December 31

Today means a great deal to me.

It’s the last day of the year, of course. However, it’s also my mother’s birthday and the day I lost my right eye in a freak accident.

My accident isn’t something I think about on a daily basis. I was only eight years old. When I do think about it, I only think of fleeting things like getting the wind knocked out of me, being carried to my back door, the stitches, and staying in a hospital for a bit.

I don’t think about the blindness. Mostly because I can see just fine out of my left.

It was a football accident, so my chance of ever playing football in high school was pretty much over. Because I lost depth perception, playing baseball was out of the question especially when they started throwing curve balls. I found other interests and other sports.

Blindness in my right eye probably restricted my life in a few minor ways, but in reality it wasn’t that big of a deal. I certainly never allowed for it to define my life. On the other hand, my mother certainly shaped me for the better.

She was of the stay-at-home variety and I saw my Mom every day after school. She grew up as a latch-key kid, but I did not. She never wanted that for her children and didn’t go into the work force until both of her kids were essentially out of the house.

When she married my father, she could hardly boil water. Over the decades, cooking became a passion and she still loves to experiment and try new recipes. We would nearly always come down to eat at the dinner table as a family. Dinner time was family time.

What I learned most from my mother is that family is the most important thing. Your family are the ones to rely on when you need help. When confronted with obstacles or realized successes, my family was there.

As I reflect on the lessons taught by accidents and mothers, it is my goal for 2016 to keep these ideas alive in me. Not as some sort of resolution, but as a steadfast core belief in myself.

So, on this last day of 2015, I say goodbye. Goodbye to a year of doubt and fear. Goodbye to the need to be like others or how others view. Just be me. I may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what I want to accomplish, but I can’t be paralyzed by it. I can’t be fearful.

It’s hello to a restored sense of family. An embrace of what I have right in front of me and less about what I think I want or desire. This is the year I find my own voice and quit letting the successes of others drive me or attempt to mimic their unique achievements. I’m the star of my own life and I need to start acting like it.

The best motivator for me is me. Do better than before. Get better. Find the next level and keep at it. In my writing, with my family, in how I approach this precious thing called life.

The adventure is just beginning.