This New Year's, I thought I might eventually write a list of resolutions, recap the year, or do some overdone ritual like that. But resolutions, as I think most of us have learned by now, are pretty much useless. Either you follow them or you don't (and most likely you don't), but at any rate, resolutions are something that should be made all year round, not just on New Year's. And I know what mine are without having to write them down: to keep trying to improve the quality of my life and health in any every way possible.
Recapping my year, although it was a very significant and mostly good one, would not feel meaningful to me; because when you have lived every minute of this year as intensely as I have, believe me, you don't need to revisit it. So here's the thirty second version, complete with a "knock on wood" clause: Completed first full year of stable living independently in a mostly chemically sensitive safe home, with people I mostly like and am able to get along with, in a town that I love two miles from where I grew up. Read that sentence again. If you know anything about me or my history, or that of a typical chemically sensitive and / or autistic person's life, then you will realize what an enormous accomplishment that is. There are twelve months worth of memories and stories there, but they aren't going to be told here. There's simply too many of them.
So what am I going to write about for New Year's Eve this year, on the eve of 2011? Well, until this moment, I had no idea. But then it came to me, a flash of inspiration. I decided that I would write about what I'm grateful for. Just consider it a delayed post from Thanksgiving. :)
At this very moment, sometime in the middle of the night on December 29, 2010, these are the things that I am grateful for.
I am grateful that I have one Bush Whacker request on Facebook. I have no idea what that is (although I can imagine), but it makes me laugh anyway.
I am grateful for the invigorating feel of cold, fresh winter air against my face when I go for my walks; and I am grateful to have the proper winter clothes to wear so that I can enjoy being out in this weather!
I am grateful for my community of friends, especially in the chemical sensitivity community, online, and for my friends, mostly in the autism community, offline. They help support me and remind me that I matter; and I hope I do the same for them.
I am grateful (knock on wood) to be able to watch TV and movies, something I wasn't able to do for five years. Not only is it immensely entertaining and very helpful for taking my mind off things, but it gives me something to talk about and think about that is not related to my illness! That especially was a hidden and unexpected blessing. I love getting lost in other people's stories, real or made up.
I am grateful to have a family that I am able to take part in again, and for the better relationship I have with them now.
I am grateful for a certain 93 year old woman in my life, who warms my heart and puts a smile on my face every day with her own smile, her enthusiasm and her interest in me.
I am grateful to have friends that I can go out and do things with, who share at least some of my interests, and who are just fun to be with.
I am grateful to have been given just enough tools to be able to do what I need to do in my life. (Yes, more would be appreciated, but we make do with the cards we've got, right? I am thankful for the cards I do have.)
I am sure there are more things that I am grateful for, but the point of this exercise was just to write what was in my heart at this very moment. Try it yourself; without over thinking it, which I often do, what small and big things are you grateful for?
That, I've decided, is the best attitude to go into 2011 with.
As hard as it may be, and it is hard, we need to think about these things from time to time. They can't be forced or then they'll just be trite. You need to acknowledge the hardships and difficulties in your life and be able to grieve for what you do not have; but on other, better days, you also need to find the part of you that is grateful. They can co-exist. In fact, if they didn't, I don't think we'd really be human.
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