Every January I feel that this coming year could be a great year, maybe the best ever. I usually look to January as a time of positive change. If nothing else it’s my preferred month to do some organizing and clearing out of stuff! Even if my “resolutions” don’t bring lasting change, at least I tried something on and brought more awareness to aspects of myself.
This year is no different in how I feel. What’s changed is that my dad dying six months ago threw me into a surprisingly intense tailspin that I’m only now just working my way out of. I have no great expectations of 2022, but I still hold out a tiny bit of hope that I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Merriam-Webster defines “persevere” as “to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult.” These days, my definition of persevere is keeping my chin above the metaphorical water until the levels subside, so to speak.
Heading into the third year of the pandemic, I’m wore out. Are you? First there was crippling fear and uncertainty, then there was hope for a return to normal, then differences amongst us sharpened and divided us, now there are shortages again and everyone is out sick, and what next? It’s exhausting for us individually and collectively.
And so much loss in so many ways for so many of us. Grief and sadness abound, even as we are purchasing, renovating, traveling, enjoying, socializing and acting like we’re done with COVID-19 — even though it’s not done with us. (Life and its accompanying range of experiences truly never cease to amaze me!)
For me, the last six months after my father died have been some of the most difficult and stressful of my life. Finally, it feels like I’m turning a corner. But in persevering I’ve learned much:
–Perseverance sounds strong, noble and courageous, but it’s far from pretty. It’s more like, what can I do to survive and move forward? We may get through it, but we don’t always necessarily do it the way we intended, or perfectly, or gracefully. More likely not.
–Perseverance might take a toll. In the last six months, I’ve allowed myself to falter in ways detrimental to my well-being, such as not exercising consistently or not writing regularly (you may or may not have noticed my six-month-long break from this column.) Even daily walking, my go-to for grounding and head clearing, has become an effort instead of habit.
–Perseverance often has no clear end point. It’s one thing to reach a goal, such as running a marathon, with a specific end date or result. It’s another thing to move through a pandemic, or the loss of a loved one, or a break-up, when it’s impossible to know of a certain end. It can feel endless. But, as I tell myself often, this too shall pass.
So how about for this year, alongside our New Year’s resolutions, our 30-day resets, our optimism, hope and relief at surviving 2021, we can commit, resolve and appreciate our remarkable ability to persevere. Let’s accept right now what this year will throw at us, be aware that we’re most likely going to experience the good, the bad and the ugly, and know that we can only control how we react and nothing more.
Let’s face the challenges, embrace the good moments, and show up for all of it in the best way possible. Let’s be compassionate and patient with ourselves and others. We have an amazing capacity to endure, we are stronger than we think and we can handle so much more than we give ourselves credit for!
Happy New Year 2022 . . . I’m ready, are you?
— By Pritam Potts
Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.advancedathlete.com.