Beginnings come in many forms. Just as each new day is a beginning, so are birthdays, anniversaries and the start of a new year. With every fresh start, we have an opportunity to reevaluate our lives. Will we resolve to lose weight, exercise, read more or take that long-awaited vacation?
Often we begin in December preparing for the next year. Our many expectations may not be spoken aloud, but perhaps our hearts and minds are making lists and planning some changes. Determined to start anew, we review the past year and decide where adjustments need to be made in the future.
I vividly recall November 2010. After Thanksgiving I wrote in my journal that everything in my life needed serious attention.
The list was not long, but the dread overwhelmed me. I needed to lose weight and exercise, but I hate exercise. Visualizing the body of a 25 year-old was discouraging and unhelpful.
As I continued my list, it occurred to me that this list was the same one I had been composing for 35 years. It was time to change course.
On New Year’s Eve 2010, I asked myself why I end up in the same discouraged state at the end of each year. Why do I continue to look for the “someday” that never comes?
In that moment I remembered AA’s definition of insanity which is “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
With that I turned, walked to my living room and phoned my daughter. Her voice sounded sad, and I wondered if she was also making a list.
At that point I suggested we face the new year without a sense of failure. Instead we ventured to Mel’s for some fried food, a hot fudge sundae and a plan to ring in the new year with some cheer.
This was the best New Year’s Eve I had ever experienced; we ate what we wanted and laughed until our stomachs hurt. We looked around the restaurant at all those who joined us, and we began the new year by accepting each new day ahead.
Today is Dec. 31, and I am standing in my sunroom looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights. This year has been different for me. I have lost some weight, spent some time on me and even exercised some.
Smiling to myself, I wonder if last year’s hot fudge sundae played a part in how I view my life today. In actuality, along with that sundae I found dignity — a proper sense of pride and self respect defined as the condition of being worthy of respect, esteem or honor.
No one can give you this; it comes from within and spreads to everyone around you.
Dignity is what has been missing in many lives. Dignity is what is missing in the lives of those who have bipolar disorder, and dignity is what we give to all those who attend Bipolar Insights.
We remove entitlement and replace it with empowerment. There is no distinction among us; all who attend are equal yet so very unique. We give hope and embrace each person.
Begin the new year with something sweet and mix it with love, joy and hope. This year come to Bipolar Insights — a place where dignity abounds.
The co-founder and facilitator of Bipolar Insights, Marcia Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings start at 7 p.m., every Monday in Room 304 at Green Valley Church, 3500 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville and every Tuesday at Marshall Medical Health Library, 681 Main St. in Placerville.
The fee is $ 5 per person. Check bipolarinsights.com for complete details and further information.