Saturday, December 28, 2013

This Time Next Year

It's that time of year. The calendar rolls over to January and suddenly it's time to start thinking about life changes. Even if you're not into official New Years resolutions, there's something about a fresh new year, that brand new calendar page, that inspires change.

Maybe this year I can do it, you think. Maybe this is the year you will find the courage to do what needs to be done, to get the life you've dreamed of. I'm not talking about moving to the Caribbean and living on the beach. I'm talking about the more personal things. The things that have the potential to change your life in big ways, if you'll only commit, truly commit to doing them.

Maybe it's getting the courage to start working on a marriage that has changed a bit too much since the vows were whispered in a big beautiful church.  Maybe it's getting serious about all of those promises you make to your doctor, about how you'll eat better, and get your wimpy heart some exercise on a regular basis. Or maybe it's getting your messy finances in order and not having to cringe every time you open the mailbox, because you fear the stack of bills that hangs out in it's dark interior.

Because I feel your pain, I am going to help you out. I'm going to let you borrow a phrase that has helped me face some pretty big life moments. I've never run a marathon or lost a hundred pounds. But I did have my left foot cut off. There's that.

After living with a deformed foot for most of my life, and never being able to run or jump, I got rid of my left foot just about ten years ago.  

On January 12, 2014 my family will celebrate the ten year anniversary of the day mom got rid of her old foot and started over in life with one that works. It happens to be metal, but it works so much better than the one I got rid of.

And it wasn't easy. It was as scary as you'd imagine. There were months in bed, waiting for stitches to heal. At the time my kids were ages 3, 7, 11 and 12. I had to find a way to be their mom on one leg, until my limb was ready to accept the prosthetic leg. That's when I pulled out my handy life mantra. Are you ready to hear it?

This time next year.

It's as simple as that. I concentrated on this time next year. If I was patient, and did what I had to do to move forward in my recovery, my life would be very different this time next year.

This time next week, and even this time next month, not much would be different. I'd still be in the trenches, working hard to reach my goals. But this time next year? A lot would be different
And sure enough, a year after my amputation surgery, I was on a mountain in Park City, getting my first ski lesson. I never imagined I'd be able to share the slopes with my ski loving children and my black slope loving husband. That deformed foot just wouldn't work right in a ski boot.

But in January of 2005, I was on those slopes, making my way down the hill.

This time next year.

That wasn't the first major life event I used my handy phrase. Back in the summer of 1996 we had a baby boy join our family who was not well. The doctors were baffled by his symptoms and every day our newborn grew weaker and more dehydrated. As I rocked away our days in that small, dark hospital room, waiting for our magic answer, I repeated that phrase to myself.

This time next year.

This time next year I would either be chasing around a healthy little boy who had just learned to walk and was trying his best to keep up with his big brother and sister. Or this time next year we'd talk about the baby we buried and honor the date we lost him by visiting a tiny gravestone. I had no idea which scenario I would be living out, but I knew that by this time next year it would all be resolved.

The pain I was feeling, as I cradled my delicate newborn, would eventually have an end, and life would go on.

Fortunately our family was one of the lucky ones. By the summer of 1997 we celebrated Isaac's first birthday and gave some extra thank you prayers to God, feeling so lucky that we got to keep him. Today he towers over all of us, at six feet five inches tall. 

My this time next year boy.

So this year decide what you need to change. Really think about what needs to be different, so that you can live a better life. And then dive in. Jump in with both feet and don't expect changes to come instantly. Plug away and do what has to be done. In the back of your mind you can chant my mantra. This time next year.

Actively think about what your life could look like if you really stuck to your promise. How much richer, less stressed, healthier, more peaceful could your life be, if you just hung on until this time next year?

Make this the year you do it. And don't stop imagining what your world could look like.

This time next year.