I'm staring down at my keyboard with so many thoughts in my head. They all want to escape all at once, and not at at all at the same time. The last few months have been especially difficult, but if I'm being honest, the last year as a whole was incredible in all of the wrong ways.
A short summary I think would be a good way to approach this.... In the last year: I had two traumatic miscarriages, I had appendicitis, a quarter sized tumor taken out of my mouth, and crippling anxiety due to all of the unexpected health issues I was faced with.
I know everyone has health problems at one point or another, but experiencing all that I did in such a short amount of time felt like I was constantly trying to navigate a troubled ocean and coming up short every time, so therefore I'd constantly fall off the boat and begin to drown.
I felt like I was drowning when I had my miscarriages, the story I first wrote about on here and the one that has garnered the most public attention. I felt like I was drowning when my appendix decided to explode on me the day after I had started a new job I was excited for. I felt like I couldn't breathe, like I'd never find my footing again after my oral surgeon told me that the lump on the roof of my mouth was a tumor and needed to be removed.
Have you ever walked around thinking you have cancer for an entire week and a half? It's an awful feeling. I was incredibly lucky, and therefore extremely grateful that the tumor turned out to be benign and I have a follow up in a few months instead of scheduling chemotherapy or radiation appointments like I was terrified would be next on my to do list.
Every time something else crazy would happen to me, I would honestly start laughing, which would immediately be followed by the most ridiculous bout of crying, which would then be followed by me feeling sorry for myself for hours and then watching an episode of Game of Thrones or reading a new book to try and cheer myself up.
I understand everything that happened last year was manageable as a whole picture, but in the thick of it, it felt like Life had a personal vendetta against me, like I had a target on my back and with every shot Life took at me, I could feel the target dig deeper and deeper into my skin.
I don't understand why last year was as challenging as it was, but I understand the way it has changed my perspective on life and the things that I hold most dear. And that's what I wanted to talk about the most today.
A few days ago, I went to an escape room with a group of friends and had the most fun evening I've had in a long time. It was one for the books, without a doubt. But after I got home and started telling my husband about the night I had, he stopped me and told me that a local police officer had been killed in a shooting just a block away from where I had been.
My blood ran cold and my mind immediately jumped to his family, his parents, maybe his wife or kids if he had them. Then me being an EMT myself, my mind moved onto the first responders and the medical personnel at the hospital who tried tirelessly to save his life. Then my heart filled with fear as I realized how close I had been to witnessing a tragedy like that.
I checked my local police department Facebook page, followed by any news articles I could find about the tragedy and then I closed my eyes and let myself grieve this police officer I had never had the pleasure of knowing.
Suddenly, my trials and my anxieties didn't feel like they mattered quite as much. There's something about the finality of death and the suddenness of it sometimes that humbles you. I'm sitting here in the comfort of my own home, breathing, thinking, living... And that police officer is not. He had a family, and now they are heartbroken. My heart is with them.
I know that our every day problems, trials and insecurities are important. I know that they matter. I know that the pain I have experienced in the my life, and in particular this last year, matters. I know that if I have a bad day, or if my anxiety gets the better of me every now and then, it's okay.
But when you stop and look around you, what do you see? If you see walls sheltering you from the outside elements, if you see food in your fridge or a warm bed to sleep in, you're already more fortunate than so much of the world. If you have your health, you're more fortunate than so much of the world. If you are alive and breathing right in this moment, you are lucky.
I know that I will drown sometimes. I have no idea if this year will be any better than last year, but I know that I can swim. I can swim like my life depends on it, and I can swim like I see the shore even if I don't quite yet. I can paddle and find life lines, I can look for the horizon and hold onto the golden sun as I navigate my way along.
I know I can wade on my back for a while if my legs get too tired and I know if I try hard enough, if I use the right tools, I will make it to shore. I want you to know that you will too. I want you to know that there are people in this world who love you and want you to be happy. I want you to be happy. We all deserve that.
When the clock struck midnight and the year finally turned into 2019, I felt a weight leave my shoulders, I felt myself release the breath I think I had been holding all year, and I closed my eyes for a moment and relaxed. I smiled and opened my eyes and set my jaw, ready to tackle this new year. There's something healing about a new beginning.
The art of letting go, and letting in is a delicate one. This year my New Year's resolution is to live and not just be alive. To be thankful and not ungrateful. To keep my family and friends close to me. To swim.