Happy new year
.by Sherry Saturno, LCSW, DCSW, LNHA
Have you ever noticed the sudden appearance of a wealth of advice about how to change for the better every December? The headlines are so inspiring. You can change your life! New Year, New You! I don’t know about you, but sign me up. Who wouldn’t want to become a new and fully actualized person? But is it that easy?
When you reflect upon what you’ve done over the past year, who you have been, where does that lead you? It can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to include a dramatic overhaul in which you turn your world upside down at once. It all begins with a shift in your thinking. Learning how to set boundaries, leaving unhealthy relationships.
Working with clients who are seriously ill and dying has made me understand that I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life realizing I never really lived. I don’t want to take a moment for granted, because I know tomorrow is not a guarantee. So many times, we don’t necessarily make decisions about life. We're captured by our circumstances.
When you think about your regrets, does it involve actions that you have done, or what you didn’t do? As agents of change, social workers inherently take chances. We put ourselves out there for our clients, sometimes even risking our own lives. We innovate in both subtle and bold strokes every day. That ripple effect, the real evolution, may be slow and deliberate, but the result is profound and beautiful.
When you’re under siege with guidance about how to move forward in the New Year, I don’t think you necessarily need to compile New Year’s resolutions. You’re already seizing every day when you follow what is curious, interesting, and unforgettable to you. And that type of compulsive engagement can only propel you into tomorrow, because your future is not governed by your past.
Sherry Saturno, LCSW, DCSW, LNHA, works in nursing home administration. She is the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 2016 Champion of Social Justice for the State of New York, and her short film "Human Investment" won the national 2016 NASW Media Award for Best Documentary.