{Graves’ Lessons} New Year’s Eve Reflections

Joyful table centerpiece

Danger: Serious navel-gazing ahead.

It’s hard to say which is my favorite month–October or January. According to the Christian liturgical calendar, both are part of ordinary time. There are no expectations. No pressures.

You gotta love that vibe.

Oh, sure, in January, the Valentine’s Day stuff has hit the store shelves. And in some parts of the world it’s freezing cold.

But here in Central Texas the skies tend toward sunny and blue. It’s easy to see one’s future and past. Granted, that can be uncomfortable.

Last week my endocrinologist suggested that, in order to combat my anxiety and keep my Graves’ disease in check that I should “quit everything” that I “can quit.”

In my head, I replied with this:

quit all the things

Perhaps he read my anxiety-prone mind.

In the next breath he said, “I’m not sure what that would be for you because you have an elder to tend to, a kid to raise, and writing career. But see what you can do to quit what you can.”

Hoo boy.

I’ve read where Graves’ patients tend to be driven, focused, Type-A personalities. Me? I’m driven but crippled by multipotentialities.

As far back as early grade school, I was told that I could do “whatever” I “put my mind to.” Somehow I absorbed that message but translated it to I “should” do it all. My brain sends this message to me constantly. How do I make it stop?

Do all the things

In hindsight now at 43 I see that “do all the things” mindset has helped and hindered me. My career trajectory has been both scattershot and logical, as I have succeeded in one area and then moved on. It wasn’t until my early thirties that I finally got around to do doing my soul’s work: writing.

Yet thanks to that whole multipotentiality thing having mixed with a healthy does of imposter syndrome in my DNA, I still can’t accept that I *am* a writer.

Maybe THAT is what I should quit in the New Year: the doubt, the existential unease, the body dysmorphia, the feeling that I’m a failure no matter what success that I encounter. I wonder, What would January look like if I did that? What would 2014 look like? What would I look like?

Here’s hoping January is quite enough for me to find those answers–and that you, gentle reader, find the answers to the questions that puzzle you, too.

Happy New Year.

* * * An Invitation * * *

Note that with hopes of building a sense of community around topics of writing (fiction, non-fiction, and memoir), gardening, and living well,  I’ve got a new, private Red, White and Grew Facebook group. If these topics interest you, you’re welcome to join us. We hope to escape some of the static and noise of mainstream Facebook, which is increasingly problematic for bloggers and their fans. The old Facebook fan page is still alive and kicking, but the group is a lot more fun.

(Pssst… there’s a new private group for How to Work & Homeschool, too.)


  1. I marvel at how alike we are, and that I fell into the hypo range instead of Graves. I’ve been trying to find something, anything, that I can drop and keep coming up empty. This year hinges on me writing my own story and figuring it all out, so I hope I figure it out sooner rather than later. Multipotentialities can be magnificent, but sometimes they just suck.

    • Very interesting that, together, we’re the “high and low” of thyroid. Lots of writing and rewriting over here. Pencil at the ready!

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