For 2016

When you find yourself isolated, removed completely from those you’d normally see in day-to-day interactions, the solitude is liberating… and somewhat overwhelming.

Being entirely on my own now in Alberta is, truth be told, rather enjoyable. I like my space, and I feel at ease when alone.

That said, routine, as mundane as it seems, has a way of moving things along. Even if it’s just a going through of motions, there’s purpose. A thing to be done, however grudgingly.

There’s reason.

And while the brief holiday break from the medical was a welcome one, it provided much time to reflect (too much, I think) on where I’m at in life, and consider where I’d like to be (or at least, weigh the possibilities) once treatments and recovery wrap up in 2016 — assuming things continue on schedule which, so far as I can tell, there isn’t any reason to doubt.

I thought about this space, and whether to continue writing here or not. Things were a bit chaotic when I penned my last update, and I simply waited too long between posts to allow for proper attention to each section discussed, instead cramming in as much as I could without proper care.

I was surprised by the feedback, by what people wanted to know more about. “I wish you’d written more about the wedding” was a common one. Even from family: “People have no idea about x.  You should have focused on that, written more about that.”

I’m not sure why I’ve pulled back on recounting experience, opting to write privately about so many things and simply tossing it in the draft folder.

I suppose I don’t want to be a bother, or make people uncomfortable should I detail something lived that, to me, is just another part of my greater story, but might be upsetting to read about.

I worry about being looked at as damaged, or as one in need of pity — I’m not, and I don’t.

I worry about who might read and what s/he might think; I worry about those who matter to me, who I’ve come to know, thinking differently of me.

I worry about saying (or writing, I guess) the wrong things, be it too much detail or not enough, about wording things the wrong way, or coming across as a woe-is-me sort, or as writing for any reason other than to simply write.

I work things through, through writing; I write the misgivings out.

I just don’t often publish, in part due to the reasons outlined above. But I want to grow as a writer, to improve on my craft, and that’s not possible without getting into the habit of writing (to be read) more often.

As the medical things wind down, I’m going to need to establish a new routine; find a new groove to fit into. And this space, I think, will be helpful in the transition over the next year and beyond. The last update was heavy on the technical, but there won’t be more of that to add. Aside from the occasional update on measurable progress and ticking of the boxes, or the occasional incident, there shouldn’t be much to chronicle, which provides a perfect opportunity to begin to evolve how and when and why I write in this space.

Though it’ll remain where I post everything medical, I like the idea of moving toward a more casual, personal exploration of experiences and examination of events. A place to write when I need to write, or when there’s something to post about. Which, I guess, has always been an option here. Just, it was never the mindset I’d had — and I like that certainty. That definitive structure.

That explicit reason.

I’m not one for end-of-the-year resolutions, but I’d like to begin 2016 with a fresh outlook on writing; move beyond agonizing over my choice of words and become comfortable with simply  having written.

I want to write with purpose, but allow for imperfection; I’d like to write about things that matter to me, and trust that those who matter will forgive the inevitable shortcoming and allow me to fumble my way through.

I’m not certain who continues to follow here, though when I write I do keep a few people in mind. But if you’ve made it this far, and you plan to continue along with me, I hope you find substance in what I write and maybe, in some way, find value.

I’m still searching for how I can best contribute to the world, given the circumstances. But if you’ve been able to take something away from what I’ve shared here to date, then continuing is entirely worth it.

Words, for me, hold great meaning, and I’ve long cherished Rudyard Kipling’s IF — a poem rich in wisdoms I strive to live up to.

In recent years, I’ve held particularly tight to this section of the verse:

“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’”

Heading into 2016, a year expected to bring finality, transition, and new beginnings offline, and a sort of evolution here at TMI, I’m going to strive for the following — my own footnote to IF:

If you can embrace the future as uncertain 
And rise above the damage done, 
And find some purpose in your burden 
The illness, then, will not have won.

See you in the new year.

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