one vital conclusion over the weekend: I sit in the WW chair every week because I need to at least maintain the weight loss I already accomplished. Then Monday morning, with the question of my whys still weighing on my mind, the answer came to me: I had to prove to myself that I could do it. I can achieve a weight loss goal, I am the master of my own mouth and appetite, I can do more with of my writing, I can vacuum.

The possibilities opened up as I pondered the significance of this new why. I love being a columnist no matter the scale. I wrote a book and it’s essentially finished if I would just let it go out into the universe. I have good friends, a decent social life, and a wonderful family. I’m excited for my husband to retire soon so we can start a new adventure in our marriage. I just need to reach out and grab life by the coattails, even if it is just vacuuming (which my husband has promised to do after he retires).

So why? I guess the answer is simply Why not?

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her blog on her website, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh,” or twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is available every week at under the Life section.