New Year

As we transition from celebrating the holidays into the next new year, the month of January is often filled with reflection and projection. It’s a chance to replay memories and moments by looking back on all that has occurred and it’s also an opportunity to picture all that is ahead. January, specifically, has been an exciting month for me the past few years. January has brought new, special people into my life (and back into my life). It has also been the month in which the opportunity to become a business owner first presented. It’s a time to be hopeful and optimistic and to recognize all the new beginnings that might be destined for you or even already surrounding you. It can also some times be a reminder that despite our desires and wishes and seeing all signs that point towards a certain direction ahead, our envisioned plans can still quickly change, or even come to a halt in an instant. And so the theme of this particular post has evolved over the month, reflecting the happenings of those closest to me as well as myself. It began centered around New Year energy, resolution ideas, and advice. From there it moved towards how we carry ourselves through a year, how we react to surprise, both joyful and disappointing, and how every story and every person we encounter can greatly affect our lives. Typically I would sit down and write from start to finish. This time I am glad I did not. This post was instead created throughout moments that spanned weeks and encompassed both home and office, mornings and late nights. I wrote amongst the commotion of others while at other times in complete stillness and silence. This post was a journey itself.

I was drawn most to the field of eye care out of any other medical specialty due to the unique setting in which we practice. We are specialists of the eyes, a complicated and fascinating organ that is an extension of the brain, yet we are also primary care doctors, which provides me the opportunity to establish lasting & significant relationships with my patients who come back to me year after year. My hope is that with time, my patients and I grow together.

All of us have our own story and I always value when someone in (or out of) my exam chair, having just met me, openly begins to share with me their dreams, their fears, & their plans for the future. As a doctor, I am given the unique opportunity to frequently meet people of various ages, passions, careers, personality, and life experiences on a one-on-one basis. I have felt, or still feel, exactly the same as you, your words mirroring my own thoughts. Or I have also at times felt very differently but respected your contrasting opinions and decisions all the same.

There have been individuals whose enormous energy & gust for life has filled my entire office, sweeping in through the doors like a sudden, giant wind storm and has remained with me long after they have left. Conversations have invigorated my strength and convictions and goals. There have been confidences told to me that have brought back memories from my own past and have transported me back to an earlier time and place. In those instances I see how far I’ve come and how those past experiences, lessons, and people have all brought me to where I am today. I also see how time can pass but some things forever stay the same. There have been words said that made me grateful for the present and wish I could live right now in this moment a little longer. I realized then, after one person’s remarks caused one person’s face to come to mind, that not only has the sky been bluer with them around, but I have also rediscovered my depth of interest for what makes beauty and connection and magic exist.

Victoria Erickson said it perfectly. “People fascinate me. Their bodies, their brains, their emotions, their ideals, their histories, their choices, and their dreams. Their stories. It all comes back to stories. Everything everywhere is ultimately a story.”

I’ve listened to girls my same age finding themselves at an interesting point in life and expressing such to me. It flows out of you and I can more than relate. Relationships span the sky from recent heartache to first date butterflies to new relationships or hopes of such to engagements and marriages. Some are comfortably settling in, some are newly beginning, & some are starting over. We’re opening businesses, launching careers, elevating them, changing them, or going back to school. We’re moving back in with parents, renting, or becoming owners. We’re making plans with someone else, hoping to merge the best of two people’s dreams, or moving forward with plans of our own on our own. We’re letting go or we’re holding on tight. We’re patient and inpatient all at the same time. We’ve found our strength while some times forgetting where it has gone. We’re seeing glimpses of what could be, what still could be. We’re climbing a mountain, standing on an edge, or deciding which way to turn. We’re both emotionally and financially invested in pursuing what’s right. We’re taking care of patients, pets, parents, kids, or only ourselves-still no small feat. We’re searching the crowds; we have our eyes set on only one. We are the diverse girls around 30 years old.

Keep on making those plans. But be gentle…with yourself. Even when you’ve decided you’re pushing forward on your own, leave some room in your heart open to the unexpected. Stay steady on that strong course you’ve devised but recognize when opportunity (whether it’s something…or someone) presents unpredictably. I never would have guessed I would become a business owner in the year 2015. I had my eyes set on a date further ahead and yet when it came earlier than expected, I ran towards it with open arms. I will never forget the night of New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2014 as midnight arrived and cheers began, someone toasted to the year of my private practice. I quickly corrected them. “No not yet.” I said, “It’s going to be the next year, I’m planning on 2016.” Well it turns out by 2016 I had already been running a business for five whole months. When someone came back into my life after so much time had passed I had just about convinced myself they never would…that’s exactly when I began dreaming wide awake again.

We hear “keep an open mind” all the time. Instead I say keep a clear mind but an open heart this year. Continue to channel positivity even if that planned path takes twists and turns. That sudden turn of events that has now caused all you had only just begun to picture, to disappear or become obsolete…it’s easy & normal to immediately feel deflated and throw all optimism to the wind when things happen that catch us off guard & disrupt our plans and wants. But if you can remember that hope and elatedness you felt only moments earlier and use it as leverage, it becomes easier to (clearly) realize we are capable of painting a different picture. Whether it’s the same outcome adjusted to an alternative timetable, or a different illustration altogether, the point is that magic can still be destined for us. That new picture you’re reworking can be just as good, or even more beautiful than the original. Be gentle. With yourself. 2017 is going to be a very special year. ❤ Dr. Z

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