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  • Kendall

Entering 2022 With a Fresh Perspective on FA

I am a freelance columnist for Friedreich's Ataxia News. I was recently published on my column, My Darling Disability, and I wanted to share it here, too. You can either read it by following this link, or just keep scrolling below.

Those who have been following my column about my journey through life with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) have probably noticed that I try to bring every entry to a positive conclusion. No matter how bleak, trivial, heavy, or uplifting my topic seems to be, I try to wrap it up in a way that allows my reader to gain a fresh perspective or to benefit from my experience. I feel like that is my purpose in life — to share the story of my hardships in such a way that I can make the world a little bit better.

But in reality, my life doesn’t play out like one of my columns. Not every day ends with a silver lining. I don’t always go to bed with a smile on my face, and my day wrapped up in a neat little bow. Life with FA is messy and hard. And as much as I wish that it was, constant positivity is not my default setting. I have to be very intentional as I look for daily lessons to be learned or perspective to be gained, not only for my columns, but for me, personally.

I write about perspective a lot because I truly understand, firsthand, how our perspective can make or break our experience of life. I know that if we let our trying experiences shape our perspective, versus choosing the perspective through which we view those trying experiences, our mindset can quickly spiral into a dark and unproductive place.

Despite all of my efforts to be intentional, there are many days when I live truly defeated by my failing body and its far-reaching effects on my psyche. And at night, when I should reflect on my day and get my mind and heart ready for the next day, I am often too exhausted to be able to do that kind of analysis to help shift my perspective.

A fresh perspective, daily

Yet, I often wake up feeling that my perspective has been renewed. I can only guess that being able to gain some distance from my negative experiences and get some rest is the reset I need. So, that is my hope for the new year — a restful reset from 2021 that leaves me feeling ready to tackle 2022.

This year was a roller-coaster ride full of hopes, fears, triumphs, heartaches, and trials. Problems persisted, trials were resolved, obstacles were overcome, new symptoms appeared, and hope was renewed. My perspective had to adapt as quickly and as often as my body did. It was an unexpectedly and unprecedentedly exhausting year. I am not naive enough to expect the new year to bring only good things; I just hope that when I wake up to 2022, I have a fresh perspective that will allow me to not only survive whatever the year has in store for me, but to thrive also.

So, instead of the common greeting of “Happy New Year,” I have another glad tiding: “Intentional New Year!” May we all be engaged and present, aware and adaptive, patient and graceful, and intentionally kind to ourselves and others in 2022.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” — Galatians 6:9

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