Like a lot of children, I grew up with an alcoholic parent. I was the youngest child of my father’s second marriage. My dad was decades older than my mom. In my father’s maturity, my mother found a sense of safety and stability. In my mother’s youth, my father found a fresh start and a lighter heart. What they saw in each other was genuine. And like many couples, what they saw, revealed, and became to each other changed over the course of their marriage.
Caregiving is an ongoing endurance triathlon: swimming in dark, choppy waters, cycling a twisted, rutted road that ends in a cliff hanger, and running in every direction simultaneously. In the beginning, adrenaline and a sense of intensely focused purpose will get you a long way. But as you settle into the nearly completely unpredictable new normal of your life, you may find your energy, patience, resilience and sense of humor more difficult to rally. You may feel exhausted, sad, scared and alone.
If you’re going into this new year with the same old resolutions you’ve made and broken for too many years--get more exercise, lose the first 20 pounds, swear off potato chips, stop dating people who don’t really like the real you, finally quit that job, gym, relationship—it’s time to make another plan. This plan is made up of two simple parts: The first is the present moment and the second is your willingness to show up for it every, single day.