Stepping Into a New Me in the Year Ahead

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by Alyssa Silva |

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In the midst of decking the halls and savoring all that’s merry and bright, December also serves as a season of reflection for me. It’s my chance to look back on the last year and take inventory of all the things I experienced and learned, determine what I want to leave behind, and decide what I want to take with me into the new year. However, I’m finding it more challenging than ever to reflect on 2020 and all that the world has endured this year.

This comes as no surprise to me. I’ve faced more challenges mentally in the last year than I choose to admit, mostly because I know I am not acting like myself and refuse to accept this temporary version of me. In the words of Taylor Swift, “I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it.”

The beginning of this narrative dates back to last year. My quarantine actually started on Dec. 26, 2019. This is because during every cold and flu season, I hunker down. I wait out the long winter blues at home while I do my best to avoid illnesses that could land me in the hospital. It is not an easy feat. But when I compare it to the feat of fighting for my life in the intensive care unit of a hospital, home confinement doesn’t seem so bad.

I remember itching for the warm weather earlier this year, ready to bust out of my house and reclaim my life again. The days crept by, and I managed to stay healthy along with my parents. Finally, Mother Nature teased us with her first signs of spring in early March, so I ventured out for a city stroll one afternoon with my favorite nitro brew in hand.

It was exactly what my soul needed at the time. I could feel the hope in the air of spring’s renewal. My reemergence into the world was about to take place when, suddenly, the unthinkable happened. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks from here.

Knowing the grim realities a severe illness can have on my fragile body, I chose to extend my quarantine. It wasn’t necessarily the decision I wanted. Yet, it was the one I knew I needed to make. Thinking it would only last a few weeks, I never imagined I would still be in the same predicament nine months later.

Despite my greatest efforts to make sense of all that has happened to me in the last 12 months, what I know is this: The road to now has been filled with turbulent terrain and detours galore. Nevertheless, I am here. I am here and evidently have been doing something right, as indicated by my good standing in health.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, let alone the new year. But I do know that living with SMA has reminded me to take life one day at a time. Most of all, no matter how challenging life may get, no matter how insurmountable these challenges may seem, I am equipped for whatever lies ahead.

When I remember to pause and put this all in perspective, I think that maybe the person I’m yearning to be again isn’t meant to be found. Maybe she’s up ahead instead, waiting for me to let my guard down, take a deep breath, and step into a beautiful unknown that only those who are courageous enough to explore understand.

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Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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