“I think I can, I think I can” says the Little Engine That Could in the beloved children’s book and I know just how he feels. It is that time of the year when we’re plagued by germs, overloaded with work and struck by a general sense of exhaustion. When will the year end?
The first six months of 2017 are gone, never to be seen again. I saw a meme recently that stated simply: ‘Six months gone and nothing to show for it’. I began to think about my year thus far and how much, or how little, I have achieved – and what our readers might consider to be achievements. There is much to be thankful for if you have a roof over your head, a warm place to sleep and food in your belly. If you have a steady income, a family that loves you and friends who support you, you are better off – and luckier – than many people your community.
I am one of these lucky ones. No, I haven’t met my New Year’s (non)resolutions yet: I haven’t lost the weight I wanted to or been diligent enough with my physical and mental health; I haven’t spent enough time with my parents or made enough effort to build my relationship with my sister; I haven’t put myself out there to meet new people and take a risk on love. But I am not a slave to these personal promises that are pebbles on a path to regret and disappointment.
Instead, I try to apply the same big-picture thinking that serves me so well at work to my life away from the office. When I do this, I can appreciate that I have made it this far. I am reasonably sane and healthy; I have visited my mother at the rehabilitation centre and try to see my father when I can; I have taken care of my home, paid my bills and pampered the fur babies, and I have tried to find inspiration through exposure to new places and communication with the talented people in my field.
And now I’d like to remind you of what you have accomplished. You either became a parent or have children – or perhaps one is on the way? There is no greater achievement than that! You may be swamped by the drudgery of daily life, but don’t forget to take in the small moments and memorable milestones: the cuddle before bedtime, the smile when they see you fetching them after school, the tears they cry when only you can console them.
You may be halfway through the year, but you have only just begun your lifelong journey as a parent and, while nothing is guaranteed, tomorrow really is another day – to find love, learn a new skill, seek that promotion or discover new destinations. It is time we stop being so hard on ourselves for what we think we haven’t achieved and encourage each other to experience every day as an adventure that will make it into our fireside stories.
Are you willing to jump onboard the 2017 Express, or will you be left behind on the platform of despair?
By: Tracy Maher. Image: Jonathan Ball Publishers