The Difficult Year
I’ll be honest—this has been a hard year for me. Between a child facing challenges (some of them involving sleep, which is really affecting me too), and multiple family members facing health crises, I have found myself struggling more often than usual this year (and, by the way, like a lot of parents, I consider “the year” to be the school year, beginning in September, not January).
I have told close friends about the challenges I’ve faced. But most people probably have no idea. I’m still usually smiling, usually looking for the bright side of things.
But yesterday I heard a woman I admire explaining how this has been a hard year for her and her family, and something inside me breathed a sigh of relief. She is a medical doctor and runs impressive programs working to make the world better; she is mother, and she looks from the outside like she has life all figured out. I know everyone faces difficulties, everyone has some years that are harder than others. But hearing someone I think highly of say it out loud made me feel like I truly am not alone.
So I wanted to say it out loud, myself, in case it helped someone else. This has been a hard year. In many ways, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, honestly, there have been plenty of moments that I have wondered how to keep going among all the difficulty. Sometimes the best I’ve been able to do is to find the small things around me that I am grateful for (like sunshine, a great conversation with a friend, or fun around the dinner table) and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And some days the breakthroughs seem bigger than that.
But it’s been hard. It’s still hard. And that is not a sign of overarching negativity or some kind of bad omen, but really, just a sign of being human. Since everything changes, these particularly difficulties will not last. New ones will likely take their place. But one of the things I’ve learned this year is that I can keep going despite the difficulty. I can find friends to confide in and moments of joy to focus on. I can reach out for help. I can make the best of even difficult times.
And I can say it out loud and hope someone else feels less alone.