Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Revolutions!

Mollie writes:

It's so hard to make resolutions for the New Year.  This year, I've resolved to not make any resolutions that are unreasonable.  I'm thinking that losing 15 pounds this year is a reasonable goal.  I'll always be "padded" but 15 pounds of padding won't be missed and won't be difficult.

When our kids were little, I'd make resolutions like "clean the boys' rooms" and "master the piano."  These were good resolutions because I was gonna clean those rooms anyway, and that darn piano . . . well it was time I learned to play by more than just ear.  But learning to read music was a real eye-opener.  I learned what a mathematical exercise music really is, but also how difficult it was to express my self on a keyboard (I seem to do better verbally than musically!).  But reality does slip in, and I found that just as soon as I cleaned the boys' rooms, they were filthy again (no kidding) and for me, mastering the piano meant practicing every day, and that was unreasonable.

One year, just after learning that I had MS, I resolved to deal with it quietly and not let it impact our kids' lives.  Silly me!  A couple of real exacerbations and I was at ground zero again, reevaluating what realistic resolutions really are.  Over time, I've learned that minimizing MS isn't going anywhere, so I might as well face it and get over it.  It's a lot easier to deal with MS when you aren't dealing with disappointment with yourself on a personal level.

This would be a good time to talk with your kids (maybe age 8 and over?) about New Year's Resolutions.  It would be nice to think that nirvana was just a resolution away, but it never is.  Raising kids with realistic expectations is a fine art.  We don't want our kids to stop dreaming, but we also want to have them have a firm grip on reality.

What's a Mollie to do?

Talk to your kids about their next twelve months.  Do they want to take part in extra-curricular activities, or is school enough?  How do they feel about their friendships, bedroom decor, clothes and hobbies? Would they like to coast, or surf the high waves.   And if surfing is their goal, how does a parent help a child achieve a reasonable set of expectations?  And if coasting is a viable option, maybe helping your child find inner satisfaction is a worthy endeavor.

So, here I am at age 58.  I'm experiencing lots of changes on the medical end of things; I'm using two new medications, ampyra to help with stamina and walking, and gilenya to reduce the number of exacerbations I experience with MS.  While I can't resolve to recover from MS, I can resolve to responsibly maintain myself within my limitations.

So, sit down with your young 'uns and discuss reasonable expectations for the next year.  You'll be surprised at what they want and don't want.  So go with the flow and keep it reasonable!

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