At the stroke of midnight I was sobbing.
The kind of ugly, uncontrollable sobbing you would prefer to do in private, if at all.
But I was surrounded by a small group of family and friends, AKA my nearest and dearest. So while they have seen me at my worst, at that moment I would have preferred to process that level of emotion solo.
However, the tears were out of my control. I eventually managed to pull it together but the significance of that moment - the ending of one decade and the beginning of a brand new one - would never be lost on me.
At the beginning of last year, I proclaimed (out loud) that it was going to be my year. And it was. My year of pushing past old pain, new struggles, all while I began to process old pain and heal. I just had no idea that when I made that proclamation that is what I meant.
Ultimately it was a productive year. But I find that when we don’t see big changes or advancements in our lives immediately we feel unsuccessful. It takes months, even years, often to take the thousands upon thousands of steps needed to truly change our lives for the better. Life and sometimes even ourselves can get in the way. I’ve learned that when and if that happens, it too is okay.
For me in particular, the end of 2019 also brought along the end of a decade of pain - physical pain that is. My Chronic Migraine Life (also the name of my Youtube Channel) is the life I actually lived for the past ten years. My migraines and the suffering I endured became at times my sole identity. They were the first thing I thought about in the morning and if I managed to sleep at all, the last thing I though about before I fell asleep at night. I would lay in bed at night (and many days) staring at my bedroom walls that surrounded me. The framed pictures of vacations and good times seemed to all be behind me. Very often my last thoughts before falling asleep consisted of wondering if there would ever be any new journeys from my bucket list that I would ever get to cross off (and ultimately frame).
Slowly, things got better. Actually at first they got worse. MUCH worse. But eventually my hard work at trying to reclaim who I was on the inside paid off. The places I longed to visit, the special moments I longed to be apart of and create, were actually happening. It was like a dream.
But as I recovered I also learned I had A LOT of pain to process in order to truly heal. It turns out I spent 2019 doing a large part of that and my channel was the way I did it. Sharing what I learned and what I really went through helped me more than words can say. It is my solemn wish and prayer that it does the same for at least one person out there suffering from a chronic, yet invisible illness.
The journey I went on to get well and teach myself how to accept my life where it is today has ultimately led me to this positive place within myself. I now know how strong I am and that no matter what life throws my way I have the tools to deal with it. I know that the only way through our hard times is to actually go through them. Only once they are in the rear view mirror can we actually begin the long process of healing. Processing my pain, both physical and emotional, has been an ordeal for me. But now I can use all that I have learned to help others which is what I hope my Youtube Channel is doing. However, that is only the very tip of the iceberg.
While this past decade brought me some of the biggest challenges of my life it also brought some of the greatest joys. There were the beautiful babies that came into my life, the friends who showed me their love knows no bounds, and the appreciation not only for what I have but WHO I have.
Specifically, 2019 brought many smiles to my face. I returned to the gym for the first time since before I got sick and while it too was hard at first, I have come to love going.
Then there is the cooking. I have spent several years working on #dinneralaDonna and now feel like I am finally found my groove in the kitchen. I proudly hosted my first Thanksgiving. I found a confidence when cooking that is spilling over into other parts of my life. I know that this new year will finally bring my long awaited cookbook to fruition.
Most exciting, 2019 gave me the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of meeting Melissa Joan Hart. It all began with a blog - which also started in the past decade - and before I knew it I had a personally autographed book and a picture of the two of us in a frame. It is not lost on me that this frame is new and not one that I spent so many lonely nights in agony staring at. That in itself is yet another dream come true.
With these struggles in the past I feel a new found sense of purpose. I feel that I am in the best place possible to begin living this new life of mine that will include health, love, and success. The person I was before would have not been prepared to live the life I have long imagined. But now I am.
This year I am going to embrace the mistakes I will make because I know they will only make me better and take my life to the next level.
I will accept that timing is everything and believe I am exactly where I should be in my life’s journey.
Most importantly, I am going to give myself a break.
I have always been really great at showing up for people I love.
Now, I finally know what it is like to show up for myself.
For More on My Vision For 2020, watch: