This Wednesday Word No. 113, courtesy of Good Housekeeping, pretty much sums up my 2019-to-2020 mood. I personally am using all that I experienced last year — the highs and the lows — to rewrite my story for the New Year.
If I said that any other year prior to this past one was rough, I take it back. 2019 takes the cake … and throws it right in my face, smearing its messy frosting all over the place. This past year, Q4 especially, was marked with profound loss. Don’t get me wrong — there were some great times, too (e.g., being able to finally walk without my brace, doing flying trapeze for the first time, participating in my first Walk MS, vacationing in Barbados, finding a therapist who gets it, etc.). God truly did keep me (*cues “Never Would Have Made It” remix)! Before I say good riddance to 2019, here are some things I learned from it.
What 2019 Taught Me
Love hard. As cliché as it may sound, it’s the truth. Love your family and friends. Give them their flowers while they’re still here to enjoy them. Reach out to them and pray for them when they cross your mind. In 2019, I experienced the death of my fur baby Berkeley, my cousin Khadija, my paternal grandfather Freddie, and my great aunt Alice — in that order. Some of these passings were sudden, while some were anticipated, as much as that sort of transition can be. As I continue to grieve, I’m reminded that time is precious. Spend your days loving on those who mean the most to you. They could be gone in an instant.
Get help. As a result of all the loss and other stressors I experienced, I knew I needed to talk to a professional. In 2019, I regularly went to therapy (a major first for me), faced my fear of needles and began routinely undergoing acupuncture, got connected with an amazing wellness coach (eternally grateful for Lisa, who keeps me on track with my goals), and leaned into my pal Zita’s super generous offer to be my patient advocate. Without this team of angels — and the grace of God — I don’t know how I would have made it through this past year.
Take your time to process emotions. You can’t rush healing from emotional wounds. Grief is not a linear pathway, but rather a rocky hike of ups, downs, twists and turns through a beautifully chaotic wilderness. Don’t rush the process. Be present and acknowledge the feelings as they come.
Do better. Be better for yourself. There’s no delicate way to put it: My apartment had fallen by the wayside and stayed there for way longer than it should have. This was in part due to fatigue associated with living with MS, partially due to a sense of being overwhelmed and mentally exhausted, and sometimes downright lazy. But little by little, and with help from my boyfriend Dash and Zita, I decluttered my apartment, got a storage unit (game changer!) and now it is a space that makes me feel comfort as soon as I walk in. All because I was tired of the mess. Now I have systems in place to stay tidy.
It can wait. Is anyone gonna die if you don’t complete the work task before bed? No? Then it can wait until tomorrow. Don’t overwork yourself when your colleagues aren’t losing sleep. It’s not worth it.
Self-care isn’t selfishness. Amid everything I was going through in 2019, I had to learn how to say no to the things that didn’t make me feel good, were an unnecessary inconvenience or that drained what little energy I had. You can’t pour from an empty vessel. Make sure that you’re filled so that you can be on point for yourself and others.
And with that, I’d like to wish you all a happy 2020! May you take the lessons you learned in 2019 and use them to live a healthy, prosperous, fulfilling New Year. What learnings from 2019 are you bringing with you to 2020? I’d love to know. Comment below 🙂
To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.