New Year’s Resolutions From A Thirty-Year Crohn’s Patient

In 2020, many of us had lofty plans. Sadly, in many cases, these plans were totally shattered. Careers were put on hold, relationships scrapped, health suffered. Some lost those closest to them. Others found it difficult to maintain sanity.

As hard as this period has been, this time of quarantine and social distancing has offered us certain benefits. One benefit, in my case, is it forced me to adapt more readily to my circumstances.

Letting go of control

The feeling of being cool with losing control and surrendering can have spiritual benefits. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some new-age guru who has it all figured out. It’s just I’ve come to have a deeper understanding of that John Lennon quote: “life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.”

In fact, because the challenges wrought by 2020 were so difficult, I decided I’m not going to make any resolutions this year. I’d rather not put that kind of pressure on myself. To hell with it! I’m good enough as I am! I survived a difficult bout with COVID-19 and various other struggles so I’m already ahead of the game!

We can't be so hard on ourselves

Crohn’s disease in itself can be very tough. As we all know, it requires a great deal of self-care and patience. It can be quite stressful. Throw in a deadly pandemic, riots, civil unrest, financial challenges, and avoiding resolutions for 2021 seemed a savvy move.

Of course, all that being said, I'm still going to try to make the best of matters, improve relationships, and work towards personal goals. But I try to do all that anyway, not to meet some arbitrary goal but because it is in me to do so.

The key thing I'm trying to emphasize is for 2021 I think it’s important for Crohn's sufferers TO GO EASY ON OURSELVES. We have a success-fixated culture. A goal-driven, status-oriented society.

Everything had to be quantified and tangible...even our New Year's Resolutions. Maybe this year we should give ourselves a break. Just be happy to still be here. Maybe that can help us more than anything else!

Life is complicated

After all, the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is life's not always so direct and straightforward. It's often messy, complicated, layered.

Besides, at times we might accomplish most by just sitting in meditation, or, yes, even just vegetating to mindless reality TV. This year I watched a lot of “90 Day Fiancé.” The show is as rudimentary as it gets, but sometimes that is what we need a little of to get through the day.

Bukowski once wrote: “drink from the well of yourself and begin again.” Yes, perhaps one of the best ways to get where we need to go is to give ourselves downtime.

Self-care and downtime is important

This is also a key to health with an autoimmune disorder. Adequate rest. Space for joy and fun. Above all, particularly when sick, it's important to not push ourselves too hard.

If the path is really there for us, we will get what we need to be done...at some point. We all have great potential in spite of how harrowing our disease may be. As long as we really focus, and don’t give up, there is no telling what we can accomplish. Thanks for reading, and, as always, feel free to comment below.

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