I loved this New Year’s Post I wrote last year entitled Why I Told My New Year’s Resolutions to Suck It! I had three goals for 2014, and I attacked them with the ferocity of a lioness protecting her cubs.
My goals were simple. I focused on what made me happy — I mean really happy — and decided to do more of that. And I realized a New Year wasn’t about changing me — losing five pounds or quitting sugar or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It was about planning for what I wanted to do more of in the upcoming year.
It was so simple.
- Focus on experiences with my family.
- Spend time with friends — no matter where they live.
- Write more.
And I killed it. I accomplished these goals and became a better person, parent and writer because of it.
2015, not so much.
Most of this past year centered on two things: being sick or trying to get back to my normal after being sick.
In March, I contracted a rare, parasitic eye disease that permanently altered my vision. For several months, I was confined to my bedroom due to severe light sensitivity and pain associated with corneal swelling. I quit my freelancing gigs and resigned from my volunteer positions. My mother moved in with my family since I was too weak to care for my three daughters.
In July, I began feeling better, but it was still several months before I completed my pharmaceutical regimen and could drive again. Two days before Thanksgiving, I found out that a special gas-permeable contact lens could help restore my vision, almost to its original state. After several fittings, I am scheduled to pick up my permanent lens on New Year’s Eve. It is still an arduous process since the scarring on my cornea makes it difficult for the lens to stay on my eye, but the potential for sight restoration is within my grasp.
I experienced the most beautiful of highs in 2015 — the love and support from family, friends and a community that embraced us as one of their own. The positive energy carried my tired soul, and I will never forget the help and encouragement I received.
I also absorbed the depths of lows that still haunt me — levels of pain I did not know existed, feelings of isolation and guilt for not being there for my girls. I struggled with finding gratitude. I combated depression on a daily basis, and while it won several battles, I will win the war.
What I hate the most, however, is I spent a good portion of the year wishing it away. Wishing the pain was over, wishing I no longer needed medicine, wishing I could restore the vision in my eye. Each and every time something bad happened, I blamed it on the year.
We put my dog down, and it was because this year sucked. House repairs were because 2015 just wasn’t my year. I backed into my husband’s car….well, of course I was blaming that on my bad luck year.
I just wanted to feel like myself again, and the harder I tried, the worse things went for me. I wanted to go back to the way things were before I was ill.
And that’s when it hit me. I will never be the same person I was in 2014, because 2015 changed me. It changed me hard.
I now understand what it’s like to miss out on important events with my family and friends, and I intend to take advantage of every opportunity I can. This year I will focus on experiences with my family.
I understand pain and depression and fear, and instead of falling victim to it, I want to help others when facing a similar situation. I will spend more quality time with friends, particularly in their time of need.
I understand fighting a rare disease and the importance of research and education, so instead of asking why me, I want to be a conduit of information for these issues. I will write more.
I no longer want to go back to my normal. I want to be better. And the only way to do that is to do more of what I love.
So, my New Year’s resolutions aren’t really so new after all. In fact, they aren’t even resolutions. It’s my blueprint for enjoying 2016.
Because life is for living. And my only New Year’s resolution is to live it.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!