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From time to time, the Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN) is asked to distribute information on behalf of third parties. WRFN provides general information to self-advocates and families of children with special needs. The information provided on this website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider. WRFN is not responsible for any information or services provided by third parties. You are urged to use independent judgment when considering any resource.



Celebrate Your Way

By Carmen Sutherland, Coffee Club Facilitator

*This article was originally published in the Family Pulse Newsletter January 2020*


I wanted to start this "essay" by asking you how you will spend your New Year's Eve. Or, if you are a parent who has to get children in bed by 8 P.M. maybe the question is: how would you LIKE to be spending your New Year's Eve? When you had fewer commitments, was New Year's Eve a big deal to you? Or was it just another day? Did/do you feel pressure to set a really big goal for the new year and live up to it? Well, maybe this is the kind of wisdom you get from somewhere other than our newsletter, but I am here to tell you: You don't have to do that if it's not for you!

I remember the first time in college that I made it from my class to the accessible bus stop all by myself. I need to tell you that you could literally see this bus stop from the steps of the building, but for this directionally-challenged woman, this was a victory! At the time, I didn't tell anyone, because I knew no one would really understand. It was my accomplishment, it belonged to me alone.

I tell you this not to discourage you from celebrating conventionally or with other people, but to tell you that you are allowed to celebrate as you choose. If goals for the new year inspire and excite you, then please set some! If they bring you down, forget it! If you want to set a fun goal like "wear more earrings!" or "do more crossword puzzles" you can do that, too!

I am still learning that life does not need to be on anyone else's timeline, or be played by anyone else's rules except yours - and those you love, depending on the circumstances. Your story does not belong to anyone except for you, and that means that sometimes your celebrations will belong only to you as well. So, set the goals that are right for you, celebrate in ways that work for you, and this new year, please know that even if we don't know about all or any of your goals, or you don't have them, WRFN is cheering for you every step of the way. 



Leah Bowman at 11:41 AM
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