Being chronically ill makes life unpredictable, that in combination with the unpredictability of every day life is enough to send this control freak into panic. Every year, people look at the new year as an opportunity to begin a new lease on life; resolutions are coupled with promises, goals are set, change is promised…the whole shebang! Likely, at least for me, those things last a day and I’m back to my old ways. If I’m being honest, sometimes hearing these resolutions and setting them can upset me.
“I want to lose weight” – I’d really like to gain or at least sustain and maintain my weight
“I want to stop drinking so much” – I’d really like to be able to drink, not alcoholic but just enough to stay hydrated.
“I’ll work out more” – seriously?
I can grasp at my attempts for resolutions. I can make them until I’m blue in the face if we’re
being honest; but when I fail at keeping up with those resolutions due to circumstances beyond my control the guilt overwhelms me. So I began a new tradition, one that makes me happy and is attainable. Instead of making a resolution, I choose a word to help me navigate the year. Think of it as a pair of glasses, this word becomes my glasses and I do my best to view the world and my circumstances through the eyes of this word. For 2017 I chose the word acceptance.I’m choosing to accept my circumstances, and learn to live with them instead of disputing them and fighting against them. I will accept my abilities and accept the things that I struggle with. I will accept myself, my body, my conditions, my emotions. I will accept my thoughts and opinions. I will accept my reality instead of comparing it to what I’d like it to be. I will accept that my dreams may not be attainable right now, but have faith that they will be attainable in the future. I will accept the people that make an effort to be in my life, and accept those that don’t feel I have a place in theirs. I will accept the reality I face, the experiences I endure, the pain I feel, the limitations I am held back by. I will accept and endure the emotions I feel as opposed to disputing them. I will accept that God’s plan for me is different than those of my peers. I will accept that I am still important despite the detour my illnesses force me to take. I will accept that some of the goals I make will not be attained, and I will accept and allow myself to mourn and grieve that. I will accept that my life is carried out in a manner than the status quo states is wrong. I will accept myself, as I am.
Now don’t confuse this theme of acceptance with the notion of settling. I will not settle for anything less than I deserve, or anything less than I want for myself. I will not accept the standards people hold me to, regardless of how low or high those may be. I will not accept or allow my limitations to be a permanent reality. I will not accept the mistreatment and hurtful thoughts and words I may face. I will not accept the negative opinions of those who do not understand my values and morals. I will not accept the idea that I am any less worthy than a healthy human being. I will not accept the notion that my illnesses make me a lesser human. I refuse to accept the thought that a hurdle is too big to overcome, or that a setback is permanent, or that a mountain is too big to climb. I will not accept negative opinions of my actions and my beings by people who underestimate me and my abilities. I will not accept the idea that I am less, that I am incapable, that I am a failure. I will not accept anyone who doubts or gives up on me.
The key in all of this is to find a word that empowers you, a word that encourages you when things get tough or the doubtful attitude surrounds you. It’s a word that is important to you, a word that will guide you through the things that you find difficult. There is no need for empty resolutions, or unrealistic expectations. Choose a word that represents what is important to you, that allows you to unapologetically live and act and attain the goals that you want to achieve. I held myself back in 2016, because I chose to compare instead of accept. I’ve found that the acceptance of your reality and of your circumstances is the key to being free. Be aware of the choices you make, and the potential you possess. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and once you accept that your path is different than that of your peers a whole new world of self-discovery opens up.
Regardless of what word you choose, or the resolutions you list life is what you make of it. It may not always be bright skies and sunshine, but it will not always be grey skies and storms. If anything in the upcoming new year, don’t gage it on the accomplishments you attained or those you did not. If anything at all choose to celebrate the fact that you survived another year, whether that was in and out of the hospital or bedridden at home…you did it. That in itself is pretty badass if you ask me. So keep on keeping on, and may the next 365 days be kind to you and filled with good health, happiness, and endless amounts of love and laughter.
Here’s to another year of finding grace in the good and the hard, and surviving despite the odds stacked against us. Onwards and upwards my friends, Happy 2017!