I write this on December 31st, after a day of tying up loose ends, relaxation, and reflection. The tying up loose ends primarily involved preparing for the hard freeze over the next couple of days. I harvested our winter crops of lemons, grapefruit, bok choy, spinach, annual herbs, and brought in our new fruit trees we have yet to plant. Relaxation included New Year’s Eve dinner with Emma, watching a movie, and reading.
Reflection occupied a good bit of the day. I had several health challenges in 2017 – an increase in my chronic back pain, a serious bike wreck, and a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. As posted on this blog, I spent a good bit of time coming to terms with these new realities.
I commented often how my three decades as a recovering alcoholic prepared me well for dealing with the health challenges, particularly the cancer diagnosis. I have new lessons on living with an attitude of gratitude, one-day-at-a-time, and into the solution and not dwelling in the problem.
I did a lot of growing up, learning, introspection, and prioritizing in 2017. Besides family and friends, I benefited from the insights of my faith community at Rayne Memorial UMC and the School for Contemplative Living. A fellow contemplative noted the synchronicity of the gifts of community coming at the precise time I faced new life directions.
Today I note a subtle but substantive shift in my perspective as we enter 2018. The best way I can articulate the shift is to compare the past six months as a time of intensive study and growth akin to my experiences during graduate school. Upon completing my formal academic coursework, I did not stop the lifelong process of being a student and learning. But upon graduation, I did make a shift where I began to apply in the real world what I learned in my formal training.
In 2018, I want to move from understanding my cancer diagnosis to fully applying and living into the solution. In so doing, there is a subtle but substantive shift in perspective. Instead of thinking, “I plan to do X but have contingency plans if I start chemo, etc. etc.” I will shift to “It is reasonable for me to commit to doing X.” This latter perspective holds true whether I live for another 10 weeks, 10 months, 10 years, or longer. In fact, no one, whether a 21-year-old or a 65-year-old has a guarantee of living one minute longer than I.
I am blessed to have the lived as a recovering alcoholic for the past three decades and to have a wonderful group of contemplatives to explore life with today. I am committed to a 2018 that will be a time of continuing meaning and fulfillment.