on new year’s resolutions

Many people make resolutions at the start of the new year. I do not. If I were to make a resolution, it would be one: stay alive. And even that is not something over which I, nor anyone else, can exert one’s will.

Throughout my life, however, I have made the decision at the start of the new year to learn something new. I have never been one for a bucket list or for doing specific activities in order to feel fulfilled. Instead, I have always thought that whatever I grow or achieve would be what would make me feel good. After all, you take your achievements, your life’s growth, with you wherever you go; I think that is what makes me happy.

After stage IV cancer made its comeback in 2009, however, I learned that I have less control, even over my own self, than I had ever realized. That is a hard lesson to learn, and I am still working on it. Cancer took on such a dominating role in my life, I realized that I needed to consider that while considering all other possibilities for the future. Some people with stage IV cancer find it difficult to plan at all. Yet, I find it such a natural part of being human, that is, planning and looking forward to activities and events, that it is impossible for me to start a new year without embracing a new challenge. It also helps me to tip the balance of planning and living moment to moment toward the planning side. The main difference with cancer is always having, also, to plan for the unexpected and, thus, to avoid disappointments when the plan may need to change. As we go through life, however, many of us face the unexpected and the unwanted; it can make for a crushing blow when certain plans cannot materialize. Yet, I think few people would agree that living life from moment to moment without any plan would echo a vast emptiness. Planning for the immediate or distant future is one of the joys of being human. Besides, sometimes the anticipation, or the journey, means more than the destination.

What, if anything, do you do at the start of the new year to bring the hope of anticipation into your life?

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© 2004–2013 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.

4 responses to “on new year’s resolutions

  1. Betsy Appleton////////Decorah Eagle

    Hello Dear Donna,,,You have hit the nail on the head!! The destination really doesn’t mean much it is the journey and how we ride with it…God Bless you Donna and thanks for your wise head and heart…..betsy/skyla Sweet eagle dreams……Donna

  2. I just love this essay. Initially we imagine that we can’t possibly plan for the future and live it. But what choice do we have? I, like you, like to learn something new every year. And with the stage iv reality it is even more important. Life is filled with ups and downs, challenges and triumphs–it is no different with cancer. You’re just more keenly aware of it. Best to you!

  3. Like you, I feel I am on a journey, and have a plan, but I also know I am in a boat, and sometimes I can steer, and sometimes I cannot. The rudder, while my hope is to control it, does not always behave the way I anticipate it will. There are breezes, wind gusts, currents and undercurrents that guide the boat no matter how much rowing I do, no matter how much I attempt to control that rudder. It is sometimes not a question of IF I will make the turn, but rather, how gently or sharply the turn will be made. In either case, the boat will turn, and I will go with it to destinations unknown to me at the outset of the trip. It matters not if you have a compass, or sextant, the course you chart is not always the course you take. The objective of getting from point A to point B, though seemingly easy, evolves evermore into a surprise that the world is not in alphabetical order and between A and B, you will find F and M and Q and Z. Taking notes and hoping to find your way back again is never possible or practical. You are forever changed by having seen and been to uncharted stops along the way. You cannot fight the current, or tide, or wind, but what you can do is throw your head back, let the sun and wind and rain hit your face and appreciate that you feel it. So, My Captain, take your ride, forget your course, and take the one given. And love…know that love is always a passenger in any boat you have.

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