Eat healthier. Exercise more. Get more sleep. Meditate. Read more books.
It’s been years since I’ve made New Year’s resolutions. I used to relish the opportunity to set intentions from a clean slate. It was fun to challenge myself. But after my diagnosis, when my scale of what mattered in life forcibly recalibrated, none of the prior resolutions seemed to hold much weight. Quite frankly, it all seemed so silly. Battling a chronic disease, I no longer had the luxury of seeing life through short-term, annual goals. I was forced to take the long view. I had to resolve to find a way to survive emotionally while my body deteriorated physically.
It took me a couple years to figure out how to navigate the process. I hid for a while, not knowing how to accept what was happening to me, let alone share it with others. I was stuck in wishing it weren’t true, in wishing people would never find out. Back then, I was still able to hide underneath some layers.
I can’t quite remember when I peeled off the first outer layer. Maybe it was when I burst into tears sitting in my residency program director’s office, telling him about my recent diagnosis. Or maybe it was when I stood on the street corner in front of my office building, spontaneously telling my new suite mate my secret.