Today my youngest son graduated from kindergarden. I have shed so many tears this morning, when I saw my two year old boy amongst his buddies, receiving his “diploma”, some sweets and his graduation hat. Three years ago, I was not even sure whether I would be alive in 2018 … and it was uncertain whether I would be able to keep my baby.
All my life long it has been my motto to try everything at least once. To risk everything once – although I might not do it a second time if it is too frightening. When I talked about my ideas with others, I always mentioned skydiving as an example of something I would do without hesitation. I have never done it though. Not yet.
What about your New Year’s resolutions? Do you usually get very far? Do they last for the whole year, are they forgotten after a few months or even a week? According to the statistics, less than ten percent achieve what they initially wanted, that’s a bit scary. Naturally, as a chronic illness warrior I have lots of goals to set each New Year’s Eve. I revise my energy, physical abilities, potential risks and possibilities. Some of my resolutions are health-related – they concern special diets and workouts. Others have to do with the way I combine my private and professional life. Will I get far with my brand new resolutions? No idea. Still: I have a word of comfort for you.
A few years ago, I would have defined “achievement” in a different way. Being chronically ill, I have learned to set my goals with greater flexibility. Looking back at this year which is soon going to end, I see that I have done all the things that I wanted to do, although I had to alter my schedule various times.
Twenty years ago, not only Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died. A few days before, my childhood friend Nathalie had been killed in a car accident. I remember watching endless reports about Diana and Dodi’s fatal crash thinking about Nathalie. She was the first to go…the first one of my generation.
Today, on my 43rd birthday, I would like to tell you about two amazing experiences I had when I recently traveled through India. Both of them were extremely physical. One of them made me aware of cultural differences in our attitude towards death. The other one gave me insights about the poorest of the poor – and how the other half dies.
No matter if you have a partner or you don’t, if you have children or you don’t, if you are surrounded by many friends or just a few – the battle against chronic disease and terminal illness will have to be fought alone mostly. Like Sisyphus, you are rolling your burden up the hill, but have to watch it going down again. And just like Sisyphus, you can find happiness…