Amanda Chatel at thegloss.com said, Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Do revelations instead—what did you learn in 2012? So, here goes.
1. I can go to Africa
I’ve wanted to go for over a decade, but first I had to get into medical school. Secondly, I wanted to stay close to my then-boyfriend, now-husband. Thirdly, I wanted to pay the mortgage and have kids. And in 2012…hey, I made it to South Africa and Swaziland!
Now I’m dreaming about traveling with my family to Asia and Africa. Because it’s doable, right?
2. I can muscle my way back into the emergency room
I started back in October 2011, but I increased my shifts after my trip to Africa. And it was fun. Also challenging, irritating, and exhausting, but mostly fun.
3. I can do yoga every day
Maybe just a few minutes. Maybe an hour. But I tried, every day. For a few weeks, I gave myself a sticker every day that I showed up at the mat. Why? Well, partly because I gained a few pounds after I weaned my daughter. Note: I plump up when I’m pregnant, but breastfeeding sheds it all and then some. Unfortunately, once I stopped nursing her to go to Africa, I couldn’t eat like a linebacker anymore. But I still wanted to eat like a frat boy, at least. So I did more yoga, which I truly enjoy and need to make more time for anyway, and at least I can wear my skinny-cut pants again. Some of them better than others.
4. I can write a new medical thriller
Okay, it’s just a draft. Terminally Ill is not ready for prime time, or even a beta reader. But I’d told myself I couldn’t plot out a medical thriller while my brain cells were torn between my work and family—until I decided to just do it. And that was fun, too.
5. We can do a fundraiser for rhinos
We raised almost $1500, splitting the money between reducing demand (WildAid) and groups actively protecting rhinos on the ground (Wildlands Conservation Trust, SanWild, WWF-SA, all of whom sent me audit reports), with a small amount to WWF-Canada/TRAFFIC. In 2013, we will send an SLR camera to CPIN to spy on poachers and I will send a donation to Helping Rhinos as well.
Will it do any lasting good? I don’t know. But when I hear about poachers paralyzing rhinos, hacking their faces off, and leaving them to suffer and die, I think, At least we did something. We didn’t just shrug or wring our hands.
6. I can relax.
I almost forgot this one, and it’s a biggie. My mother is the kind of person who never sits down. While the rest of my family watched a movie, she’d make a great show of resisting before ironing AND watching the movie. But I’ve been the same way, working maniacally—until this year. On Sex and The City, Carrie once said, “In New York, they say you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment” I was always working hard! hard! hard! on school/medicine, having kids, and writing. If one or two out of three was going well, I’d just go nuts on the missing link, most recently the writing.
Now that I know a few thousand people have paid for my words, I can relax a little. Bestseller Jennifer Crusie says you should write like a rat with an island, like you have faith you will be rescued, i.e. published. Well, I struggled to make myself have that faith. Didn’t work. But now that I know my books are out there and people buy them sometimes—hooray. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “My goal was to publish something (anything, anywhere) before I died.” I guess my subconscious goal was to have people around the world read my words before I died. So now I can just lie down and watch Neflix sometimes. Which I like, even if I feel conflicted about it. But, like Ray Bradbury wrote, “Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
What were your New Year’s Revelations?
Melissa Yuan-Innes (ACLS) is an emergency physician who runs codes and writes prescriptions in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She also prides herself on her life outside the hospital: her two kids (6 and 2 years old), her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, and her nascent writing career. www.melissayuaninnes.com