Are you thinking we haven’t even made it through Christmas and it would appear I already have one foot in 2018? I assure you both of my feet are peacefully and firmly planted in today. Part of my feeling peaceful in today is knowing that I’m on a path of my choice. In order to keep my path generally flowing in the anticipated direction I like to create a New Year goal list for the upcoming year. Goal setting has actually been shown to increase happiness and if you don’t believe me ;), check it out. Before I was ill my goal list had four columns: personal, family, relationship and general, which included things like work, education, and animal care stuff. As the year would pass I gained satisfaction checking off my accomplishments, knowing I was staying on some sort of track, which would eventually lead me to my desired destination. And then this illness came knocking and it looked at my 2014 goal list, threw back its head and laughed one of those deep scary laughs that gives you the creeps. So my last list, from 2014, is still pinned to my memory board, half checked off. It’s kinda funny because the ink has faded on so many other things pinned but not that goal list, it looks like it was written yesterday. I promise you I’m not ruminating here… I keep the list because it reminds me of who I was and where I was going but it also lists things like keep doing yoga, and that’s a great goal and reminder. So I guess that brings us right back to today, right now. Today my goals are different, my abilities are different, and my relationships are different, but those differences aren’t a bookend, they’re simply an unexpected fork in the road.
I thought what better way to not only hold myself accountable, but also begin planning for a peaceful and positive 2018 than to post my goals here. This year there aren’t four columns filled with lists of desired achievements, there are simply four goals, but someday, when I’m better able to, I hope to return back to four columns filled with lists and somewhere near where I left off in 2014.
My 2018 Goal Track:
- Keep doing that yoga! Just so we are clear I’m not standing on my head doing anything fancy pancy. I just do simple stretches in bed from a Rodney Yee DVD. I cannot do yoga every day but my aim is to do it as often as I’m able, and that ability varies from day to day. Too much yoga and it brings on extreme pain, but if I do gentle yoga, little bit by little bit, I seem to tolerate it okay and find it to be very nourishing to my general wellbeing.
- Keep providing my brain with the complete relaxation of meditating. I never understand why I skip days…it literally can take three minutes! C’mon no excuses,
butwhat about my … no, like none! My latest excuse was that the Calm app, which I had fallen in love with started charging for my most cherished meditation. Thankfully my therapist helped me navigate the Aura app, where all three minute mediations are still free. That’ll work! And again…three minutes, 0 excuses.
- My third goal is to continue to make daily positive memories by painting and writing this blog. I wish I could eloquently put into words how uplifting this creativity journey has been this year. I’ve always been very logically minded and goal oriented, focused and determined to accomplish career goals. Painting and writing were something I was going to do when I had time, but never seemed to have the time to spare. Ah life you are a funny little jokester aren’t you, now I have nothing but time. When I look back through my little paintings from 2017 they make me smile, nearly every day last year I made a memory that when I choose to reflect upon brings me happiness. When you have a chronic illness it’s pretty difficult to say that and I feel pretty blessed to have those special-to-me memories.
- And lastly, this is something I haven’t done this year, or really ever before. It’s something I am only beginning to recognize and theorize on so it will require baby steps. What is it you’re wondering? Well, I’m going to stop worrying about proving my illness to anyone. When you have an illness with no biomarker or test, that even some less-informed or less-educated doctors are skeptical of, you feel this perhaps subconscious need to prove to anyone that questions you that you really are sick. I know I’m not alone in this I’ve watched the interactions on social media amongst the chronic illness community. The thing is, it’s not our fault we feel this way. Normally when people are sick they go to the doctor, the doctor runs a test, tells them what they have and gives them a plan of action. For us, this is rarely the case. We feel awful, we go to the doctor, the doctors shrug their shoulders, provide us anti-depressants because
apparently they cure everything or the kickbacks are AMAZingthey aren’t sure what to do. We go home to our families, our friends, and everyone else we are accountable to and have to tell them there’s nothing the doctor can find wrong, but that we have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (in the US) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (outside the US) and seriously nine times out of 10 they say, “Oh yeah I get tired too.” And in some cases, like mine, you go to 29 different health care professionals because something is definitely wrong. And because you perhaps have crappy health insurance and lack the funds to see the few elite who actually treat this illness you see doctors who , I’m sorry but it’s true for merefuse to look outside the box. You hand them research, you tell them your symptoms, you ask why did you pass out in the shower and they give you the shoulder shrug and say, “Let me know if something changes.” So maybe, just maybe, that’s why we feel this need to prove ourselves, because so many of us are not being validated. Again, I’m still recognizing it and theorizing on it, so maybe I’ll touch on this again in another blog. For now, for today, for 2018 I’m just going to be me, me with nothing to prove, which deep down is a very happy, easy going, loving person.
And that’s it folks! If you are still reading, thank you! I genuinely appreciate that you took time out of your day and gave this post a read. You could have done really anything with those moments, so I thank you for spending them here. If you feel up to sharing, what are some of your New Year’s goals? Anything new or different this year? You’re probably thinking…seriously girl I have to get through Christmas first! Wishing you the happiest, healthiest 2018 that is possible for you!
A few more of my little paintings as I follow along with World Watercolor Group’s daily prompt on Instagram. This month has been a holiday theme and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. All skill levels are welcome so feel free to stop on by or hashtag #WorldWatercolorGroup to your watercolor art.