I’ve avoided New Year’s resolutions. I know that 2017 has some very particular challenges for me. It might make some sense to make resolutions, but I’d rather make plans. Resolutions tend to be pie-in-the-sky whereas I prefer concrete action plans. Here’s my goal, here’s what’s needed to get there, here’s how I can handle those needs, and what are my contingencies, drop-dead points, and, finally, at what point do I shrug and say “ain’t happening.”
I don’t know how you approach life. With PTSD, depression, chronic pain, and more I tend to be more cautious now. A good plan makes me feel as though I have both a belt and suspenders on. (I used to wear a belt and suspenders, I have photographic evidence.)
Unfortunately, the same caution that makes a plan pretty much mandatory also means I’ve become risk adverse. I was always risk adverse in particular areas of life, but since becoming disabled, I find that I can barely even spell risky behaviours out.
While the rest of the world was watching horrified, I was peeking and sneaking away from the big events of 2016. I spent more time adjusting to being more in the world than I have been since 2011. New medications made my mentation clearer. My anxiety level, though smeared across a larger landscape, was thinner, lower, less of a hinderance. Having an anxiety issue gave me some space, oddly enough, to just freak out when it was appropriate. Dig in, shit your pants, get cleaned up, and carry on. My new process.
People died in 2016. Some were important in their fields, some were famous, some were infamous, and too many were unarmed civilians in too many wars. We could almost say that Aleppo might as well have died. Some say America is on its deathbed now.
I don’t understand why people have been tearing their hair out about all the deaths. Maybe that is why Carrie Fisher’s death struck me so deeply, in comparison to others that should have affected me even more deeply. It was a transference of confusion.
Death doesn’t confuse me. I know it’s here, amongst us, yet we like it to knock softly before entering. We like someone to come along and tell us the cat is on the roof, just as a lead-up to eventually telling us the cat is dead. When my father, nephew, and mother died each death was unexpected. My father and nephew died together in an accident. My mother died of a heart attack one night, nobody is sure which night since she was found only when she’d been dead at least two weeks. It was creepy listening to my voice messages on her phone while clearing out her apartment.
I have two important threads in this years: location and vocation. I don’t think I have much longer on this planet, at least I hope I don’t, so I want to let go of some life-long fears and do what I want to do instead of what I think others will approve.