Thursday, 31 December 2015

My Caregiver New Year's Resolution for 2016

Happy New Year, everyone!

Yesterday, I happened upon an article titled '7 Habits of Chronically Unhappy People'.  It was number 5 that caught my eye: You Strive to Control Your Life.  Now, I'm a very happy person - I'm an optimist by nature.  But when I am unhappy, usually there's a control issue in the picture.  Here's what makes many caregivers miserable, including me:

There's a difference between control and striving to achieve our goals. Happy people take steps daily to achieve their goals, but realize in the end, there's very little control over what life throws their way.
Unhappy people tend to micromanage in effort to control all outcomes and fall apart in dramatic display when life throws a wrench in their plan. Happy people can be just as focused, yet still have the ability to go with the flow and not melt down when life delivers a curve-ball.
The key here is to be goal-oriented and focused, but allow room for letting sh*t happen without falling apart when the best laid plans go awry- because they will. Going with the flow is what happy people have as plan B.

I wouldn't say I melt down when life throws a curve ball at someone I love, but at the same time, I feel most at peace when I believe that I've put in place plans for 'any exigency' as my Mom would say.  I like it when my loved ones' to-do lists are all checked off.  That state of perfect care doesn't last more than hours or a day at the most, but I always believe it's always just around the corner if only I had more time, more energy or more foresight.

I know that my caregiving is fuelled by love and that I do the best I can.  So my New Year's resolution is to put aside my aspirations for perfection and trust in myself, in others and the fates to keep my loved ones safe and warm.  The business of balancing holding on and letting go is a tough one for caregivers, me included.  When life throws curve balls, we beat ourselves up for not anticipating or thwarting disaster.  This year, I'm determined to do better at being happy and going with the flow.  It's going to be my Plan B starting tomorrow.

Oh, and PS: I'm going to finish the book that I'm writing with Vickie Cammack! (But if curve balls come my way, I'll be OK with a delay in my publication date.)

May all your homes be filled with love, joy and gratitude throughout 2016.  Happy New Year!

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