Don t go changing
Don't go changing

I’m done with New Year’s Resolutions, so as the countdown to 2013 begins, I’ll be doing the opposite. I’ve decided to write a list of all the reasons why I don’t want to change next year. I’m going to stay the very same person I’ve been for the last 12 month and beyond... is that such a bad thing?

Every year we put so much pressure on ourselves by imposing strict New Year’s Resolutions: eat less, drink less, exercise more, give up smoking. More often than not we’re setting ourselves up for almost certain failure.

For me, around this time of year, I usually start thinking of breathing new life into my Book Club, (the one I didn’t manage to read one book for in 2012!). I sometimes buy a journal, however entries barely ever are written beyond January 6th. I draw up a Birthday Calender, however friends and family with birthdays in January and February are the only ones who ever seem to receive Birthday wishes. Most embarrassing for me is that every New Year I reignite my desire to continue writing a book I began 15 years ago! I mentioned this to my husband just the other day, to which he replied, “Yep, it’s that time of year again”.

But this year is different, no more half-baked New Year’s Resolutions. This year I’m taking a leaf out of Billy Joel’s 1977 hit song “Just the way you are”, the one that he repeatedly belts out the lyrics “Don’t go Changing..” This year is the year for New Year’s Affirmations”. I am blessed to have a healthy family, even though being the only woman in a household of five men and young boys is challenging at times”, "I will continue to read books I desire to read, not because I am compelled to read them”, “I am satisfied with my weight and shape and will continue to exercise irregularly”, “I drink in excess at times, but mostly in moderation”, "I have a good job that I enjoy, even though recent upheavals in the industry have made it a lottery as to who keeps their jobs and who doesn’t”.

GALLERY: New Year's celebrations around the world. Photo: Getty

As a medical reporter, I’m constantly reminded how lucky I am to enjoy good health. Maybe my chance meetings with families of sick or dying children makes me more grateful throughout this festive season for what I have. Like the family whose little girl has been struck down with a rare, one in a million, liver cancer. When I visited the family for an interview just a few days before Christmas, they hadn’t even put up a Christmas tree. The sick child’s parents and three siblings spent most of their time at the hospital where their little girl was being treated, I can’t imagine the “New Year”, let alone resolutions will even rate a mention for this family.

Then there was the couple whose first baby was struck down with whooping cough when she was just 19 days old. She spent several days in an intensive care unit fighting for her life, and wasn’t well enough to spend her first Christmas at home. Her shattered Mum and Dad will probably see in the New Year by her bedside. I can’t imagine New Year’s Resolutions will rate with them either, I reckon they’ll just be happy that their little baby girl has lived through her medical nightmare and will be going home some time soon.

It’s a shame, but a reality that sometimes it takes other people’s misfortunes to bring home just how lucky we are. So this New Year’s Eve, I’ll be raising a glass to life as I know it right now, not looking back and not looking forward, but enjoying the moment with family and friends.

Happy New Year.

Karen O’Sullivan

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