Whether politically, professionally or culturally, did any new year approach with less subtlety than 2019? Usually, these calendar-turns sneak up in velvet slippers, and what masquerades as new is mostly more of the old. We lift our glasses, toot on noisemakers and then proceed with business and life pretty much as usual.  

Not this time. Within long-term care, 2019 is already shaping up as one of the most potentially disruptive ever. Uncertainty is aplenty, and along with the usual workforce and regulatory demons, we can feel the PDPM (also known as the Patient-Driven Panic Model) shaking the ground like a horde of approaching Orcs.   

Given the urgency of the situation, it seems prudent to move beyond well-intentioned Resolutions and embrace a new perspective: the New Year’s Revelation. Because though we have little idea what to expect in 2019, one thing is certain: Whatever happens will be eye-opening and educational.  

If you’ve ever had a conflict with a difficult person and turn to friends for counsel, someone will inevitably blurt out, “Well, just remember … everyone is your teacher.” You’ll want to slap them, because you know they’re right. The unwelcome challenges, transitions and people we find most distasteful and frightening, the ones that threaten everything we hold dear, invariably turn out to be transformative in the long run. 

Oh, we’re resistant at the time — pumping our tiny fists at the universe in anger and victimhood. But the hard-to admit truth is we’ll learn something and be better because of them, and experiencing invaluable epiphanies. 

So what will we face in this new year? Who knows? I certainly don’t, and neither do you. But literary icon Samuel Beckett has a suggestion, which I seem to quote every year at this time.

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” he said. And maybe that’s the only foolproof Resolution we can make for dealing with whatever Revelations 2019 brings.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in Humor Writing in the 2014 American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards program.