As I share my first entry of the New Year with you, I truly hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. Now that January is over and we journey toward the end of February, it is my hope that you have been successful in your reflections and resolutions. Sharing from the beginning the emotions of transitioning into any part of my life from the smallest to the largest, it was my goal to help someone through difficult times during their life. I aspire to spread more happy emotions than sad this year as this last year has been extremely tense for many. As our family just observed the 1st year anniversary of our mother’s passing, I’m amazed at how fast time passes. I wonder how I survived this year. It has, without a doubt, been the most difficult year I’ve ever experienced.
Survival: Sustain to Maintain
To understand how I survived this year and to help others who are experiencing the same struggle, I began to review my survival methods to get to this point. Yes, survival is a strong word, but it is necessary to convey my process to make progress. It enabled me to sustain to maintain. I began a self-care process deciding to enjoy the smallest to the largest part of my day regardless of what it was. Small things like trying new recipes, digging through the clearance bins at my favorite stores, or a simple thing like taking a nap that I thought I didn’t need but my body needed. I specifically set time aside to pray, and pray again. Even during the changes I was going through, I would catch myself falling back into old habits where self-doubt would control me. I would again feel like I was a failure. Along with practicing patience, self-care is vital to my physical and mental health.
Realization: Now What?
In hindsight, I became preoccupied with my Mom’s caretaking; therefore, forgetting my life’s plan. There are times though, when we are to give all we have in trials until we reach the finish line. You let your plans go until the season of trial ends. Then, you begin to plan again. This lesson in selflessness is a great practice of strength which is an act of sustainment. In all actuality, this is when we are our best; the times when we put others first and not dwell on it.
So now what? As I think back, I had already begun making my plans just by resuming my daily life after the loss. At first, I thought, I’m not going to make it. I decided to heed the advice of my Aunt when she’d say, “Take one day at a time”. Instead of planning a full week, I focused each day to help me sustain the change. One day became two days. A week became a month. After a month, it dawned on me that I had maintained the house, the expenses, my health without failing. Yes, stumbling at every other step which is normal for me; nonetheless, succeeding.
Sustaining to Maintain: One Day at a Time
Why am I telling you this? Because, we are all sustaining to maintain our way of life, our beliefs, our loves, our hearts desire. Sustaining helps us survive events in our lives that are unexpected. Maintaining reminds us these events are but part of living.
Think about it, situations like, “if I can just make it to the house before this tire blows”, or “If I can just get to the gas station before running out”, or “If I just make a C on that paper so I won’t fail” or “If I can just pay this one bill” or “If I eat just one piece of cake, I won’t gain weight”, this is sustaining through a situation as it comes. So, don’t ever think you’re failing or not reaching your goals because your plan changed. Consider making a change in your daily map. Sustain to maintain until you can resume your life as planned.
I’m smiling as I close this entry, because it is not like all of my entries. Yes, it’s a different turn on tolerance. Tolerance can become acceptance. Sustaining is helping you reach that goal. I truly believe we all possess this talent of sustainability. I do believe it is a secret weapon we all have. One instruction is all it takes: Sustain to maintain “one day at a time.”
[Janet E. Blakemore is a former full-figure model, former director of a modeling school, retiree from TN State Government, and an awesome, vibrant spirit of a person. In addition to writing, Janet is an entrepreneur who enjoys retail therapy, being a Tennessee State University alum, and time with her adult daughter and extended family. ]