Today a reporter called me, as someone who has spent time with people who are approaching the ends of their lives or living with suffering and struggle, to ask for my take on New Year’s Resolutions. “What really matters?” she asked. “What should we really focus on and what should we let go?”
Well now… I’ve given this some considerable thought, as I’m sure many in the palliative care community have. We are blessed to be often in the presence of people who are summing up their lives, celebrating accomplishments, grieving losses, healing hurts, expressing regrets. On that last point, I’ve heard quite a few, but it seems to me they boil down to two:
- Holding back
- Wasting time
Holding back from identities, growth, relationships, challenges, opportunities, adventures … Far more often people regret what they DIDN’T do, rather than what they did.
Wasting time on waiting, resentments and disappointments, destructive patterns of behavior or people, mindless “entertainments,” the flippin’ internet! Whatever you do, do it with attention and purpose, even if the purpose is rest.
- Don’t hold back.
- Don’t waste time.
There – all my New Year’s Resolutions done. How about yours?
A Year of Growth and Engagement
Here at the Institute through the past calendar year, we’ve certainly not been wasting time or holding back! Since January we have:
- Launched two major new curricula in hospital care management and pediatric palliative care, bringing our total catalog of courses to nearly 200
- Expanded our online course enrollments to 12,500 students since inception, representing more than 1,200 healthcare organizations
- Attended a dozen conferences
- Hosted our fourth National Symposium for Academic Palliative Care Education and Research
- Developed a significant strategic partnership with the Supportive Care Coalition, creating a Total Learning Collaborative
- Piloted a Faculty Toolkit for Curricular Integration of Palliative Care
- Gratefully received a significant major gift from local philanthropist Darlene Marcos Shiley, and changed our name in her honor!
In the New Year, we’re embarking on a new round of course development, in collaboration with innovative partners, in telehealth, integrative therapies, interprofessional consultation, and spiritual/existential care, among other topics. In between then and now, we’re looking forward to a bit of a rest – with attention and purpose! – and wish the same for you and yours.
Jennifer Moore Ballentine is the Executive Director of the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care.