Like most people who resolved not to make New Year's resolutions, I have made a bunch, mostly inside my head. They probably sound like everyone else's.
The one thought that stuck with me, though, was a long-ago conversation I had with one young man, Jason Dale, who was my work experience student. Jason had Duchenne's muscular dystrophy and was only fifteen when we had this conversation, which turned into a violent argument (about why I should care if he was late or not).
Ten minutes into the conversation, he blurted out 'but I'm going to DIE!' - Duchenne's is a condition which results in a shortened life expectancy for most young men.
I gave him some kind of sanctimonious lecture about how everyone was going to die and 'the point' of existence, and used an analogy about money and life - if you only had three dollars left til the rest of the week, would you spend it wisely, or fritter it away, saying 'What's the point?' He looked at me in frustration and I could tell that he knew that I did not understand, despite knowing both Jason and his brother Andrew, who died some years before, fairly well.
At this time of year there are many resolutions made - but the only one that I am thinking of is 'making it count'. Living every day as though you know, for sure, that your last breath on earth will be taken on 1 January, 2015. Doing whatever you're passionate about, or taking time out, or hugging your family, or spending time with your friends.
Thank you to Jason, who turned out to be my teacher rather than my student. Jason passed away on September 26, 2012. Thank you also to Josh Hackett, Michael Baptiste, Lesley Hall, Shane Oreilly and the many other advocates and friends who have passed on the baton.
I promise to make it count.