2018. The start of a new year has already started!
Initially, my tentative resolutions revolved around doing more of specific things I wanted to accomplish: writing more, being more diligent about homeschooling, setting up my voicemail, managing time better, staying consistent, learning how to swim (more than just float), etc. However, an unexpected bout of sickness in the last week of December dramatically changed my heart.
In the previous “Merry Christmas” post I mentioned how the first part of December kept our family preoccupied with everyday life emergencies. So I was looking forward to rest and having no plans.
Well, rest I did…except it wasn’t in the way I imagined.
I came down with a very unpleasant stomach bug along with both kids (Chris was the first one to get sick and to recover). Ellis’ bout was made worse by a concussion she got from falling out of her car seat; the effects of it affected her blood clotting numbers requiring multiple blood draws, middle-of-the-night phone calls from the hospital, kale juice feeds through her stomach tube, and going to the hospital for an emergency check-up at the heart clinic.
I may have handled her sickness better if I were not having the stomach bug symptoms. It was overwhelming to think how I could navigate the day at the hospital caring for myself and a sick child (with the possibility of her getting admitted). I needed to be in close proximity to the restroom at all times this day. The stomach rumbling sounds made gurgling slushing noises that sometimes jiggled my stomach and signaled imminent explosion. I’ll spare you the other details but you get the idea.
It was a short-term stomach bug but this experience forced me to evaluate my life choices and clarify resolutions for 2018. I couldn’t bear to list the things I should or shouldn’t do this coming year.
My solution: instead of coming up with a lists of should or should not to, I decided to adopt an overarching attitude to influence my life experiences. I can choose my attitude or my response to circumstances. As I painfully realized in 2017, life brings times of intense waiting, unexpected interruptions, heavy circumstances or subtle inconveniences that make choosing a positive, uplifting attitude really hard to do.
I may not be able to change the circumstances of my life but I can change the way I experience it. I learned about this concept years ago from reading Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor E. Frankl (1946) that I forgot in the midst of buyness. As a Holocaust survivor he encountered brutalities against the human spirit and body within the concentration camps. But even in that situation he chose to find meaning in his suffering and discovered that he has the power to choose his attitude, as he witnessed his fellow inmates doing when some chose hope over despair.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Remembering that jolted my attention.
For this new year I want to choose a mindful attitude to slow down. When I overload my schedule because of self- imposed expectations of what I think I should be doing, my weariness takes a toll on my family’s well being and my personal health. I hope to evaluate myself by not obsessively tallying up how much I’m doing but how well I’m doing what is set before me.
What am I asking myself to do?? It’s a tough task that may lead to disappointment but it’s worth it to try. I’ll see how it goes and give an update once I have something to share.
I hope what whatever resolution you made, whether big or small, for the new year will be good and empowering for your life!
What resolutions have you made? If you would like to share, I would love to hear about them!