The thing about anniversaries and birthdays is that they make us take stock of where we are and where we've come from. I always liked that. But wait, it might also be because I like parties (it runs in the family). Maybe that's why I dreaded the 'one year' date, because I feared that when I looked back all I would see was the pain, and when I looked forward I wouldn't have hope for improvement. Here's the thing that I've figured out though, that life is not a zero sum game. That it's never just good or bad, but always this smattering of column a, column b and all kinds of in between. This past year was the hardest year of my life. When I think about that, my eyes sting with tears. But guess what else, I got married to a wonderful person surrounded by this community of people who lift me up. Also, I learned to meditate. I reconnected with creativity through writing, drawing and painting. I managed to read over 25 books, within a limit of a maximum of 30 minutes a day. I appreciated time outside by the river, walking the dog.
Have you heard of equanimity? It's still new to me, and seems to have many definitions. Within the Buddhist tradition it's a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight. Another definition is that it's a mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situations. Sounds dreamy. Sometimes I I strive for this state, but other times I think this doesn't necessarily reflect who I am. Let's be honest, I have the capacity to be calm, but I definitely feel intensely the highs and lows. I laugh loud and cry hard. I don't want to change that, but instead want to make sure that I make space for the in between, and continue to be a student of calm and balance.
This might sound obvious, but it's amazing how much better things look when you are viewing your situation through a lens of hope. If you had told me when I got injured that I would still be struggling one year later (like the many people who talked about all these "had a concussion friends"), that I still wouldn't be working, that I would still feel pain at some point every day, I would have wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. But I've shed the urgency of wanting to get back to exactly where I was (most of the time...eep!). People talk about recovery vs. resilience. That recovery suggests trying to return or recover the life that you had. That instead resilience is more focused on the strength that you build from going through these experiences. (I know, I know, I'm edging very close to the realm of hashtag inspiration, quote of the day territory, but stay with me!). A good friend sent me a text early on that said "one thing we know for certain is that you my friend are resilient", that was the boost I needed - I thought, if someone else thinks so, then it must be true!
Here's the good news: no one has the monopoly on resiliency. So consider this my reminder to you, whenever you might be going through a difficult time, that you, my friend, are resilient.