(image text: "Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one." -Brad Paisley)

(image text: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” -Brad Paisley)

If there ever was a year I was ready to be rid of, it would be 2016. I’m so done with it, I can’t even begin to tell you. But I haven’t been optimistic about 2017 either.

2016 will always be the year my mom got diagnosed with acute leukemia. 2017, according to everything her doctors predict, will be the year she dies. Cheery, right?

Before May 2016, when my mom got diagnosed, I thought 2016 would be the year I finally graduated college. (I did graduate. I got my diploma while my mom was in the hospital.) But as soon as I heard the words chemo, cancer, death, etc., suddenly my accomplishment felt very small. By the end of the year I’d almost forgotten that this was the year I graduated college. Seriously. I was cleaning up some things in my desk trying to get my tax stuff together (ugh) and was like “Oh, here’s the envelope my diploma came in.”

I wish I was more unrealistically optimistic. Some people are. I envy them.

I have to work very hard at changing my mindset to one that won’t lead me down the dark road I’ve been down too many times. Granted, right now I have more valid reasons for logically feeling that way. But that doesn’t help.

I don’t want to constantly dwell on dread. I want to get back to feeling halfway alive. After all, I will be forced to go on living even after my mom dies, and she’s not dead yet. I keep telling myself I’ll survive somehow. But it’s a lot of work for me to train my brain to even think it’s possible that I won’t have a completely suicidal breakdown when the time comes. Seriously, a lot of work. Work I haven’t had the energy for in 2016.

I want 2017 to be different. There are things I can’t control, like when someone dies or what happens to that person in the meantime. But there are a lot of things I can control, like what I focus my energy on and how deep into a hole I allow myself to get with the choices I make. I can force myself to shower, for example, or not spend two weeks feeding the imaginary scenarios that play in my head or constantly remind myself how horrible of a daughter I have been.

So in that sense, I am looking forward to the first blank page of 2017. Even though I logically know that we can all start over fresh at any moment of any day, a new year seems like a better inspiration for me to do it.

I want to make each day count. I want to have something from each day I can remember, so that each day can be known for something. Instead of “the year of doom” maybe I could look back and say “but this day here, that was good for ….”. It’s worth a try.