When I started writing about one good thing each day on January 1st, 2016, I had no idea what it would become. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for the entire year, and the idea of a public failure was daunting.
But I was in a dark place and knew I needed to do something. I was sick all the time — with chronic migraines and a bad gut and severe fatigue. I was depressed. And I was disappointed in myself and what I’d done with my life, or really, what I felt I hadn’t done. Nearly three years later, I still haven’t accomplished those milestones. I’m not married; I don’t have any kids; and my career is on a long pause. But I’m ok with that now, or at least, I’m learning to be patient with life and with myself.
I’ve been taking care of my mother for the last seven years. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain cancer, with a terminal prognosis of two to five years. Through treatments, hard work, lots of hope, and a miracle, she’s beaten the odds and outlived her “expiration date.” Mama has always been in charge of hoping for the best, while my responsibility is to prepare for the worst. I have no medical training, outside of being a certified lifeguard in my teens and early 20s; but I’ve known since I was a little girl that I would one day take care of my mother myself at home. For us, at this time, for so many reasons, there is no other choice.
These last few years haven’t been easy, especially since my own health declined. I was diagnosed with two autoimmune illnesses and fibromyalgia — all three chronic and incurable, but possibly treatable. It has been painful to accept that I’ll be dealing with these for the rest of my life.
Mama and I work on this blog together, brainstorming what should be featured in the day’s post. We talk about our options together and review photo possibilities. Sometimes this is a scramble at 11:45, like “oh shit, what should be today’s good thing?” Other times, we have the wonderful task of choosing which good things to share.
I didn’t know my little project about #OneGoodThing would continue for this long, or affect people around the world, or that it would change my life. Admittedly, some days are still a struggle, but my mental health has improved, such that I am no longer depressed. That’s not to say it isn’t a challenge, but I feel lighter. It’s not just the power of positive thinking — and writing — each day. It’s been a process, one that has included finally getting a diagnosis (or three), and finally getting treatment that’s helping me not vomit every day; and having a great therapist and friends who support me.
I hope this blog has helped you to seek out the unexpected silver linings in your own life. Even on our most troubling days, we can still turn toward the light. I am so proud that we have reached the 1,000th post about #OneGoodThing today. Thank you for joining us for the good times and the less-than-stellar days too.
Mama and I celebrated this milestone in our beloved Venice today. We enjoyed a relaxing day of planning our remaining days and creating art at home. We sat in our apartment’s garden and drew the water door. Mama painted her gorgeous artwork, while I took photos of her and the garden and Paisley. The miserable, muggy heat that plagued the start of our trip has finally broken, and we were so happy to feel cold for the first time in weeks. In the afternoon, I picked up our laundry and had an incredibly delicious and foamy cappuccino at Alla Bragora cafe.
Tonight we commemorated this special occasion with a scrumptious dinner at Trattoria da Jonny, just across the bridge from us. The mackerel and burrata were phenomenal — as was the dessert, wine, and excellent serving staff! We also got to check out our apartment windows from the windows at the back at the restaurant.
1 year ago today: Lovely lunch dates and more
2 years ago today: September full of visitors
6 years ago today: A New Jewish Year
What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments!