Well, today I am one year closer to 50 years old. According to the cashier at Goodwill yesterday, I am looking a full five years past that age (seriously, STOP asking if I qualify for the senior discount people…). I started this blog a full 365 days ago. I can say that I’ve learned some things about myself blogging here and despite the fact that I got off to a rather slow start and had some periods of starts and fits, I am feeling a little better than I was a short time ago. I am a little disappointed in my lack of ability to achieve any of the items on my list from last birthday, but I’m not giving up that easy. I will continue to work toward making my life “more,” whatever that may be.
I have realized something. The last five years of my life have been pretty much a pile of stressful situations and life interrupted (I might say sh#! if I were one to swear on my blog). I had a baby almost two months early via emergency C-section. I then lived through learning that the baby would need a heart transplant and multiple months of touch and go conditions in the hospital for that baby. I then lived through the recovery from the heart transplant, commuting to work for three months from the Ronald McDonald House three and a half hours away. I then lived through multiple bouts of pneumonia, snoring, vomiting, and so much more. Oh, and while all that was happening, my mom had her cancer come back and needed to have her other breast removed, twenty years after the first one was removed. Then came the chemo. And more chemo. Then they bumped my daughter’s heart valve during a biopsy and she had to have another open heart surgery to repair it – a summer of recovery, then tonsils and adenoids out. While this was all happening, my dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia and went downhill relatively quickly, but without a quick ending. He lingered, in and out of the hospital, my mom (still going through chemo) struggling to care for him. I was working full time, driving back and forth to my parent’s house when I was able to, and dealing with medical issues on all sides of the equation. My dad died in January of this year, my mom immediately started radiation because she was out of chemo options. Sometimes I think to myself that I am not doing enough and then I think about all I’ve been through and I can’t believe I’m still doing anything.
So, this birthday, I’m giving myself a gift. The gift of grace and forgiveness and understanding and not trying to do it all. I’m going to focus on being kind to myself and others. Some of that may entail some of the things I listed last year, but it isn’t going to be a list of “shoulds” its going to be a list of gifts that I can give myself. 365 days of gifting myself starting tomorrow. Each day, small or medium or large, I will give myself a gift of self-kindness. They will usually be simple, I’m sure – a hot bath, a new shirt that makes me feel good about myself, a pedicure, etc. Everyday, at least one gift. Something I do just for me. And maybe after 365 of those, I will be able to feel a little more “happy” on my birthday than I have the last two (not that I’m sad…just not spectacularly happy and far from satisfied).
So, there we are – #365selfgifts will be my hashtag, kindness will be this year’s word, and I am dropping the shoulds and embracing the grace.