Thursday, December 31, 2015

The New Year's Re-Boot

As cliche as it may sound, we are in the midst of a New Year's re-boot at our house, and a much needed one at that.  The last few years have been fairly stressful, to say the least:  with one health crisis after another for the last five years, and a slew of cancer surgeries and treatments, life has been hectic and crazy and way, way outside the normal routine.

You can only try to hang on to where you are when you are in survival mode, which doesn't really lend itself to moving much of anything forward.

Honestly, over the last few years of cancer craziness, just being able to mark time by treading water felt like a victory, because it was all too easy to keep falling backward and further down.  Now we seem to be past the actively terrifying health crisis phase (at least, for the moment, because I always seem to be silently waiting for the next bad news shoe to drop...when does that end, I wonder?), although even typing that as I'm thinking it seems to be inviting some new, more crazy plague from the taunting universe.

Assuming that my hubris hasn't roused some sleeping giant, what do we do to advance things going forward?

The first step will be reclaiming my health.  Eating more fruits and veggies is a good start, although I sit here typing this while eating a mixed berry and kiwi fruit salad and some Greek yogurt, so it isn't as though I'm not already attempting to eat a rainbow every day whenever possible.  But I can always do better, right?  So can my family, who are way too fruit and veggie averse, so onward and upward with a more antioxidant and fiber rich diet.

Next, regular exercise on a daily basis.  My plan is to start small, with some walking on the elliptical, and work my way forward from there.  Chemo and radiation really did a number on my muscle tone, and all the downtime forced on me by multiple surgeries and their recovery time has not helped at all.  Beginning with walking and then working my way forward with some light weights, increasing them as I move forward, will help bring my body back into balance.

Am thinking of also adding in a bit of yoga, because heaven knows that stress reduction would be a huge bonus, along with increased focus.  But that will be down the line a little bit, so that I'm not just piling on at the start.

My mantra this year will be healthy choices, one choice at a time, every single day for the rest of my life.  It needs to be a lifestyle and not a diet, because the hysterectomy last year really knocked my entire system for a huge walloping tailspin.  My metabolism is non-existent at this point, and I have no ideas whose hips and thighs showed up on my body, but they can take them back any time.  Seriously, it is like having an entirely different human being wrapped around me from the outside, and I do not like where this is headed if I don't do something to correct the trend.

Better choices, better health, and a lot more activity in the new year.

This doesn't begin to touch on the emotional end of all of this.  But that is going to take some work this year as well.  We've been steadily working our way through the mess in the house, clearing clutter and freeing things up in a way that is mentally freeing as well.  It is amazing how things can pile up while you are just trying to hunker down and survive the day to day.

By reclaiming the house, I'm also somehow reclaiming my own internal order.  Weird how that works, but that's just the truth of it.

This morning, I woke up with a fantastic story idea, the kind that drags you out of bed and makes you sit and begin to write before you've even had any coffee.  It was a wonderful way to wake up, and I hope that it is a pattern for the days to come.

My brain is finally freeing up space to dream again.  For a long time, during the worst of the treatment, that had completely shut down as though the energy to look forward was just too painful in the here and now.

It helps when I take the time to step outside our day to day busy and just pause to count my blessings.     And there are a LOT of blessings in my life worth counting and savoring every day.

This year, I am giving myself the gift of planning for the future, of hoping for things that will pay off down the road.  It is a miracle to get to this place, in spite of everything that has happened in the last few years, and I am going to savor it and not take it for granted.  Every day of life that we are given is a precious gift - the chemo drip taught me that - but this far away from all of the treatment and fear of the next unknown, I am finally willing to let go a little bit and live going forward instead of always looking over my shoulder.

It's time to stop just existing, and to start working toward living every day to its fullest potential.  If not now, then when?  If I have learned nothing else over the last few years, it is this:  seize the day today, because you have no idea what is around the next corner, and you don't want to have bad news hit you when you are full of the regrets of "what might have been."

Seize your day.  Today.

Wishing you a happy new year full of wonder and revelations of good things to come in your life.  Celebrate today and every day, and do something just for you -- you've earned it!

(Photo via Kevin O'Mara.)


Anonymous said...

You are amazing - happy healthy new year! Kate

Liz said...

Bless you! I hope your dreams and desires are met in 2016!

Carolyn Vass said...

I don't know if my last comment went first, so I'll sum it up by saying Forgiveness saved my life. When I decided to let go of the hurt, I also let go of the stress and anger. Forgive but never forget...remembering will help to make better choices going forward. Positive thinking, restful sleep, good nutrition and no stress are my lifesavers to stay in remission. Wish we were closer (geographically). I love you, and I know that you are strong.

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Happy new year, Kate -- wishing you all lots of blessings and sending love from our house to all of you. :)

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Thanks, Liz -- hope you had a wonderful New Year's Eve, and that you have an even better year in 2016.

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Thanks, Carolyn -- love you lots, and I hear you on the need for positive thinking and rest in the day to day. It makes a world of difference for me when I get enough sleep and take care of myself -- am still working on the stress reduction, though, but it gives me something to work on for 2016, right?

Anonymous said...

A blessed New Year to you and yours, Christie! Thank you for sharing both your struggle and hope, friend! Rita

robin andrea said...

Happy New Year to you and best wishes for your continued good health! Take care, be well, and delight in it all!

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Thanks, Rita -- my working theory is "just keep swimming." Don't think Dory will mind if I steal it. LOL

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Thanks, Robin -- same to you. Hoping you all are having a wonderful start to 2016, with many more blessings in the days ahead.