A New Years Eve Visit from the Future –
With a new year, our thoughts are with resolutions, parties, and friends. I’ve banged pots and pans on the porch, shown my money to the moon, and prayed that these pagan rituals would bring prosperity for the next 12 months. I wonder what my friends are doing. If you are on treatment, you will probably fall into bed early. I like to spend the stroke of midnight in a way that some of you will consider a little loony. After a nice steak dinner, my house will go dark. The only illumination will be a dozen or so tea lights in my living room. While their soft glow makes flickering shadows on the walls, all will be silent. I have reasons for this reclusive behavior. I want to listen to me. In planning this evening, reflections on New Years past have been drifting in and out of my thoughts all month. If you have read much of my ramblings, you know that I have just outlived an expiration date. Hepatitis C, and cancer did not take a New Year from me. Rather, I like to think that it gave me even more reason to celebrate with a New Years Eve Visit from the Future.
Try this little exercise: I invite you to take a journey inward. Imagine the 90 year old you sitting in a chair. What advice would you give yourself? Go ahead and picture that sweet old you. A few more wrinkles and sags, hair that is thinner and gray. Your eyes twinkling with a wisdom that was born of battles won with sweet victory. Your hands may have a slight tremble, but are full of strength. Your voice may sound thinner, but can still sing your favorite song. Your arms have felt many embraces from cherub faced children and passionate lovers. Look at yourself and ask that cool, strong, non-judgmental you what he or she would tell you about yourself.
I think that older Karen would say something like, “Be kinder to yourself. Give yourself the grace that you would give to another in any situation”. I also think she would ask me what I wasted so much time worrying for. She would remind me that everything has worked out pretty good – and NONE of that was due to my anxiety. Her narrowed eyes hold secrets as she flatly states that stress never created one solution in the past and sure won’t in my future. She would remind me to chillax and to trust my loving Creator and the Universe that I live in. She would laugh at my mistakes and brag on me for taking a few risks.
Old Karen would nudge me with her elbow and give me a knowing look as she reminded me to ask for help a little more often. She would certainly be referring to my family and friends as she chided me for not wanting to be a burden. It will embarrass the fire out of me to hear her say that I had always been a blessing to them and not to cheat them out of giving back in return. But I would take it off of her. She knows me inside and out. I will jump when she stamps her foot and sternly tells me that all the energy I spent worrying about what others think was a pure waste of time. I know she will force me to look back to my childhood and see how even dysfunctional families produce loving children. Her gaze turns away from me.
I’ll follow her eyes, as she looks next to her, and then I see a little girl. It’s me. Little Karen too has a few things to say. Her big brown eyes will widen in surprise to see how she grew up and finally got a figure! She will be full of awe of at the dreams I had held for her and chased like toy balloons. I will wince when I have to tell her that many of those balloons got lost in the wind. I did capture many of her ideas and saw them safely to fruition. Some I gave up on. I’ll try to explain that having no support or being afraid of change made a coward of me at times. Her eyes may cloud over, but she will forgive me. She will also bring to mind the balloons that were still worth chasing. Some may have lost their way, got stuck in trees, or deflated and got buried under the piles of years gone by.
How can I disappoint her? She looks so fresh, young, and determined. Do I still have that determination? For little Karen, I will try and find those lost dreams. I can see some now. A flash of bright red balloon hidden from sight, a dirty yellow one, trampled now. Can such things be revived? Perhaps recycled? For that little girl with the thin, stringy brown hair, I would try. Yes, I will try. Every day is a new day. And a New Year is full of them. 365 to be exact. She turns to the old Karen and holds her hand and they both reach for mine. An innocent smile born of simple joy from my younger self. A bold smile of wisdom from my future self. A little circle of love. From me to me.
Maybe you are not the kind of person to take a mental journey like me. Your eyes may have just widened a little with thoughts like, “Whoa! Karen is a little out there.” That’s okay. I hope you can spend a few moments with your imagination.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
And some Pink Floyd Lyrics:
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
It may sound foolish, metaphysical, tripping, or kooky. If that is you, trim it down and create your own version. But just give it a try. Not for me. For you. Because I know that you have a future. I know you have a past. I know that many of your dreams have been fulfilled. I know that many have not. I know that your body has been dealt a terrible blow. It is working hard to support you. You are doing everything you can to help it remain stable and strong. Your mind has a hard time dealing with the reality of a hep c diagnosis and the side effects and symptoms associated with it. So, your best friend with hep c encourages you to listen to you. Nobody knows you better. I hope you will consider having a New Years Eve Visit from the Future. XOXO, Karen:)