So, it’s a new year. And it’s a powerful element of our culture to begin the new year with reflection and pondering and consideration on how we might improve our lives through the coming year, and so we set goals. I respectfully confess that I’ve come to detest the very idea of “goals,” and I’m not even terribly fond of the word. I attribute this aversion mostly to my chronic health issues and other challenges that are completely beyond my control, but the result is that no amount of self-discipline or self-motivation will give me the physical strength (or lack of depression sometimes) to do anything beyond the bare minimum requirements of life. Losing weight is not possible with so many strange food restrictions and ongoing illness. Exercise amounts to having to go up and down the stairs in my house many times a day, but that’s all my muscles can handle. Getting organized (which I want to do desperately) just isn’t possible when doing what I absolutely HAVE to do wears me out completely. Hence, my quandary. But I want to back up a little . . .
I always find the days following Christmas to be strange, but it was more strange than usual this time. I love Christmas, and in spite of my limitations I put a great deal of effort into making it nice for my loved ones. I’m grateful for the help I get from certain family members and friends that helped pull it all together. I actually had some little miracles come about this Christmas that made the experience extra special. There was one deputy elf especially whose efforts were a greater blessing than she could ever imagine. I know you’re reading this, and you know I’m talking about you. Thank you!
Getting back on topic . . . once Christmas was over I felt some of the letdown that often happens when everything you’ve been preparing for weeks is suddenly over and done. But this was my last Christmas with a minor child, which means that my youngest child will be eighteen and graduated from high school. I became a mother thirty-five years ago on New Year’s Day, and now my official mothering days are almost over—even though we never stop being a mother. So, I found myself very weepy and feeling down the week after Christmas, which wasn’t helped by the fact that my body was giving me an especially difficult time. The Christmas tree had been removed from the house due to it being completely dead in spite of our diligently giving it water every day. The lights had come down. Empty boxes are everywhere needing to get to the recycling can. And while I was hearing people talking about their plans for New Year’s Eve, I knew I couldn’t even manage to stay up until . On top of that, there’s the goal thing, which brings us back to the pessimistic beginning of this missive.
The reality is that I have set many goals over the years and they have failed miserably—not usually due to my giving up or not being committed, but rather due to circumstances beyond my control. Which brings up the question: how can I strive to move forward in a positive way when life’s experiences have mostly taught me that no matter what I do or how hard I try the challenges of health and finances and disorder continue relentlessly—among other things. I even look back at my determination a year ago to write on this blog more consistently. For those of you who have followed me here, you know well enough how the entries became less frequent and then basically stopped. I can legitimately say that I was too ill or steeped in deadlines to feel like writing a blog post, but it still made me feel like I had failed at something I had been determined to do and do well.
Given all of this, I’ve been trying very hard to come up with a way to be more positive about beginning a new year with the hope that something will actually get better; to believe that 2017 might actually be the year that could bring the breakthrough with my health that my team of those in healing professions are assisting me with. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if 2017 could be the year when my book sales just took off and I was able to finally get out of debt and put some money away for retirement? I mean . . . the Horstberg Saga is just sitting there on amazon with great ratings, waiting to be discovered by the reading masses. I’ve put in the work, made the sacrifices, held onto my tenacity in spite of all of the challenges. It’s always my prayer that the law of the harvest might be manifested in my life—that what I have sown will bring a good harvest.
In the spirit of new beginnings, I have been searching my soul to consider what I might do better in the coming year. First of all, I had a conversation with a friend about my distaste of goals, and it brought me to the conclusion that I’m simply going to change the idea of a goal to that of an intention. So, I will hold to the intention to become healthier, to have more order in my home, and to attract abundance into my life so that I can be more financially secure. But I have to accept the great disclaimer, and this is the hard part: sometimes life just doesn’t go the way we want it to in spite of our very best efforts, and sometimes that means God has a different plan in mind for us. I know one thing for certain: I can’t see my life from God’s perspective, and I have no idea what He’s trying to make out of me. But discovering that could be a great adventure if I choose to look at it that way. Therefore, my greatest intention for 2017 is to trust in the Lord. I love what Nephi says about trusting in the Lord, and I love the scripture that tells us we should trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts and not lean unto our own understanding. I know for a fact that my understanding is puny and shortsighted; that’s just a fact of being human.
And so, I am drying my tears, putting away the Christmas decorations (with some help from my kids) and I’m going to take it one day at a time. I will strive to live in the present, be mindful of gratitude for all that’s good in my life, and look for moments of joy each day. I will remain committed to live in truth and be a woman with integrity. And I will focus on the intention of making life better, even if that’s only measured by incremental positive changes within my own spirit.
There’s a song by the Goo Goo Dolls that I love dearly; it’s full of hope and it can lift my spirits when I listen to it. It’s kind of Christmas song; here are a portion of the lyrics . . .
And you asked me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
'Cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
So take these words and sing out loud
'Cause everyone is forgiven now
'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again
Happy new year, everyone. Thank you for reading what I write, and for the prayers and love and support. I would LOVE to hear about your intentions for the coming year in the comments here or on my Facebook pages, and perhaps we can help encourage each other to keep moving forward. God bless, Anita
P.S. You can follow me on Twitter under Anita Stansfield, or on Instagram as @horstbergwriter