Julie Helen: My plan for 2023 is simple... to just keep going

In her weekly column, Julie Helen reflects on the past 12 months and looks ahead to 2023
Julie Helen: My plan for 2023 is simple... to just keep going

A time for reflection as the year changes from 2022 to 2023...

AT the end of each year, I usually reflect on all the things that happened in life in the 12 months gone by and endeavour to connect all that occurred into my web of memories that become integral to my story. A lot happened in 2022. In some ways I feel like it’s been a year that will impact on the future more than many more years. My brother got a kidney transplant he desperately needed. That above all else, has changed his life beyond recognition and it only happened a few short months ago. 

To see him progressively get better and better every day is a humbling experience, not least of all because now I see how much he had to battle through all his years of kidney failure.

 When we were all in the middle of it, maintaining a certain level of health for Diarmuid was just our normal. Now I see him bouncing back and having a spark that I’m not entirely sure I had ever seen before. I adore it and hope it stays for the rest of our days.

I think processing a life changing event like this will take years. I think about it every day, how for a significant amount of time, my brother dodged death on a regular basis. As a mother now for three short years, I can only begin to fathom the impact that must have had on my parents. They are not people to dwell on things. They look at the situation in front of them, stare the challenge in the eye and deal with it head on. It is actually when they are in “Protect Child Mode” which could be any of the four of us they are protecting, that I see their true power and resilience as a team. They have a flow that enables them to get the work they need to done, to do hard things, have difficult conversations and mind their family.  I’m lucky to have a different and very close bond with each parent. 

I’m so grateful that in 2022 they celebrated 40 years of being married and that they still share a hug in the kitchen after a long day. 

The occasion of their anniversary seems small in the enormity of the year we put down, but for me it’s very important to acknowledge and be thankful for the continued unwavering commitment my mum and dad show to each other. That commitment makes me feel safe even as an adult myself but also gives me an example for my own marriage.

In a few short days, David and I will be seven years married, my parents have been married over five times as long, I hope we have a long way to go too. I hope that the twists and turns of life will afford us that opportunity.

Every day we make choices, many of them in a blink of an eye. Some we agonise over and others we barely consider. Then sometimes we have tough choices presented to us by circumstances beyond our control. There is still always a choice to be made. No matter what comes down the track we can choose how to respond to it. I mean respond rather than just react. Every single day I choose David and I choose the wonderfully busy, full and sometimes complex life we have. I choose to keep trying hard at all we do. I choose to keep working with my own physical body that many mornings works against me and I choose to keep going. I think facing in to 2023, a brand new year, my plan is simple. Just Keep Going.

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