Here’s a radical idea, for this time of year, in which reflection, and self-assessment, and goal-setting, seem so baked in that your failure to set a resolution might indicate some kind of deeper existential failure…
How about not making a resolution? How about not writing a list? How about just having a quiet cup of tea, going for a tromp in the snow, taking in the fireworks, or seeking the company of someone you love? Or someone you would like to get to know better?
Or, as the remarkable Kat Ast says, just choose to be kind and non-judgmental to yourself right now.
Here’s the thing: you can initiate change at any point in the year! It’s not as if this specific moment of the Earth’s orbit around the sun is the only window!
I asked Kat to reprise her role as our guestagrammer this week – a year after she took us behind the scenes of her little family’s life, at BC Children’s Hospital.
Last year, one year old Bo was having his third round of chemotherapy as treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. This Christmas, after spending 311 days living away from home, the Ast/Kindree crew are home.
I don’t necessarily find this week, from solstice to the turning of the New Year, to be the easiest. I figured that thinking about Kat and Jeff and Bo now and then would help keep my willingness to wallow in check.
My other admittedly selfish reason (it’s all selfish, I admit it fully), was because I am secretly in love with Bo who I think is the most adorable kid in the world, and I even though I only know of these guys, through mutual friends, through instagram, I wanted to wrap my best energy around them, and if they were official instagrammers, that would be less creepy than me stalking them on their own instagram accounts and sending love-hearts…
Also I figured, if we were going to share stories over the Christmas week on our instagram account, I’d rather tune in to someone who could keep it real, than someone who might feel pressured to fill the account with jolliness, because, you know, that’s kind of what we expect Christmas to be.
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Another side effect of the immune suppressant drug is hairiness and darkening of the hair (but that could also be from the chemo). Bo’s Dad, a very hairy dude 🧔🏻, is pretty stoked on his back hair b/c up until transplant Bo was my twin 👯♀️. At first his new dark hair felt like an unwelcome reminder of all that he’s been through. I’ve come to a much deeper place of acceptance around his cancer since the last time he went into remission. All the best to everyone in these in between days (the time between Xmas and NYE) that can be heavy. Year end reflection can bring up a lot of self criticism and pressure to make changes for the new year, as if you can’t make changes at any point in the year? What if you ignored the NY resolution mentality and chose to be kind and non judgmental to yourself right now instead? Maybe even think about what you are proud of from the past year.✌🏻
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What’s your favourite way to take care of yourself around the holidays?💆♀️ I’m an introvert and have always found the holidays overwhelming. Bo is a super social lil dude, but at one point last night he even needed a little solo/mama time break before getting back to partying hard! One of many big learnings for me from this year was that self care can be so simple!!! -take an extra long shower🚿(or even just A shower!) -sit down to drink a whole cup of tea☕️ -take three deep breaths (*bonus if you can do so outdoors🌲). We are thinking about some very special kids and families today and remembering how hard it is to be in the hospital over the holidays when all of a sudden everything feels a bit off…your regular medical team is on vacation…tests take longer…the vibe somehow shifts and leaves you feeling uneasy. It was thanksgiving weekend 2017 when Bo was first diagnosed and I couldn’t understand when they told me we may have to wait until after the holiday for certain very important measures Bo needed to happen, sorry, what?!😡 I remember thinking it seemed so unreasonable and being so resentful of holidays!😤 Holidays surely don’t exist in hospitals and especially not when it’s my baby in crisis?! Reflecting back now I can see that everyone needs a break and they took superb care of Bo always, thank you BCCH!!! 😅 Much love and light to all! 🎅🎄💓❄️✨☀️🌈🌝☃️
That might be the problem all along.
Those expectations. And the way they misalign with the moments we’re living.
Kat’s wise words this week – as well as glimpses at the obvious hard work and commitment they put in to being a family, and to celebrating each other and what they have – have offered the most grounding nudges to me…
Self-care is important and can be simple. Take a shower. Drink a cup of tea. Take some deep breaths, ideally out of doors. Be kind to yourself. And from this anchoring, good things will ripple forth.
Some lovely things I’ve encountered this year, have suggested that it’s not resolve that we need, in order to progress or improve or self-actualize… it’s attention and curiosity. Just be curious, and pay attention, be kind, and see where it goes. Now, how about that cuppa?