I did not do most of the things I should have done last year, the things I knew would nurture me, balance me, hold me upright and help me grow. I did not read enough, paint enough, get quiet enough to hear, listen to enough beautiful music, spend time in nature, or indulge myself enough with the touch and affection of those I love most.
I spent far too much time on screens, watching shows and surfing Facebook and making my mind grow numb and passive and lethargic.
I admit, the tendency to continue is rather strong. It's easy and I don't feel well most of the time. Chronic illness makes life challenging in ways I never anticipated. I never thought, as a germaphobic teenager, that it would become difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed, to shower, to brush my teeth, maintain good hygiene and keep my nightstand tidy or my sheets washed. Some days, even doing these seemingly small tasks exhaust me, and I get frustrated at how pathetic I have become that even doing these small things make me feel I have accomplished something great. I am clean, my area is clean, I have eaten well...
I tend to do things in bursts of energy. I know not where they come from, but try to take advantage of them when they do come my way. I will use my new found strength to grocery shop, or make potato soup, or write a letter with gnarled hands. Family time has become a time to sit together, snuggled under warm blankets, and watching a movie together. I miss the days I could take my children to the park, push them on the swings and catch them as they slid down slides. My youngest baby, Ella Grace, will turn 3 years old in April, and soon enough she will be potty trained, and for the first time in 16 years, we will have no babies in diapers.
The urgency I feel to make the time count, to make it matter somehow, to relish every second of it while I can, becomes more intense, the worse I feel physically.
And yet it is not all bad. The fruit borne from my declining health is increased patience, heightened sensitivity, enlarged empathy, and ironically, more contentment. I worry less. I lean into the pain. I do not fear it any longer. I recognize my worst enemy is fear, not reality. I have always been given enough every day to make it through.
I've never been good with resolutions and I become easily annoyed with myself for not being a more disciplined person, always starting out with great intentions but never following through. This is why I've decided not to resolve this new year, not to make trite promises or goals for myself. I am just going to be more conscious of what's important and do my best with what I am given. I'm letting go of my perfectionistic masochism and embracing whatever that still, small voice inside my heart whispers.
I hope to read more books and spend less time in front of screens. I hope to dig my feet into real earth, soil and sand and ocean waves. I hope to feel the sun against my skin, to absorb vitamin d and reject cancer. I hope to finally lose the horrendous knots in my trapezious muscles. I hope to write more frequently, to develop the disciplines I lack, to recognize the voice of God in my life and to pay attention when I hear it.
I plan to soak longer in hot baths and breathe deeper my precious essential oils, to light more candles and take regular naps, to touch my children affectionately every day, to look at them and smile more. I anticipate more moments snuggling into my husband's warm frame and less chatting about unproductive things. I intend for my face to light up when I see him, regularly, faithfully.
I am planning to chose a word to symbolize my intentions for the year, as I have for the last several years, but I am not rushing. I am waiting for it to come to me softly, gently. It will come.
So for now I wait, with my steaming cup of tea and my gorgeous daughter sleeping nearby, strawberry blonde curls framing her round little face. And I am tolerating my dachshund, Phoebe, who incessantly growls and barks at passersby, because I refuse to shut the curtains.
I know I need the light.