By Dr Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor
New Year in, old year out, life will go on round and about.
Many times, when life changes and unfortunate circumstances happen, we tend to focus on what we are losing, what is gone, or how things are different. Despite our present conditions and the losses that have happened last year – the death of loved ones, a divorce, job cuts, increased tensions in our homes – life is not going to stop happening.
When these life events happen, we are presented with a new opportunity to deal with what we are given, OR we can choose to let our conditions deal with us. Read that again.
A year has gone, a new year begins, and life goes on whether you choose to move on or stay stuck in the past.
Life goes on after sorrow, and in spite of sorrow.
Life goes on after a breakup and a mishap.
Life goes on even when you think it can’t, even when you don’t especially want it to.
Suppose you stop writing, painting, working, laughing, believing in God? Haven’t you survived before? Won’t you survive again? Within the ebb and flow of life is the inevitable cycle of death and rebirth. Whatever has shifted or changed in your life, also marks the beginning of something new that will happen.
I have always liked the imagery of a new morning that comes after the night. We can’t stop the new day from happening even if we wanted. But it is a new day, a new year, a fresh start, another chance to make things right in our lives, to set aside past hurts, to forgive ourselves for being so stupid, to be kinder to those we love, to love ourselves more.
So, friends have left you, trusted loved ones have disappointed you, and you are stuck in your pain – pain that has clung to you and won’t leave you. And you can’t stop the crying and the hurt and the shame and the loneliness. You wear it like a cloak that suffocates you.
But the morning comes again, my friend. Let them leave. Cut the strings that continue to hurt you. People change. Friends become enemies. Love hurts. Things go wrong that we can never fix again. Leave it alone.
Life will go on, with or without you. We are here to add to this world, not just to take from it. Choose to be a part of this journey.
If you have lost someone dear to you, it can be difficult to move on from this grief. You want to hold on to it, because moving on without a loved one seems like a betrayal at times. You are alive, and they are not.
But what would your loved one want you to do? You must grieve and you will pause for a while – you grieve because you have loved that person. It’s okay to fall apart for a while – stop pretending that you are strong and holding it in.
You don’t have to prove to anyone that all is going well all of the time. Take your time but take care of yourself, too.
Breathe deeply. Eat. Sleep. One day at a time.
Small steps. Big steps. Small pain. Big pain.
Cry. Laugh. Read a book. Light a candle for them.
Remember the moments and cry again. Then laugh. Step into the sunlight and take a deep breath. Life goes on and life needs you to be a part of it – as unstable and misshapen as you are.
And what about those people that are in your life right now? How do you keep going when you have given it all you’ve got? How do you keep loving that person who makes you miserable, who cuts you down to pieces when you do the best that you can?
Stop living your life on their terms, on what they feel you should be doing with your life. Walk away! Stop worrying about who likes you or dislikes you or who supports you. Don’t let them break you down.
You have important things to do with your life –life is happening. Close the door on those who continue to hurt you – seek help if you can. Tell someone you trust. But sometimes, you are all that you’ve got. And that’s okay too.
For this new year, create the life that you want. Spend time thinking about what matters most to you and this can help you find meaning in your life and figure out what you want to do with your time and energy.
Stop the dreaming and begin the living.
Believe in yourself.
Live a good life, one that you can be proud of, because life will go on.
Happy New Year 2023. Take care. Be safe.