New Year's resolutions help us focus on what's important
By Kathy Melamed
Clinical Communication Director
As we cross paths in hospice and other medical settings, patients, families and caregivers have given me countless ‘life gifts’—lessons and encouragements. One that I observed early in my career was that people who are faced with serious, life-altering medical conditions seem immediately able to identify what is truly and deeply important and what is not. So many irritations, conflicts and pet peeves fade in significance as large, urgent and profound issues push to the forefront, demanding lots of physical and emotional energy. Not that small talk isn’t helpful as a pleasant distraction sometimes—it is! But, folks who are facing serious health issues have clarity about what is really important, and that can be such a blessing.
So, how does that relate to the annual challenge of New Year’s resolutions? We have all made them. A few of us have actually been able to follow through on one or two of them (Maybe I have, but I can’t remember when). We may be inclined to reject the ritual of making resolutions altogether, as it has been embarrassing and disheartening when we “fail.”
Yet, at the beginning of the New Year, there is this tradition of taking time to reflect and then to let go of the past year. We are drawn to the opportunity to refresh and renew our energy, our outlook, our resolve. In an important way, taking this time is an expression of the HOPE that keeps us going through even the toughest challenges of caregiving. We hope for some good, meaningful time, for continued connection with loved ones, healing and nurturing, some success, no matter how we define that.
Perhaps, we define the future in terms of minutes and days, rather than looking ahead to the whole of 2013. Perhaps we relish the clarity about what is truly important. Perhaps the resolutions can be about just being ourselves in this caregiving role and being all right with the ups and downs as they come.
What are you thinking about the New Year? Are you making resolutions? I would like to know.
If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work.
Wishing you peace and courage today and tomorrow.