Cheers To A New Year
Ending a year is an interesting feeling.. it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend while stretching out your hand to greet a new one. And I, being an extremely nostalgic person, find this quite hard to do. I like clinging to the past and pouring over memories like polaroids in an old shoebox. I find it hard to embrace change and move on to something that MIGHT be better, but nothing is for certain. Each December I grapple with the idea of writing a new combination of numbers and remembering that I am now a year older, as my birthday falls on the 22nd. The only thing to catch me after I leap into the new year is my wedding anniversary on January 2nd—a lovely reminder that I have spent another 365 days with him.
This year I have accomplished several things I can proudly look back on: completing a 5-month long full-home remodel, taking a trip to Oregon, and celebrating 1 year of owning my own business. The road to success has been long and at times impossible. I have cried, given up, questioned my abilities and learned how to pick myself back up. But this year also brings a new challenge, possibly the hardest once I’ve ever had to face. After 5 long years of battling strange illnesses that have baffled doctors and taken a toll on my body, I have finally been diagnosed with a slew of issues that make life truly difficult at times. I have been anticipating a diagnosis for years but finally being given one feels like receiving a crappy Christmas present I already knew was coming, like a pair of plain white socks from Aunt Sue. I have secretly cried 3 out of the 7 nights since that doctor appointment and have been battling with the guilt of wondering, “how could I have let this happen?” and “how could this have been avoided?”
Anyone who has had a serious illness knows the feeling of laying awake at night thinking about life before that first sick day. I often find myself trying to remember a time when I didn’t have excruciating stomach pain or feeling like a zombie, trying to wish myself back to simpler times. After years of failed attempts at this I finally gave in and let myself FEEL. Once again, I cried, I gave up and I eventually learned how to pick myself back up. I taught myself to feel each moment that life has to offer and realize that every day cannot be a perfect rainbow unicorn party—sometimes you have to endure those cloudy days. And this, I have come to understand, is why we are human–why we feel and why we are always going to look for hope in the darkness.
This year I pledge to myself to find the joy in the journey, breathe in the here and now and not be afraid of the change that is destined to come, no matter how tight I close my eyes. This year will be different not because I am overcoming physical turbulence but because I am stronger than my weaknesses. I am not my illness, and this diagnosis does not define me. So cheers to a new year and a new, better way of life.