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?