I have to admit, I always find New Year celebrations a bit unsettling. After the comfortable familiarity of Christmas, New Year’s Eve feels like it is desperately trying to cling on to the festivity, in denial that the dullness of January lies on the other side. Maybe I’m not such a fan now that the small folk mean taking a lay-in is no longer an option!
I think the real reason I find it uncomfortable is that it naturally makes me think about what’s next – personally, professionally and medically. When you have a chronic illness, thinking about the future can be a little frightening.
I try hard not to let fear rule my life, and by the grace of God, it mostly doesn’t get a look in. But there are times when the years ahead appear full of phantom possibilities rather than happy dreams. I was dismantling the Christmas tree in a quiet moment this week and the nostalgia of looking at the decorations filled me with a sense of foreboding. What state would my body be in the next time I saw this tiny sparkly flamingo? Would there be new complications, new drugs, new pain?
My mind became a bit overcome with dread by the end of the week and I struggled to know how to get out of it. But I did, by choosing to be thankful for the wonderful things in my life. And by choosing to think about the future without limits.
I sat and thought, “What do I want to do with myself?” and considered all the wonderful things I could do this year. Instead of dismissing them immediately, I thought about overcoming the challenges I might face. I began to feel excitement rather than fear.
My mum has this great phrase that I’m going to try and live by a little more: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Because worrying about things that could go wrong is painful, but it’s also a waste of my life.
Here are some things I want to do this year. Not resolutions, but exciting possibilities. I wonder how many I’ll do?:
- Find some regular exercise that will make me stronger.
- Go walking in beautiful, difficult places – see mountains and lakes.
- Write some fiction.
- Add some kick-ass veggie meals to my repertoire.
- More impromptu trips with the kids – planes, trains and automobiles.
And when fear tells me I can’t, I’ll read this post again, as often as I need to!