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My New Year, My New Season

by Aileen BurkeSurvivor, MelanomaDecember 14, 2021View more posts from Aileen Burke

The holiday season is in full effect, and I can’t say I thought too much about the levity of the holidays these past few years. It didn’t feel right to. Sitting at home waiting for some giant, glittery ball to descend from the sky when I already sat at home for months on end before did not have the same je ne sais quoi. It only struck me months after this 2021 New Year, and then again months after I had finished treatment in February: 

My new year is never on January 1st anymore. 

It’s every time I get to start something I was not supposed to begin. 

Of course, I was supposed to keep on going while I was getting my infusions, starting my scan schedule, and taking naps from being overwhelmed physically — but the reality of continuing to go on in my life wasn’t a guarantee. 

It still isn’t. Really, it isn’t a guarantee for anyone. I’m not special in that way. 

Now my New Year is when I have a good patient interaction at my internship, or when I connect with a new person who loves the same music I do, or when the sun hits my face just right. New Years are more like new seasons, and those could start tomorrow.

I get excited about these things the way I used to get a genuine tickle in the pit of my stomach as everyone around me was counting down descending numbers in anticipation of a true midnight celebration. 

When the New Year is officially brought in at my familial home, we open the back door and bang pots and pans to take all of the bad that’s happened throughout the year and send it away. We then open the front door to let in new opportunities and new feelings. 

Taking time for self-care is my everyday pots and pans. The sound of my sister’s laughter is my favorite pots and pans sound now. I think we get so caught up in planning for the future and contemplating how things and places and people can be better than they are at this very moment. 

Just a reminder that we’re pretty grand right now. We’re powerful too. If grand is not good enough, we’re the ones with the ultimate say in how to reinvent our situations. 

That’s not tied to just one date. 

If I had to pick a date, my new year is March 15th. That’s the day where I had to start all over; nothing in my life was going to be how it was. In some ways, I am grateful for that New Year. I don’t wait for some special time to be thankful or joyful. 

I never will again. 

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