A Word for the New Year
A huge part of bringing in the new year is buying a new calendar, a new journal, a copy of the book you have vowed to read, or a working scale — one that tips in your favor and not against it when counting those unwanted pounds.
The first days of a new year are filled with good intentions, great ideas, and go-get-’em goals. We tend to get excited about changing things, only to disappoint ourselves by not meeting those well-intentioned goals.
I think keeping resolutions is more difficult for a person with a chronic disease. Each day is so unpredictable. When you open your eyes in the morning, you aren’t sure whether today will be harder, the same, or better than yesterday. Some days envelop all three states of mind.
It’s easier to keep one resolution than 101. While you may feel ambitious, one resolution is more realistic.
For a person with a Type A personality, making a list of resolutions is natural. But having Parkinson’s disease and being a Type A personality may be a recipe for failure. We want to make our list and check it off twice. We want all our ducks in a row when New Year’s Day rolls around so we can start out a champion. But by Day Four, we are tearing up our list and giving up — the ritual of years gone by.
Several years ago, I heard about someone who chose one word that encapsulated the essence of what they wanted to change in their life instead of making resolutions. Not an easy word like “loving” — something more specific, more individualistic. Something like patience, forgiveness, or perseverance.
How often do we feel like giving up? What we need at that moment is the persistence and determination to keep moving forward. Perseverance.
And how often do we become impatient with our caregivers, or our caregivers with us? We often hear that patience is a virtue. It is a quality for which we should want to strive. We should practice patience whenever and however we are able. “To strive for the ability to accept trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset,” as Webster’s dictionary says. I would alter that by changing “getting angry or upset” to “staying angry or upset.” Patience can be endurance in a difficult situation, or showing self-restraint toward someone who is driving you crazy.
We should also strive to practice forgiveness. Pardon others for the wrong they have done. Not because they deserve it, but because it is good for our health. It is healing. It promotes healthier relationships, improves mental health, creates less stress, lowers blood pressure, creates fewer symptoms of depression, improves heart health and self-esteem, and builds a stronger immune system. With those advantages, who wouldn’t want to forgive?
Maybe in 2020 we should nix the list and find that one quality — that one word — to concentrate on for the year. Instead of making a list of 101 things we want to change but won’t, let’s choose one and accomplish much despite having Parkinson’s disease.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.