It's the first day of a shiny new year. The day when all the mistakes of the previous year are behind us and anything seems possible. By now at least a month of partying has been put to bed, its memories tucked away on Instagram. My liver and credit card are holding hands and whispering ‘Thank God. We're safe now’. The fun is over and as we face that icy, unforgiving bitch, January, it's hard not to wonder why a new year is something to celebrate when the fête is finie. A beginning that doesn’t technically require us to actually start anything new. Good news if you just need a mental boost, to symbolically wipe the slate clean of all the injuries and injustices of 2015 while you write the wrong year on your cheques for the next month. This is your holiday. You don’t have to change. That’s the gift of New Year's. It’s up to you.
For others a new year means waking up January 1st in last night’s makeup and one shoe, rubbing mascara from your eyes, looking in the mirror and making RESOLUTIONS. Because a new year means a new you. One where you can get fit, find love, take that improv class, quit day drinking, start day drinking, stop using LOL, finally make that enemies list, start being nice to the cat. Look, I don't know what you're into. The point is Anything is Possible.
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Many start the year with big plans for major changes only to find themselves failing by February. So why bother with resolutions? Aren’t they just setting us up for failure? Maybe. But giving voice to our hopes and dreams is an important step to realizing them. A new year is a time to reflect on what’s positive in our lives and what needs improving. Even if we never keep our pledges, the act of making them means we take stock, examine what we like and don’t like. We get to know ourselves a little better and identify what's working and what needs changing.
In chronic progressive illness the measuring of time is tricky business. By definition we're supposed to, well, progress. Each calendar year is marked by diagnoses, tests, treatment régimes and abilities gradually lost. Ticking time can be a scary contemplation. Resolving to regrow myelin is more futile than resolving to lose those last five pounds. There are certain things over which we simply have no control.
So this year I am choosing simple goals. Despite disease and in my never ending pursuit of the best possible life, I will reflect on what it is I love to do, and figure out how I can do more of it. I will think about the people who lift me up and make me laugh and then commit to spending more time with them. I will pay attention to what makes me feel crappy and do my best to avoid those things. With hope and confetti still in the air, today at least, I will say fuck fear because dwelling on the worst case scenario is a waste of my imagination.
Embrace unrelenting optimism.
Happy New Year, Trippers.
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