Every year, I used to diligently write out my New Year’s Resolutions. Some years, the list was long, and other years, I decided to take it easy on myself and just put one or two items. One thing is always the same, on December 31, I take a look at what I wrote the year before to see how close I came to whatever my goals were. I took a look today, and interestingly, I only wrote 3 things last year and only one could truly be considered a resolution: 1) 2017 will be a year of change, 2) Change jobs (that’s all I wrote for that) and 3) Year of Yes.
The last sentence simply meant that I had to say yes to everything. Every time someone asked me to do something, I had to say yes, unless there was an excellent reason not to. I love trying new things and sometimes, it’s just about saying yes to an opportunity. That’s something that will be a lifelong goal for me – no is only permitted for things that are unhealthy, plain gross or criminal (no using crack, eating boogers or jumping out of a plane without a parachute), no meat (except chicken or fish – I can’t bear to) or no if there is a more urgent manner. Other than that, nothing is off the table.
The second statement, or the only resolution in the small list, change jobs, did happen. Along with that came a sense of work/life balance that I’ve never had. I now have the time to do things, be places, run errands and see my friends and family. Things that were once ignored are now seen. When I walk down the street, my head isn’t in my iPhone so that I can just answer one more email. I see things that were always there that I have never noticed before. Gone are the deep, dark circles that had a permanent residence under my eyes. I’m more present when I’m with people, and can actually pay attention to them without constantly checking my emails. I never have that harried, pressured feeling that I used to have, and that’s good for my health too. Unemployment was short – ten weeks – but, thoroughly enjoyable. It was busy in a way that I wasn’t expecting, but I did have time to take a course, meet up with friends and catch up on some life things that I had been putting off. I’ve always had the need to experience things and unemployment, weirdly, was something that I wanted to try out.
Last, but not least, the white elephant in the room – 2017 will be a year of change. I weirdly felt this last New Year’s Eve. Other than just the job, there have been sweeping changes that have mostly been out of my control and that some days felt like they may break my heart. When illness falls on people you love, in many ways, it hurts more deeply and profoundly than when it happens to you. When you are the patient, in many ways, you are steering your ship. What you do can help or hurt you. You know exactly how you feel and what you wish people would do for you.
When you are the observer and sometime care giver, it’s a different case. You have to learn everything without a manual. You become adept at things that you probably never wanted to learn. You have to accept things for what they are, and give yourself time to get to the point of acceptance. Like the patient, your life changes in ways that you never wanted, but unlike the patient, you have to step aside and realize that you aren’t the important person in the equation – you are a support system that needs to learn how to take care of yourself while putting yourself second. You have to be optimistic enough to know that there will be days that are good, and prepared to know that there will be some days that will be very, very bad where you feel helpless or even worse, hopeless, only to bounce back again. Sometimes knowing that you will feel happy again, you will laugh again and you will get through the worst days does help. So does knowing that you have people that care and support you.
The most important lesson that I’ve learned this year and that I will carry with me forever, is that people don’t always know how important that they are to you. I’ve never been the best at telling people how much they mean to me. I force myself at times, but in general, I don’t do it often enough. It’s so cliche, but you never know what can happen in life and how important of a message this is for someone to hear. I’m going to be kind to myself this year and not bog myself down with too many resolutions, but one thing that I will try to be better at is letting people know what they mean to me and be there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on. Some days, the support that I received was beyond what I was expecting, and I’m very grateful.
Whether I know you or you just drop by to read my little blog, I’m wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy 2018!