New Year Brings New Promises for the Future

by JennyRay McGee, Guest Writer

The holiday season induces feelings of joy, love, happiness, family, friends, and faith. New Year’s Eve signals the end of what once was; reminding people to embrace the New Year upon us.

2014 was a year of growth in my world. I uncovered parts of myself that I never knew existed, while rediscovering portions I let fizzle out long ago. Society uses January 1st as the designated time to set resolutions. In my case, they’re broken three weeks later. So, for 2015, I’ve decided to switch it up, determining that, rather than making a list of little things I will not remember by March, I will substitute that list of resolutions for an agenda of promises to apply and follow in my daily routine.

The best part about having a disability is the ability to view the world from such a unique perspective. I thrive on the part of compassion and understanding it teaches us. It’s that aptitude to relate with another person who’s going through hard times of their own in life, even if they lack a disability.

Let’s face it, when you have a disability, you’ve definitely experienced challenges at a certain point and time or maybe you’re currently going through them. I find the most fulfilling part about overcoming those struggles is coming out on the other side victorious. That can adjust to multiple facets in life. Once I’ve worked through said obstacle, I often find my passion and fight renewed with vigor. I love sharing the gift of humility with others in the way I represent myself to the world, as a person with a disability. It sometimes takes an unlimited amount of courage to wake up and tackle your disability on a daily basis. I constantly remind myself, as I strive to work through my daily barriers, that I’m not alone, even if I don’t have another person in my immediate environment facing those struggles with me. It helps to keep that in the back of my mind.

My greatest triumph of 2014 was hitting the point of acceptance towards my disability. I’ve spent countless years hiding my physically disabled body from the world. I viewed it as a weakness that people would attempt to take advantage of, but have recently understood that, in actuality, it symbolizes such power. Ridicule from a minority of individuals is a small portion of the growing process. I can assure you, it will pass. For too long, I’ve hid the best parts of myself from everyone else because I believed people would view my disability first, versus my work. I did not truly find happiness until I forced myself to identify myself and my career outside of my disability.

In 2015, I promise too: continue to build confidence, allow myself to have a bad day when things get hard, pursue my passion with a renewed sense of ambition and assurance, embrace my strengths and flaws as I move through the different stages of life, and finally, I promise to continue to break down the stereotypes associated with being disabled, while creating new ground in areas never traveled before.

Now that I’ve shared my promises with you, what do you choose to do with this fresh start and New Year? As the world slows down to take a moment with the ones they love, I encourage you to personally evaluate yourself. Identifying areas of improvement, while you shed light on the amazing traits that are already there. Reflect on who you are, who you want to be, and who you’ve been as you move forward into 2015.

So whether you make resolutions, goals or promises, spend time reflecting on yourself… I suggest more than once a year!

“By three methods may we learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is the noblest; Second by, imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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