Each year, the New Year forces me to evaluate the past and look towards the future in a more serious way. And I don’t think I’m alone on this. We all pause to reflect and review, and with hopeful optimism determine next year will bring more.
2016, in all fairness, has an easy shot at outperforming 2015. I had a rough year: I had a terrible falling out with a long-term friend; I broke my hip running; and, less than a week after being cleared for the hip, I was hit by a car while crossing the street on a crosswalk with the walk sign in broad daylight.
But there’s more to my year than what is above. So much more. More friends, more adventures, a lot of laughs, a new appreciation for family, friends, and health. And through it all, I’ve learned and grown a lot. In particular, I come into 2016 with a renewed sense of gratitude.
Over time, the small details, like the ones that made 2015 great, get lost to the broad brushstrokes, like the ones that made 2015 not so great. So I hope by writing down my biggest takeaway, when I look back at this year I’ll be able to remember why 2015 wasn’t so bad after all.
What I learned in 2015 was simply appreciate what you can do.
On March 16, I bought fresh flowers and put them in a vase filled with water on my coffee table. The next day I broke my hip and was soon on crutches. With my hands occupied, I couldn’t carry anything while also managing to walk, aside from a small bag. You’d think the most depressing part of breaking a bone is the feeling of missing out with your friends. It wasn’t though, at least for me. The most depressing part was watching those flowers die as the water in that vase evaporated little by little each day. The distance between my coffee table and my kitchen is maybe 15 feet. And yet, it could have been a football stadium. I wasn’t able to carry water and help the flowers dying in front of me. Watching those flowers die became some sort of terrible metaphor for my current state of affairs. And despite the fact that I was going to make a full recovery or that everything else physically was okay, I was consumed by what I couldn’t do.
When I got better, I was eager to get life back to normal as quickly as possible. I wanted to move forward and not look back. I was tired of missing out. It took a worse injury for me to realize, there was so much I could do during that period of time that I took for granted. After all, I was able to go outside, to shower without help, to go about daily life without my mother needing to take 3 weeks off to care for me. I learned that if you focus on and be appreciative of what you can do recovery is a whole lot better.
While I would rather have not been broken for the majority of 2015, I do think I am wiser because of it. I enter 2016 knowing full well that the can’t will drown you if you let it. You have to focus on and appreciate what you can do. It’s the best anyone can do after all.