This year, I resolve to prioritize the fucks that I give. I will give fewer fucks about the things that don’t matter so that I can give a fuck about the things that do.
Here we are on the first day of 2017. It isn’t any different than the last day of 2016. Nothing has changed. Calling it a new year doesn’t make this day different than any day in the last year. But for widows (or anyone grieving a deep loss), there is something dramatically painful about entering a new year alone. It feels oddly like crossing a threshold into a new plane in life while reaching out for the one you love, hoping that they will grab your hand and come with you but knowing that they can’t. It feels like leaving them behind, but you can’t stop it.
For many of you, this last year has been the worst year of your life. For me, that awful year was 2015. Last year, ringing in 2016 was hard but it didn’t hit me right away. It was after I woke up on New Years Day when I realized that I have now entered into a year that my husband never lived to see. He died in 2015 and I didn’t want to leave that year, I didn’t want to leave him behind. But I didn’t have a choice. Because when you are handed such shitty circumstances you have to do the only thing you can do: just keep moving. Don’t stop. So now this new year has come. And whether you entered it against your will or you let it take you, you are now in this new year. The year your husband or wife, fiancé, child, friend… never lived long enough to see.
I recently read a book called “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck” by Mark Manson (you should check it out if that is your thing, I highly recommend it). This book talks about re-prioritizing your values in life, getting rid of the fucks you give about things that you can’t control – and therefore don’t truly matter – and give more fucks about the things you CAN control. If you are reading this then, most likely, you are going through some pretty rotten circumstances or you know someone who is. Mark Manson is profoundly insightful about the way we experience life. In his book he writes, “You can’t choose the things that happen to you in life, but you can choose how you handle it.”
You didn’t choose this. You didn’t want this. You planned on celebrating all of these holidays and milestones with the people you love most. But life happened anyway. Death happened anyway. And it happened to you. You didn’t choose for this to happen, it happened TO you. But you do get to choose how you handle this shitty hand you’ve been dealt. This is your 7-2 off suite (poker reference: this is considered the worst hand in Texas Hold’em) and now you have to choose – do you throw up your hands and fold? Do you get angry that you were dealt these shitty cards and therefore cannot possibly win this hand? Or do you try anyway, knowing that you will probably lose, but that whatever, at least you tried? For me, I will play. I will try – because fuck it, that’s why. What the fuck do I have to lose? I have already lost my husband and giving in or giving up will not bring him back, nor would it solve any problems. It would simply violate my own values. So how do I move forward? How have I made it this far and remained relatively emotionally healthy? I don’t know, I just did. I decided that I WILL be emotionally intact and healthy, and so I am. I will live a good life. I am not quite sure that the “how” matters as much as the fact that I have decided it to be so. I am also not sure that I am right about anything that I’m saying here at all.
“If there is no reason to do something, then there must also be no reason to NOT do something,” – Mark Manson.
There will continue to be pain and sorrow. You will continue to miss them forever. You will always love them. So let life back into your heart. Make it a goal to make it through this BECAUSE of the one you hurt for. 2017 has come without your permission or approval. Life will keep coming, the world will keep turning, the sun will rise and set each and every day. So live in their honor, don’t drown in their death. You can let life in or you can shut it out. Live because they lived or drown because they died. You get to make this choice.
For me, I have decided that 2017 will be the year that I start to live again. What does that mean? Who the fuck knows… I don’t! But I will accept that long term stagnation is not a viable plan if I ever want to be “normal” or happy. This year I will prioritize my fucks.