Last January, I wrote a note to an old friend. One I hadn't spoken with in more than eight years. After the brief catch up section, I told her I had lymphoma. Aware that this is a shock for people to hear out of the blue that you have cancer right after you've just given them some light fare about the goings on of the boys, I put a positive spin on things. (When you have cancer you quickly learn managing others' emotions regarding cancer becomes part of your job.) I let her know that I've finished up treatment, was growing stronger every day and after everything I had been through in 2015, I expected only good things in 2016.
I'm pretty sure I didn't believe what I wrote to my friend. Getting cancer and getting raped both have provided painful lessons that your not getting through this life with years full of only good things and expecting only the best is just a going to make it harder when the worst comes. What I should have said was that I expected 2016 to be a mixed bag that it would ultimately become. There were good things like getting our first child through to high school graduation and off to college. We took an amazing vacation to some of the most awe-inspiring parts of our country and I'd get to experience many moments of deep connection with my family and friends. But there was bad too. I'd find out the cancer was growing again so shortly after treatment. I'd spend much of the year dealing with pain and fatigue that limited my daily activities. In the fall, I go through a particularly tough adjustment to life with our oldest away at college (This was hard. So very hard) and then the horrible election season culminating in Trump winning the White House.
Expecting the future to be better than the past often provides a needed hope to get through today especially if the recent past hasn't been so kind. But for 2017 I'm expecting that year will be similar to the past - not all good and not all bad.