There is something quite final about this day. Time moving on, holidays coming to a close, another year over.
I wanted to take a little time today to reflect on the year that I have had. It has been really quite astounding when I think about it. We have a tendency to diminish the things we do, at least I know I do, and I feel like it’s something many struggle with. Who am I? I’m just a normal person with normal achievements that don’t mean a whole lot. Except, when I do think about this year and what I’ve done with my time, I am quite proud. And I have all of you to thank for it.
I didn’t know what was going to happen when I started Solis Cancer Community. At the least, I thought I would do some writing, which I always enjoy, and hopefully grow a little in the process. At the most, I hoped that I would help a few people by sharing my experience. I have been able to do both, and I am so incredibly grateful for that. I said it at Christmas, but I want to thank you all again so very much for being here, for reading what I write and responding to what I post. Solis has been so far beyond and so different from what that scared, confused, shocked 28-year-old could have imagined was in store for her while sitting in that surgeon’s office two and a half years ago.
How do we move through the difficult events of our lives? It’s a very hard question to answer because that answer is a little different for everyone. But I think there are some basics I have learned this year:
- Practice gratitude and keep focused on the good in your life (always easier said than done, I know, but practice makes it easier)
- Try and remain positive as much as you can (see the aforementioned gratitude practice)
- Surround yourself with those who bring you strength and joy
- Remove relationships and circumstances from your life that drain your strength and joy
- Dream! Make plans for the future and then act on those plans; little steps forward are still steps
- Cultivate hope wherever you can (I have found that dreaming instills hope, and a little hope can’t help but grow into a lot)
- Be patient and kind to yourself, always
- Look for the reasons, the lessons, the growth, the silver linings; without dark there can be no light, and where there are negatives there must also be positives
I hope that I can continue to build this list with time and wisdom gained. But how to use what I do have here? As we embark on a new year, a new beginning, I want you to take a few minutes to reflect on the year that you have had, the obstacles you have overcome, the ones that you got a start on but need more work. I want you to consciously take note of the good in your life and not shy away from the bad; if something feels bad to look at, if it nags you when you try to look away, it’s a great indication that it needs to be addressed.
This is how we move into the new year with health and happiness, by looking back on what we are proud of, acknowledging what needs more work, and making plans for our next steps forward. This is a magical time of year, full of possibilities and hope. Many of you are currently struggling with your health or have just come out of that struggle, maybe feeling a little lost, a little changed, a little adrift. Or maybe a lot. I remember it well. Make goals for your health and your life, and incorporate as many things from my list above as you can (and any of your own!). Cancer takes so much of our power away. We are told where to be and what to do for so long, and some are even told when they will lose this battle. I encourage you to step into your own power. We may not have control over a lot of the things that happen to us, but we can control what we do afterwards.
Hold space for your hopes and dreams. Actually write them down! Place focus on what needs mending and work towards doing just that, whether within yourself or in connection to someone else. Make a commitment to take at least one big step towards a healthier, happier you this year. While you’re at it, write that step (or steps) down too J These things can all have a profound impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health.
There is indeed something quite final about this day, but if cancer has taught me anything it’s that an ending of one thing is really just the beginning of something new. We can’t know at the outset what that something new is going to be, and from here, from the beginning, it can be terrifying. We get comfortable, we stick to our routines, but those don’t necessarily serve our health or our happiness in the long run. We get stuck in unhealthy loops of negative thinking, we get trapped in damaging emotions, we can’t break away from unhealthy habits, and we stay in a job we don’t like because it feels safer than stepping into the unknown. Sometimes it takes something huge like cancer to shake us, to wake us up, to make us realize that staying where we are and never achieving the health or happiness that we desire is way scarier than giving going for it a try.
I wanted to share a part of something I wrote last Christmas. I think it sums up my hopes for this past year and my dreams for the future quite well.
“I thought back to last year, sitting in almost the exact same seat, singing the same carols and surrounded by the same people, and I couldn’t help but notice the difference in me. I appreciate my life more than I ever did in the past. I feel more connected to my own body, mind, and soul than I ever have. My relationships are stronger than they ever have been. I know who I am now, and I mean in my bones know it. And I owe it all to cancer, to how I have somehow been able to play this crappy hand well. Exactly how I have done that is something I need to think about and explore more and is one of the reasons I’ll be starting a blog in the new year, because I find it remarkable that I had that in me and didn’t even know it. I want to help other people find their own hidden strength, light, and gratitude.
What I am most grateful for this year is possibility. Last year, I didn’t know what to expect with the coming year, but today, my future is full of possibility, and that is something to celebrate.”
My wish for you for the new year is that you find the courage, motivation, inspiration, or whatever it is you need to achieve the health you desire, to include in your life more of what brings you joy, and to be present and mindful so you can enjoy it all. We really have no way of knowing what the future holds for us, but I can tell you that it does hold infinite amounts of possibility. And all we can do is breathe deep and take that first step towards it.
Happy Healing in 2020! ❤️