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Why the New Year Doesn't Mean a 'New Me' as Someone With Chronic Illness

I’m sitting here on my couch thinking to myself that I have not set a single New Year’s resolution and it’s already January 14th. I could tell you it’s because I had a liver biopsy that got infected, or that I’ve been so tired recently all I do is sleep; I could even blame it on the fact that I am so stressed with everything I didn’t even realize it was the new year. The truth is though, as I’ve gotten older the more I realize it’s just another day that happens to create a new year. A new “chapter” in the book called life, with all 365 pages filled with happiness, sadness, memories, photos and adventures.

That’s not how life works though, we can’t start a new book and disregard 2017 like our junior year yearbook. A new book that is completely different from the last just doesn’t exist. Everything that happened in 2017 has and will make an impact on 2018 – whether you accept that is your choice. New Year’s resolutions allow us to have a clean slate, and help us achieve goals we didn’t think were possible just the day before. What makes that day so special, so meaningful, what makes it worth waiting a month or even two to start working out more, eating healthier, walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator and quitting that addiction once and for all? As someone with a chronic illness, there is no new book, no blank slate, no way to just start over and become a new me. The “new year, new me” doesn’t apply; there will never be a new me.

woman wearing patterned leggings and holding a book that says "the power of now"

Earlier last year I had a tough time with depression and there were some moments I didn’t think I’d ever escape. I didn’t think I could ever be happy again and sometimes, instead of fighting it, I let it consume me. Overcoming that is gradual and there is no stamp on it, no year-end exam, it will forever be written in my book. I truly (almost) forgot about New Year’s Eve because I was just getting back home from Mayo Clinic after a liver biopsy and slept for most of that weekend. It wasn’t until my friend asked me if I wanted to come over that I realized what day it was.

Heart disease, depression, organ failure doesn’t have a reset button, and more times than not, I am in awe that time seems to pass so slowly yet so fast when I’m constantly tending to my chronic illnesses. As I look at the year ahead, I don’t think about New Year’s resolutions like I used to. I look at them as a continuation to improve my mind, body and spirit just by being me and growing every day. But this didn’t happen at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, 2018 – it happened the moment I decided I wanted to change and be proud of the person in the mirror.

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