My new year started out with a familiar deluge of upbeat, life-is-your-oyster, choose-to-be-your-best-self, God-has-good-plans-for-you messages. All across social media, on the radio and even on TV I’m confronted with peppy advice and positive perspectives; hints for finding success and happiness in our first world lives.
There’s nothing wrong with them. Some are inane and trivial. Some are actually quite brilliant.
But they hurt.
They sting, because most of the time they don’t apply to me. Not this life. Not this year, especially.
2016 is not going to be ‘The Best Year Ever.’ I’m not going to accomplish daring goals. I’m not even going to set daring goals. I’m just going to try and get through the day.
That parenting article that makes me feel so small. The inspirational TED Talk which I’d love to implement, but can barely find time and energy to watch. That mocking meme that hits a little too close to home.
It’s not so much that I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m frustrated with a culture that assumes we all have the same choices. Cutting diatribes cast people as winners or losers, right or wrong. Simplistic solutions are peddled without compassion. Complexity is whitewashed away. We act like everyone is on the same page.
I suppose it’s inevitable that humans take our own power for granted. No doubt a terrified Syrian refugee would read my blog and wonder why I’m so whiny. Yes, our family must wrestle with cancer, special needs, mental illness and sleep disorders, but we have a comfortable home, modern healthcare, a supportive school system and more options than most people in the world can dream of. My normal is one person’s dream. And another person’s nightmare.
We live in an airbrushed world. We worship the polished finished product and disdain the messy process. We desperately deal in miracle cures and magical thinking. We cut this out of our diets and add that. We lay blame. We turn up our nose at those ignorant schmucks on the other side of the latest debate. We put our faith in believing the right thing and eating the right thing and doing the right thing.
Anything to avoid the niggling sense that maybe, just maybe, we aren’t in control. That shit happens. And sometimes it happens to me.
I’m the same. My life may be extraordinary compared to most, but I’m not. It feels like failure to admit my limitations, even to myself. Like something to be ashamed of.
Each year I pick a word. One word as a focus and a mantra; my year long prayer. It’s supposed to be inspirational.
This year my word is:
Which seems like a sad joke. After all, my last blog post was about arthritis and my newfound limp. I’ve realized that success looks different for each of us. It looks a little different each day. Maybe each moment. We take what we’re given and do the best we can.
Some days I’ll rise up on wings like the eagles; others, it’ll be all I can do to keep moving. That momentum is the difference between anger and bitterness, between taking a break and giving up, between living and existing.
There’s a unique beauty in the shuffling gait of the overwhelmed, the imperfect. It’s not smooth or pretty and it’s not going to win any ribbons. But it’s authentic and human and real.
So here’s me, still moving. And that’s resolution enough these days.