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The Phrase I Use Instead of 'New Year, New Me' as a Person With a Chronic Illness

On December 31 as the clock strikes midnight, everybody cheers “Happy New Year!” As the door of 2016 closes, the door of 2017 opens; it’s the perfect time to reflect on past events over the last couple of years…

Two years and three months ago, instead of a dance career I went into fashion design and studied it at college until I physically couldn’t. I was unwell. I struggled. But I made it three months in. I may have been eight weeks behind everyone else, but I made it happen. I made a memories. And I made sure I made the most of it, seized the moment and captured it.

Little did I know my life/health would plummet, intensify in severity and spin completely out of control. I went from fashionista fanatic to in bed 100% of the time. PJ Princess in a blink of an eye.

Today I have been hospitalized for 10 months (and counting). I’m tube-fed and paralyzed. So much has changed. But what hasn’t changed is my willpower, my strive for perfection, and who I am. I refuse to give up on both myself and my future no matter how unpredictable, agonizing and frightening it may be. Although “trust” is a big meaningful word and needs to be earned, I trust that life will guide me onto the right pathway to continue my uphill battle, to serve my true purpose on this planet. I trust it will continue to give me strength to carry on, store blocks of much needed wisdom to grow in my brain, and most importantly, I trust life will give me time to reach my true potential, to reach my ambitious goals in my own time and ways. I trust life will give me hints on how to live instead of just survive.

I had my 18th birthday in the hospital in August. A lot of people said, “well done for making it to 18” and “congratulations, you made it to adulthood!” and it made me think…

My god, I did it!

I survived! 

I’m alive.

I’ve stared death in the face on two occasions and I’ve lasted 18years on this earth.

I’ve faced enough challenges and endured enough hardship to last a lifetime.

I may not have achieved what I planned… but I’ve achieved so much and even the impossible… in only 18 years.

It’s only just the beginning of a unpredictable but exciting adventure and many years and milestones ahead. Anything can happen. That’s what excites me. It keeps me going; it’s my reason to keep strong and fight on.

If you fear the future, it can hold you hostage. If you’re optimistic, you can be free (even if your future isn’t medically and scientifically bright).

Phrases such as “New Year, New Me” or “New year, New Start” don’t really apply to me as a person with a chronic illness. Many of us will unfortunately go into the new year with the exact agony and sickness we were enduring throughout the last year. At midnight on December 31, we can’t banish or erase our illnesses and pain. We can’t always plan the year ahead. We can’t run away from our bodies.

But, I can become a better me. We can find ourselves and our purpose. We can go into the new year and begin a fresh chapter while reflecting on our previous ones. We can build upon our foundations and become a stronger, happier and more intuitive version of ourselves. We can turn negativity into positivity and choose how to recycle our previous experiences to fight with all our might. We can accomplish all our goals, hopes and dreams. We can conquer and succeed in 2017.

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Image by Dmitrii Kotin