Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Seeking the Point

The Big Question: What will 2016 be for me?

Last year I declared around New Year’s that 2015 was my year to discover happiness; to learn what happiness really was and to live it.

It turned out to be one of the most trying years of my life so far. Happiness was limited and precious in the moments it existed, but the rest was truly awful (and I mean that in the sense of “watching someone you love die slowly in hospice, awful. Not “my book didn’t do as well as I’d hoped,” awful or “I didn’t get everything I hoped for,” awful. Truly. Awful.)

In the weeks since my father’s death, things have taken on a necessarily blue fog; it’s the way of grief, you have nothing to do but stumble through it as best you can; as waves hit you at the least expected moments and you trip over your own feet, unable to see your hand in front of your face.

Still, the next year weighs on me and beckons me at the same time.

I will not be sorry to leave 2015 behind me, even though I accomplished some personal goals this year (including publication of two books I’m really proud of; one so much so that I decided that it would be my last because I figured it was as good a place to end the body of my published novels as I could possibly hope for. Thank you, team…)

I wonder what I am now, if not a writer striving to be published. Am I an artist seeking to throw off the shackles that the compulsion to write have kept on me all these years? No, because I long to write when I’m not writing; I know it’s still a vital part of who I am. How, then, if not through the publication of novels can I share something (I hope is of value) with the world?

Focus on the real, not the fictional and blog more? Immerse myself back into the world of poetry? Write whatever comes to me and call it enough?

I think the biggest wrench that I didn’t expect in 2015 was how bad a hit my health was going to take. I haven’t written about a lot of it here, or anywhere, but the truth is that for months I was unable to eat much of anything and even now my diet is severely limited. New allergies/intolerances and conditions have appeared, making grocery shopping (not to mention grabbing take out) a real challenge. 

I have no way to predict how I’ll feel on a given day and this unhappy situation has dimmed the joy of not only daily life but carefully planned vacations, and just made things in general damned complicated. I’ve added a few new specialists to my roster of doctors and if my primary doc has his way will add at least two more in the coming year. I haven’t wrapped my brain around that yet.

So what should I focus on in 2016?

The fact that Medicare decided not to cover a vital med in my Bipolar cocktail anymore and I’m not sure what’s going to happen when my supply runs out?

That I have no idea how I’ll function from day to day, after a year when I’ve had to battle medication side effects and illness-induced exhaustion just to stay awake more than a few hours a day? It’s difficult to contribute to life in any way that feels meaningful when you’re half asleep all the time.

I don’t want to focus on the challenges ahead but I’m not sure that unless I do, I’ll be able to accept the reality of the building blocks I have with which to build the New Year and the ones beyond it.

Sometimes I think I’m better off taking things just a day, or an hour, or fifteen minutes at a time, which I have to do when the anxiety gets so bad it feels like I’m drowning.


No resolutions, no particular hopes and dreams; many have been extinguished by life and reality itself. The force of disillusionment hits hard, like biting December wind that warns snow and ice are only a breath away.

Hopes and wishes? You bet. I have a list of them longer than the span of both my arms. Of course I’d like to see more people discover my books. I’d like to write something new that I was so passionate about, I had to fight it for sleep and mealtimes and space in my brain for anything else.

Love? I want to give as much as I can in 2016. Kindness? That’s important too, to find ways to demonstrate it in every situation I find myself in to the best of my ability.

If I can be loving and kind in 2016, despite my pain, despite my challenges and limitations and lack of control over the whims of my body to inflict that pain and those challenges and limitations on me, then I will have accomplished something useful in the New Year.

I guess that’s my greatest hope for the coming year: to be of use in the world, even if all I can do is offer a kind word to a friend in need of one or whether it’s finding my way back to donating a hat or a blanket if I’m able to make one.

Being chronically ill can make you feel so useless, and worthless, and pointless.

I’m seeking the point in 2016.

Hopefully, it’ll find me a little early, in time to bring a dusting of holiday cheer to a season muted by sorrow.

My favorite holiday decoration this year: sweet little Wall E

Remembering how fortunate I am in so many ways leads to a gratitude that I strive to cultivate daily, no matter how I’m feeling (and believe me, depression/Bipolar is a soul-sucking thief of gratitude… it’s a constant fight to see the good within the struggles.)

Whatever it is you’re looking for this holiday season, I hope you find it.

Whatever dreams you sow in the New Year, I hope you reap rich of the bliss of seeing them come true.

Above all I wish for myself in 2016, I wish you well; you who took the time to read to the end of this post through the rough parts and through the struggle.

I wish you better than well; I wish you the happiness that I sought, when 2015 was but a dream away.