I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. I hate resolutions. I feel they put too much pressure on me and then I’ll fail and hate myself even more. So, I make personal goals for the new year. I have a list of things I want to do in the next 12 months and then I cross them off, as I do them. Then, I see real progress. Crossing something off a list gives me a momentary bump in my self-confidence. Yay me! I did accomplish something.
I found myself in a strange place this New Year’s Eve. I looked at my parents, during our traditional dinner out and I had this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I started thinking, “What if this is the last New Year’s Eve they are here to eat dinner with us?” Being in their 80’s and having some medical issues for the last 10 years or so, it really is a distinct possibility. Then, I looked at my 21-year-old son and thought, “Wait a minute….what if he isn’t here next year?” Which, of course, led to me turning that question on my husband and then myself.
It’s true, isn’t it? We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life. Only that life happens. Shit happens. Bad things happen. Every. Single. Day. To every single one of us. In life, the bad comes with the good. The light always turns to dark. In order to live a happy and full life, we have to accept that. And then I realized, that my list needs to be more than a “2016 Goals” list. It has to be “Allison’s Life Goals” list. (Not a bucket list. I hate that term.) For some strange reason, sitting there in a nice restaurant on the last day of what was a very trying year, among the dinner rolls and salad, I had an epiphany of sorts… we are all running out of time. Every day. Every minute.
I mean this is common sense, right? At least it should be. But, with all my issues and my mental illness, it is a concept that is very difficult for my brain to process. I fret about every step I take. I get knots in my stomach at missing keys and dirty dishes. I live my life in a constant state of worry, guilt, regret, and sadness. What a waste of precious time. One of my personal development goals this year is to try to find the color in my days of black and white. Try to embrace the happy and push away the sad. This will be a big undertaking, but I feel up to the task.
I’m not saying that I’m going to overcome my diseases—quite the contrary. I know they will always be there, but maybe I can accept them a bit more. Maybe I can find a silver lining in the darkness. Maybe if I find it enough, it will start to penetrate and permeate into my being. I’m running out of time, and damn it, I have too much left to do. If I’m here next year, then I can celebrate what I did accomplish in 2016. If I’m not, I want people to look back and know I did my best every single day to live a good, full life. And that I refused to let the darkness win.