In 2012 and 2014 (I don’t know what happened to 2013), I wrote “3 Words” posts – a few choice words to guide me through the year. As much as I love the idea of the New Year as a blank slate and a time to start fresh, I’m just not feeling it this year.
At the end of 2013, I had 2 glorious weeks off. There were no office administrative hassles, no early-January manuscript or presentation deadlines, and I had time to garden, read, write, cook, and just be. I went into 2014 feeling rested, rejuvenated, and ready for the challenges and changes that I knew were waiting for me. On my second day back, while in the operating room, I received the news that my best friend had been killed in an accident the evening before. All of the New Years’ optimism was sucked out of me in an instant. 2 weeks later, I received notice that I was selected by the Nominating Committee to be the incoming President-Elect of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. It was unexpected and quite an honor. Completely opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.
I expected changes in 2014. And I got them. After nearly 20 years in private practice, I am now an employed physician. I thought it might be difficult giving up control of the practice that I struggled so hard to build, but it was the right move at the right time, and I’m fortunate that I can continue seeing patients in the style that I have become accustomed, while having additional opportunities for research and teaching. But change, even for the better, is stressful.
Change is a part of life. None of us stay the same physically, mentally, or spiritually throughout our lives, but the changes often occur gradually, so we have time to compensate and adjust – to the point we hardly notice the change at all. We expect significant life-altering change to come around only on occasion.
Having had a few days off and a little time to reflect on the year, I just don’t feel right about the clean slate thing right now. The change seems too abrupt. I could come up with new works, but the old ones still have meaning and inspire me. I already know I will have more change in 2015 – again, on balance all positive things, but I don’t feel I need to throw any new words into the mix.
But there is still something magical about the stroke of midnight, seeing a clean page on a calendar, and holding on to the hope that with another year of life-experience under my belt, I will have developed better decision-making and coping skills. And I do have a goal.
My goal for 2015 is to be more like my garden (hear me out…). The garden is constantly changing. It might look a little different year to year, but there is a definite cycle and that cycle amazes me. The change is effortless and without thought. I never worry in January that the snap peas are growing too slowly, because in March I will have enough to feed an army. Or not, if the weather doesn’t cooperate. I anticipate the first tomatoes of summer, but sometimes the June Gloom we experience here means only a puny supply. Nothing is alive in September – we’re often still in the high 90’s – but that’s ok – that’s the time to amend the soil, work in the compost, and get the dirt ready for the next generation. I can go with the flow in the garden. My goal for 2015 is to go with the flow a little better in life. Accept that change, even major change, is going to happen – ready or not. Figure out how to gracefully adjust.
I will still wish everyone a Happy New Year (and mean it!). But instead of 3 words, I’m going to review my garden album. Marvel and soak up the good stuff. And try to do the same in my non-garden life.