As we approach the end of the year everyone tends to reflect and plan. What went right? What went wrong? What needs to change? No matter how you answer those questions, one thing remains the same. We all look at the new year as a way to start fresh. We expect the new year to be an opportunity for new beginnings.
If you’ve followed me at all in 2017, you know it’s been a tough year. We’ve dealt with teen depression, mental illness, a car accident, and emergency surgery.
2017 kicked our ass!
But it also brought recovery, closer relationships, college acceptance letters, scholarships, new friendships, new opportunities, new jobs, and new organizations.
Normally, I go into the new year without much anticipation for change. We rarely if ever set resolutions. To me the new year is just a change in the date I write on a check. It holds no significance. It holds no value. But, 2018 is different.
This year will truly be a year of new beginnings for us.
In January, I will start my last semester of school and my internship. This is the culmination of years of hard work. My opportunity to go out into the world and make a difference in the special needs population! My time to step away from home and trust that all the blood, sweat and tears I’ve put into growing tiny humans into responsible adults has paid off.
In May, I’ll graduate with my degree and start focusing on my career. Twenty-one years later than planned, but better late than never. I would never trade my time as a stay-at-home mom for anything. I know the importance of the work I’ve done, but I also know the sacrifice involved.
In June, my youngest will graduate high school which means in August he’ll leave for college. It will be the end of seeing his face daily. The end of knowing he’s safely tucked in his bed at night. The end of daily hugs and I love yous.
2018 is bringing major changes in our home.
Lots of new beginnings.
Lots of mixed emotions!
I’m so excited about my internship. About digging in and getting to work. About starting to really understand the ins and outs of providing support to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I can’t wait to impact the lives of those on a path similar to ours. Yet, I’ve been home for twenty-one years. The thought of my time not being my own isn’t exactly enticing. Waking up early, traveling, being gone all day and still fulfilling my responsibilities at home sounds overwhelming. How can I do both successfully?
There’s also the fear of failure, the fear of something new, the fear of making mistakes………all unfounded and unrealistic. All products of an overactive mind trying to fix, manage and control everything.
I’m in the midst of a battle trying to deciding whether I should participate in a graduation ceremony or forego the experience. I know what I’ve accomplished and don’t need a ceremony for it, yet part of me would like my kids to see me graduate. To see what hard work can do. To let my husband relish in the sacrifices he made to allow me the opportunity to go back to school.
Then there’s the fear of all eyes on me, interacting with people I don’t know, and tripping as I walk to get my diploma……all unfounded and unrealistic. All products of an overactive mind trying to fix, manage and control everything.
Each day of this school year that goes by feels like we are living on an imaginary clock counting down to Noah leaving for college. It feels like every single thing we do each day is in preparation for him to leave. Like each day we work to push him further away, all while my heart is screaming NO! I’m so excited for him and so incredibly proud of him, yet I struggle with the thought of a house he doesn’t live in.
Of course, there’s the fear of not being around to notice any mental health issues creeping up, the fear of him drifting away from us, the fear of him loving life elsewhere so much that he doesn’t come home………all unfounded and unrealistic. All products of an overactive mind trying to fix, manage and control everything.
In thinking about 2017 and all the changes coming in 2018, I’ve realized the string everyone clings to in these new beginnings is hope.
Hope for change.
Hope for something better.
Hope for dreams to come true.
Hope to move forward.
In order to have hope, you have to have faith and this is where so many get it wrong. They hope for the best, but expect the worst. They hope for something different, but don’t do any work to actually evoke a change.
Rather than set resolutions for 2018 I’m stating affirmations:
I am hoping for an amazing internship experience that allows me to change lives and I have faith it will happen because of all the hard work I’ve put into my education and all the experience I bring to the field.
I am hoping Tristan will be able to step up and take more responsibility for himself in my absence and I have faith he will surpass my expectations because of all the work I’ve done with him the last twenty-one years to get him to this point.
I hope that Noah will get the opportunity to attend his first-choice school because it is the perfect fit for him and I have faith that the school will reward his hard work and determination by making this a reality.
I hope that Noah will not struggle with his mental health issues once he leaves for school and I have faith that if he does, he is strong enough and smart enough to get the help he needs before spiraling into the darkness.
I hope that I will weather all the changes in 2018 without feeling the need to fix, manage and control them all and I have faith that the work I’ve done on my mind, body and spirit has put me in a place of strength to not only weather these changes but thrive in them all.
If you are hoping for 2018 to be different, start the year off by planning the work. If you’re looking for a new beginning, decide what you have to change. Do not just hope for something out of the ordinary. Make the extraordinary happen!