60 Months to the World

At 508 pounds, I can barely wander from my couch. I want to wander the world.

Charlotte’s Web, October 2017. I’m trying to figure out a fat joke involving myself and the word pig, but I figure I should be kind to myself.

One of my favorite books is Gayle Forman’s Just One Day. In a lot of ways, it feels like the adventure I should have had after high school.

The main character, Allyson, ditches a Royal Shakespeare outing to watch a street troupe perform. She becomes enamored with one of the actors and, through a bit of blind luck, runs in to him on her way home, where he persuades her to take a trip to Paris. They spend a whirlwind day together in Paris. A magical day. Just one day.

That book is how I imagined spending my 20s. I was supposed to be unattached, a free spirit, full of wanderlust, imbued with an adventurous spirit. I didn’t have responsibilities or anybody to stay behind for. I could just go.

Me and Laurie Halse Anderson, 2017. Despite how horrible I look, this was actually a very good day; a dream come true.

Unfortunately, that adventurous spirit didn’t infect my wallet with money. And Wanderlust + Poverty = Depression. Me + Depression = Eating more + Moving less.

And we all know what that equals. I couldn’t be an adventurous soul if I wanted to, now.

But you know that I’m trying to change that.

I’m on my third day into using MyFitnessPal. Into this journey into losing weight, becoming healthier, and getting to live out the adventures I should have already had — being that carefree, wanderlusting soul.

If you’re new here, and you think this sounds suspiciously like an Elizabeth Gilbert book, we’ve already covered that.

But this is me trying to make it something bigger, something more than just 100 days of logging my food into a fitness app. This also has to be about what comes after.

This is all Shaunta’s idea, of course.

Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, 2016. I’m the one who’s always out of breath.

Someways back ago, I stopped dreaming big. I had noticed with painful clarity, that no matter how much I worked, no matter how many times I woke up and dragged myself through the day, that things weren’t getting better. None of my dreams were coming true. So I stopped dreaming.

My dreams weren’t doing me any good anyway. And I had grown old. Surely it was time to put the dreams away and prepare myself for dreary adulthood.

But Shaunta’s enthusiasm is infectious. And I really liked the sound of the idea that she came up with.

This is a wildest dream kind of thing. I love the idea of it, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I don’t know if it’s possible. But I figure that I can open myself to trust again, and move myself to do the requisite work.

It’s time to dream of something bigger again.

The Dream

Within the next five years, I want to bridge the gap between my ideal self and my real self.

What does that mean, exactly?

I want to lose the weight. Enough weight that I can move around in my body. Enough weight that I can see a person worth being in the mirror. I don’t know what that number is. I’m just going by gut feeling with this one.

Okay, sorry for that pun.

But I don’t just want the body. I want the life.

Five years from now, I want to stand in front of the departures board at Reno International Airport. I want to close my eyes and point at a destination. And then I want to board the next plane there.

And keep doing that for the next six months.

Christmas 2010. The ugly beginning of the downhill slide.

The Plan

Physically, I want to keep working on losing the weight. That means keeping up with the MyFitnessPal diet, getting the weight loss surgery, and all of that Medical stuff.

I’m also going to start saving money. Starting with this May cycle, I am going to move everything I earn from the Medium Partner Program into either a savings account or some kind of investment — I’ll have to talk to someone much smarter than me in money matters to figure out what’s safest and will have a good return.

I’ll also accept any PayPal/Kofi donations. As much as it chafes against the way I was brought up, I am a proud student of the Amanda Palmer School of Art. I am not above holding out my hat.

This will be my travel fund. Like with my diet, my readers will have full access to these numbers. You’ll get to watch the fund grow. You’ll hold me accountable and, hopefully, keep me from dropping $20,000 on ice cream.

I’ll use this for stuff like renewing my passport. Maybe in the next few years, once I get down to size, I’ll also dip into this fun to go to different writing conventions, like BEA or SCBWI-LA.

But I’ll be saving the lion’s share of it for June 1, 2023, and the months that follow.

As Gayle Forman wrote:

C’est courageux d’aller dans l’inconnu.
It is courageous to go into the unknown.

It’s time to throw myself onto the trade winds.

Come along with me!


Zach J. Payne writes poetry, plays, and fiction for young adults. He’s the #2 Ninja Writer, helping new writers find their voice and their tribe.You can find him on Twitter and MyFitnessPal.

If you’d like to support me in my writing or in this adventure, you can contribute to my paypal.

Like what you read? Give Zach J. Payne a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.