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A Realistic New Year for Caregivers

I can't help but compare each new year with a fresh tablet of paper. As a child, I loved the blank promise of that fresh pad of paper. Pointy new crayons and new pencils, freshly sharpened, also promised perfection. 

That perfection was brief, of course. Quickly, I'd write something and not be happy with it. I'd erase and then smudge the once pristine paper. Often, I'd tear out the page, crumple it and toss it away. After the first, errant smudge, life was back to its imperfect normal.

The New Year is rather like this for me. Briefly, I love writing or typing in that shiny new number. This year, as I replace 2014 with 2015, it will feel good. The old year hasn't been particularly easy. However, when I look at lessons learned, some of them the hard way, I know I've grown. Therefore, both joys and sorrows of the year past have a positive effect on my life, even though sometimes I have to search for the silver lining in the cloud.

So it is with most of us. We have our good days and our not so good days. We, as caregivers, have reason to be proud of our understanding ways, our gestures of love, our sacrifices for the good of someone else. However, we caregivers far too often feel guilt ridden. We didn't say the right thing at the right time. We should have done something differently. We wish we'd remembered to do more of something else. 

We are human. We'll feel good on some days and not so good on others. We'll have joys and sorrows in 2015 just as we did in 2014. However, if we learn from it all, we will be better people as well as better caregivers. And that, my friends, is what life is about. 

Take care of your loved ones in 2015. But don't forget to take care of yourself, as well. If you are human, you'll smudge up that new year pretty quickly. But you can take that smudge, and instead of crumpling it up and tossing it away as a blunder, you can work on making it a thing of beauty. Let the tough lessons settle a bit, and then look at yourself. Work on changing what you truly don't like but don't forget to enjoy how you've grown as a human being.

This piece is an updated version on one I wrote for New Year's Day in 2009. Wishing you a realistically wonderful New Year with your share of joy and growth.



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I'm glad it helped, Craig. We have to go easy on ourselves. Great joy isn't likely when we are coping with such difficult situations. However, trying to take care of ourselves does help.

Thanks for your comment and all of your supportive communication.

This is great advice, Carol. I will do my best to remember it in this new year.

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