The holiday season is almost over and the year 2019 is upon us. At this time of the year, we reflect on the year that was and we also look ahead at the year in front of us.
2018 was a year for me of transitioning. I finally began a decluttering project that’s been in the works for years. Due to the fibromyalgia pain that can be disabling and being chronically fatigued, I had to allow too many things to pile up in one room in my home.
A messy bedroom with piled up boxes and their contents can be a bit nerve-wracking. First of all, there is a mess. Every time you look at it, it’s overwhelming and makes you remember at one time this room was clean. When you are feeling sick in bed, you are staring at it. You remember that you used to have the energy to handle this. You recall at one time, your carpal tunnel and wrist pain wasn’t paralyzing your hands. You are afraid to light a candle or see a spark. A fire could start that will engulf you and your home in flames in mere seconds. I COULDNT TAKE IT ANYMORE!
I got tons of garbage bags, a shredder, scissors, twine, and a few other things together. I found a Netflix series with over 80 episodes, called Celia, about salsa icon, Celia Cruz. It was in Spanish, but there were subtitles in English. This way I could shred and still follow the story. I took breaks when she sang and started again when she stopped. I worked when my body could. I didn’t work too many hours straight or days in a row and rested sometimes for weeks in between. As the boxes started to disappear, I felt lighter, happier and like I was getting work accomplished.
Once I emptied the boxes in front of the closet, I got inside. I gathered clothes for the Salvation Army that I finally had to concede, I wasn’t going to fit into again, no matter how hard I was trying to lose weight. I’ve had two pickups so far and there will be more when I get to the second closet. That closet was where I had formerly stashed things inside of just to get them out of sight. This may not seem like a lot to some people. But for me, it has been monumental.
For nine months of the year, I continued to tutor adults in literacy (reading and writing) and an additional curriculum was added to include numeracy, science, history, current events, and life skills. It has been a joy to see them learn new things, become more inquisitive and confident. They have become more determined to get their high school equivalency diplomas. If they continue to dedicate themselves, I may have a new group of students when I return in the spring.
I got the opportunity to meet with old classmates and teachers for dinner and brunch. I have been dealing with limited finances (disability checks are not lucrative), but I will enjoy my life and have some fun and adventures. I have family who always helps me out, usually, at the exact moment, I need them. A few times I’ve had to ask for financial help and there has been no hesitation on their part. I know that I am loved and cared about. I have not always been so aware of this fact. I continued to spend way too much time online but tried to write more in a writing challenge. I shared cooking duties with a friend and had a great Thanksgiving.
December has been a great month. Back in May, I pre-ordered Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. I got an e-mail telling how I could become eligible to go to the book tour that would be in major cities. She was coming to my city and I wanted to be there. Miraculously, I was selected to pick tickets. I texted my cousin and she was on-board. We got the tickets! In November, I got the book and started to read. it’s a great, informative and revealing book. I highly recommend it.
On December 1st, we were present at The Barclays Center to see The Forever FLOTUS. She was open, engaging, funny and as a peer,( I am a year younger than her), I related to much of her story. From the tour and the book, I learned how she didn’t allow the thoughts of others to change her opinion of herself. She was a box checker, just like me, an achiever. Going from one thing, completing it successfully and even though it wasn’t very emotionally satisfying, she kept on going on to the next milestone as expected. She had such a supportive family who encouraged her and her brother to be free thinkers and high achievers. She met her husband and seeing how he helped others, to rise to their own potential, she was encouraged to seek out jobs with causes she wanted to work with. She didn’t like the political life but knew what Barack could do for our country. She couldn’t block his dreams. We know how the rest of the story goes. It was a great night out.
I’ve been finishing up the month with a birthday where it was a self-care day. I got a manicure, that I haven’t been able to indulge in six years. Next, was a movie, a trip to Sephora for my free birthday gift, Thai food, and chocolate cake. It was a damned good day. This weekend, I had my last chiropractor appointment of the year and going into 2019, I have a chiropractor and an acupuncturist who is working with me to feel good as I go into the harsh winter months when my pain is at its highest.
I’ve thought about, who am I becoming? I am becoming more aware of my true self. I don’t require as much as I once thought I did. I try to help others, if I can, however I can. I’m still learning to release what and who may not serve me well. I am becoming the woman I hoped to be when I was a little girl. Compassionate, kind and empathetic and happy. There are still things I would like to do. There are places I’d like to visit, love I would like to experience. Every day I do the best I can. Despite pain or suffering, I can still be happy. I pray about it every day, especially on difficult days.
My Buddhist faith tells me, “Prayer is the courage to persevere. It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves. It is the act of impressing in the very depths of our being the conviction that we can change the situation without fail. Prayer is the way to destroy all fear. It is the way to banish sorrow, the way to light a torch of hope. It is the revolution that rewrites the scenario of our destiny. Believe in yourself! Don’t sell yourself short! Devaluing yourself is contrary to Buddhism because it denigrates the Buddha state of being within you.” (Dec. 3, 2004, World Tribune, p. 8)
My aim in life right now is to find happiness, pray for myself and others, and fight every day to have the courage to do these things and grow even more. A new year and an opportunity to become a better version of myself. In 2019, I will continue to win in my life. I wish for you to win in your lives and have a Happy and Healthy New Year.