New Year, New Me
(And Why I Won’t Be Making New Year’s Resolutions)
Happy New Year! I hope that you had a fun New Year’s Eve and are enjoying 2018 so far.
I, along with so many others, often see in the New Year with a list of resolutions for the months ahead. What I shall do more of, what I should do less of. Things to start or to stop. This year, however, such a list is nowhere in sight.
2017 taught me a few key things:
You would think that having been diagnosed with a chronic illness in 2004 I would have realised that you should not take your health for granted. Having plateaued for several years and seemingly having gone into remission when I was pregnant, nobody was more surprised by the deterioration in my health last year than me. Being formally diagnosed as having reduced function in my upper limbs may not have the detrimental impact that others suffer from day in and day out, but it was a blunt reminder of how physically damaging Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and associated Chronic Pain can be. I naively thought that waking every day in pain was not something that would happen to me in my mid-thirties, and it has taken me some time to make peace with it.
Nothing is more important than family. Close family, slightly more removed family, chosen family of close friends. People who support you no matter what. People who you can turn to with anything. Sometimes there is so much power in a simple “hello”, a smile or a hug. A telephone call, a catch up, a trip out. Sometimes you can be looking for support and friendship, and fail to notice that it is right there under your nose.
That brings me on to friendships. People do come and go but sometimes people are there all along. You just have to see them. Pick up the phone or drop them an email. Similarly, sometimes people are not there for you. That’s ok. Life would be dull if everyone looked at it in the same way. As I reached my mid-thirties I came to realise that you can make attempts to see people but sometimes you need to let go of expecting that every arrangement will work. There were many occasions when I felt quite isolated in 2017, but if I’d actually opened my eyes and made a little effort I’d have noticed the support that was right there, if not physically then on the other end of a telephone. Blogging has helped in that respect too. There really is such an amazing community online. Someone commented recently that it’s like a village, and that’s exactly how it feels. That surprised me during the course of the year, but in a lovely and very welcome way.
My weight has played constantly on my mind for the past couple of years. When I was running it started to decrease. When the pounding on pavements seemed to make my joints a little worse and fatigue hung over my days like a grey cloud those kilos reappeared. 2017 was the year that I made peace with this. There’s far more to worry about right now than what’s happening to my waistline, and although others offer their opinions from time to time, as long as my doctors are happy then I’m satisfied.
5. New beginnings
Perhaps the most important point. These can start on any day of the year. We always have 365 days of blank pages ahead of us, and the best time to define how we spend them isn’t always the first of January. For me, putting some measures in place in the autumn months last year actually worked very well. As James R. Sherman so eloquently puts it: “You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand new ending”. I’m not looking at an ending just yet (!) but the course of how I live my life is in my hands and I woke up to that more than ever before Christmas.
So, for 2018, I’m not making New Year’s resolutions. My expectations are that I will continue with more of the same. I am learning to pace myself better with my new reduced energy levels and I am focusing on the people who are important to me. I am building in quality family time. I am planning better than ever before. I hope that with these measures in place I will have an extremely good year but, if it ever appears to be going a little off track, I know that I can turn over a brand new page and press reset at any time.
What about you? Do you make New Year’s resolutions?
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