For 2016, I see seven visions, and from 2015, I’m carrying over three lessons, all about self-care.
New Year’s resolutions and goals are all well and good. Recapitulations of the past year, also not bad, though a little boring to read if you’re not personally involved in them. Sometimes, though, there’s no need for expository, or explanation. The answer to the question of “how” to get any goal is simple: make a plan, then work the plan. This entry is about neither: the planning and work will happen offline, out of sight, unless I choose to share them.
No, for now, this is simply what I see, and what the achy, vulnerable feeling inside my chest tells me is the point on the horizon I need to tread towards next. The resources to manifest these visions – financial, infrastructural, creative, and human – will all appear only as a consequence of planning the work behind the vision well, and then working it with integrity.
Seven visions, to whit, for 2016, either achieved or in progress by this day a year from now:
- Moving back to the Greater Hamilton Area
- To rescue and adopt a canine companion for Bella
- A nutritious diet that is consistent with compassion for animals
- A completed second fiction novel
- A thriving, profitable referral network (Menagerie, which you’ll be hearing more about soon…)
- A work-life context that balances service with the personal space I need to function and thrive.
- A week long trip away to Paris
The three lessons in self-care that I’m bringing with me from 2015 are:
Mental Self-Care: Late in the fall, I got depressed and moody for absolutely no reason. I hid it well….for a while, but when it grew in intensity and started to impact my work and relationships with other people – and when nothing in my immediate circumstances could explain why – I went to my doctor. Symptoms of a mood disorder, he told me. I’m awaiting the appointment for my psych referral, and in the meantime, I have sat with counselors and have brought back strategies that have helped me stay chill in the past. I meditate daily once again, I journal, I practice gratitude. Some days, the symptoms return, despite these efforts, and it’s just a matter of riding them out. Embracing my introversion and keeping to myself has proven effective (even if it’s made me slightly unpopular). Until I get a formal medical diagnosis, I’m drawing no other conclusions, just that this is a thing I now have to monitor, on par with my weight, diet, and exercise.
I have supported mental health initiatives such as Bell’s “Let’s Talk” to take the stigma out of mental illness through public conversation, and now that I may have one myself – indeed, it’s possible I’ve had this for a long time, but didn’t recognize it for what it was – I will walk my own talk and share in the hopes of helping others coming to the same realization. That starts, I suppose, with this open disclosure.
Physical Self-Care: I’m now 45 pounds over my optimal weight, according to my last physical at the start of September. What started out as foot pain from wearing bad slippers and shoes led to me stopping going to the gym on a regular basis. It happened so fast that I didn’t even see it. With better shoes and a new gym membership that lets me exercise 24/7, I will be making regular workouts a priority on par with client work.
Creative Self-Care: I am now five years overdue on “Overlife”. The book’s undergone so many revisions and reboots that every time I work on it, a part of me is waiting for that reset button to click off yet again. This time, I have the elements in place, but I’m noticing that I am out of practice with my artistry, and there is a spillover effect into my ghostwriting and editing. Similar to my physical health, I let a small week-long lapse from my story turn into a months-long absence. Moving forward, I am making time in my regular schedule for storytelling.
2015 was supposed to have been my year. It did not disappoint, but it was just the beginning. There’s so much more to come in 2016. Even so, the whole point of celebrating this arbitrary holiday, for many people, is the reminder that we start again, no matter where we are, no matter how final our circumstances may be. If you’re around to witness the holiday, it’s not the end. If you haven’t gotten or created everything you wanted to get or create, it’s not the end. If you screwed up somehow in 2015, it’s not the end. As the saying goes, “every saint has a past; every sinner a future”. As long as there is life, there is possibility, and thus, always another turn at the game.
Remember that today and tomorrow, when, from all of our different walks of life, we all start again.