How on earth is it already time for 2022? Where did 2021 go?
I'm not sure, BUT, I am ready for 2022. 2021 was messy and ugly in many ways.
On a personal level, it was unkind to my health. I received a new diagnosis of psoriasis in March and had to miss an entire month of work while my body was adjusting to new medications and my skin was trying to heal. October revealed an unexpected opportunistic infection (since I'm immunocompromised) that required strong antibiotics and made me feel pretty lousy. Since November 1, I have been hobbling around on painful swollen knees and am facing unexpected knee surgery.
Pity party? Nah, not my style.
Swallowing it all? That's my go-to. When I think about my health and how unfair it is that I've tried to take care of my body my whole life and I'm still getting the short end of the health stick, I can get pretty low. Then I think of all my patients who have it "worse." And I swallow it. I shove it down. I brush it off.
But is that healthy? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. So I'm learning to acknowledge my own feelings. I'm sad that my body is not behaving. I'm angry in some ways. I'm frustrated for sure. I'm still thankful that I can work for right now. I am beyond grateful for my parents who live 2 doors down and help me daily. I'm tired. I'm realizing I have X amount of energy each day and my family needs the bulk of it. If my job takes most of it then I'm robbing my family of my best self. Filing for disability has been on my mind more in the past 9 months than it ever has during this 5 year sarcoidosis journey.
So what next?
New year, new adventures, new planner, new goals, new....
what else is new now that I'm 45?
I have a lot of old. Old hurts. Old unmet needs. Old furniture. Old clothes. Old shame. Old junk in my kitchen drawers. Old relationship issues that deserve a conversation. An old van that has chipping paint but it's paid for and gets us to ball tournaments.
I think the reflex for all of us is to replace the old with the new and that will make it all better. New clothes. The newest kitchen gadget. New furniture or decor, ON TREND, my dear! A shiny new SUV that costs more than most people's annual salary and gets 12 mpg. But boy does it look good and that's what counts, right?
I'm no longer trying to replace the old just by reflex. It's harder to keep it and try to keep it running. Purging the clothes and kids' toys is definitely good, but when we throw out things that still work but aren't "good enough" for whatever standards, what does that say about us? Who and what have you thrown away and replaced with newer and easier? (ouch)...
I'm falling apart health-wise in a lot of ways, but I "still work." Will my family or employer throw me out? Will my friends forget about me if I'm not as active and fun as I used to be? Where does that leave me? As an Enneagram 3 (Performer, Success Driven), I've been gut-punched this year by my body's betrayal. But God must be telling me something. I know He has a plan. I have to trust and slow down and just be.
NOT. MY. STRONG. SUIT.
Perhaps 2021 leaves you feeling like I do. Maybe you lost someone you loved. Maybe you were also betrayed by either your body or someone you trusted. Maybe you felt out of control all year like I did? Maybe you spent too many hours googling vaccines and viruses and death tolls like most of the world. Maybe you feel all the "junk" you've shoved down and swallowed for however long starting to surface and want to be named and noticed. I feel that with you.
2022 can be a renewal for us, my friends. I'm going to intentionally name what's working, what's not working, what is worth repair, and what really needs to be purged from my life. This goes for relationships, time spent, health choices, what I consume digitally and physically, items in my home and closet, and my thought life. I'm going to check myself when I just want to replace the old for that quick dopamine hit. I'm going to try to sit in the uncomfortable and define what's causing it. I can't keep running 90 mph. 2022 is for slowing down. It is for evaluation. It is for growing up, finally.