I’m not at all sad to put 2019 (or this decade) in the history books. This time of year always brings reflection. I always look forward to the Holiday Season, but the reality of it ends up being overwhelming and draining. I love Christmas, but December ends up being too much. There are never enough hours. The expectation of creating the Christmas magic bigger and better (or just different) than before versus the realization of the actual time it takes to pull off collide. This year minimalism was the theme without intention. It was just all I could handle. I only put up a tree and did no other decorations. I gave Wheeler and Everett less gifts this year than they’ve ever received in their entire lives. This year brought multiple earthquakes of change most of which I’ve talked about but there are others that I haven’t shared. I have given so wholly of myself to the boys and what they have needed and still do. I have tried so hard to balance and care for myself as well, but in a year such as this one balance has been impossible. I came across Charlie Macksey, an artist, a few years ago and loved his work, but this specific drawing was posted by another autism mom that I follow on instagram earlier this month. This is a perfect adaptation of how this year has played out for me.
I have asked for and received more help this year than I ever have, and I’m still having to ask for more. The core of who I am is fiercely independent. My want is to never disrupt anyone else with what I need, because feeling as if I’m a burden or an inconvenience is so uncomfortable for me. I’m always willing and eager to help anyone, but find it uncomfortable to ask for help when I am struggling. A few years ago I listened to an interview with Brené Brown, she said if you are willing to help others but unwilling to ask others for help; you really are in judgement of those who you are offering to help. Unintentionally, you see their need for help as a weakness, and you are unwilling to ask for help when it is needed because you don’t want to be seen as weak. This hit me like a ton of bricks. And I’m so glad I had this information going into this year. Everett and Wheeler are doing well and making progress but this huge hole exists and a new lens sits over our lives. We can’t help but view things from a different perspective and that comes with pros and cons that we are learning to adjust to.
For me personally, the past decade has brought so many things into my life: autism, divorce, a new career, a new love and marriage, Wheeler has grown into a man, and Brett’s tragic death. I’ve lost three grandparents and have watched another one slip away into a state of being that is close to death. I’ve lost so many anchors that molded and shaped my life. I’ve constantly worked on myself throughout the last 10 years. I’m always trying to learn and grow. This year I have grown and learned so many things, but also feel more behind, tired, and as if I’ve made no progress (even though I know that I have). Moving forward into 2020, I don’t have any particular resolutions because I don’t think a life overhaul is anything I’m looking for. I know that shifting my priorities so that I take care of myself is more essential that it has ever been. My health and well-being have never been more important. The weight of feeling like I have to live forever is real. I had a conversation with someone who is in a similar situation as I am. We talked about how close our own mortalities feel, but also how impossible our death needs to be. I need to take care of myself in a way that creates real longevity. And as I have taken inventory on this, I’ve realized that I’ve actually done a lot of work to make it happen. Recently, I’ve encountered the concept of feeding others from the saucer multiple times and it makes perfect sense that giving from a place of overflow has to be more life giving and sustainable than taking from a place of scarcity.
In the past ten years, I’ve worked so hard to surround myself with the people (friends, family, coworkers, and husband) who are 100% supportive of me and what I need to be the best version of myself. I have purposely not used the term self care here, because I think its overuse has almost left it empty. It seems to illicit an eye roll. I don’t think the answer for me is more pedicures or girls trips (not that I would say no to either of those.) It is a more like a release of perfection and embracing the necessity of peace and calm that I need. I have no clue what the next ten years will bring but am eager and open for all the love, joy, peace, and life that I know will fill our lives.
I will leave you with this quote from CS Lewis: “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind”
Happy New Year and New Decade!!