The New Year's Resolution That Will Change Your Outlook on Life

new yearI don't know about you, but I've been thinking it would be easy enough to say that 2012 already sucks and go lie in bed for a week. It would be a bit dramatic, but hey, it's been a rough start to a new year. I woke Sunday morning to a flood beneath my kitchen sink, and this morning my dear cat died. But then something else happened.

The universe sent me a message. OK, technically it was my editor, who was sharing an inspiring post written by sometime The Stir blogger Jenny Lawson, better known as The Bloggess. But the point is, when I felt like throwing in the towel, I got just the right message to make 2012 seem survivable for all us pessimists.

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Working her way through depression, Jenny has decided to stop focusing on the fact that she has depression. Instead, she's going to celebrate the fact that's surviving despite the depression:

I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger. We learn new tricks on the battlefield. We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them. We don’t struggle in vain.

A fellow depression sufferer (I feel like we should have buttons made up, or maybe badges like the Scouts -- this is my "I learned not to bury my feelings in a box of brownie mix" badge), her words gave me pause today, the third day of January. Because up until I read them, I was wallowing like a mo'fo. Did I mention my cat just died? And my 6-year-old spent her recess drawing notes to stick in the coffin that my husband and I will have to build? I cut a pretty pathetic figure today.

I could wax on about how Jenny is making me appreciate my depression and love my soul for being able to wage a fight against the dark forces. But that would be a bunch of crap. Fact is, I am a big fan of the psychiatrist's little prescription pad for this big dark mess that swirls around my head. And I still want to cry and throw things at the universe for taking my cat on a Tuesday morning when I had to get a kid on the bus. 

No, what Jenny's ability to fight a winning battle against her demons did was remind me that it's OK to be down today. But it's not OK to take a few lemons and throw the big glass of lemonade on the whole calendar.

Life is about taking small steps, biting off just what we can chew. And taking on the weight of a whole year in a few days is not a small step.

So here's the plan, my new year's resolution: do what I can, and take comfort in that. Wallow if I have to, but do that in small increments too.

So I can't actually fix the sink myself? OK, I can pull everything out from under it, sop up the water, and not use the thing until my husband gets the plumbing figured out. See -- small victories. Can't make my cat come back? No, but I can remind myself that we took an abandoned kitty out of a store shopping cart and gave her a warm home with plenty of food and love.

Surviving 2012 doesn't mean mapping out all 366 days in advance. We only get one at a time. Hopefully there will be more good ones than bad.

What's your grand plan to make it through 2012?

 

Image via Creativity103/Flickr

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