Living in the moment! Don’t worry about tomorrow, dream about it! Live in the now! Take risks! Be less predictable!
I try to remind
myself of these little sayings every day. Am I always successful? Nope!
But does it ever feel fantastic when I am.
I have always been
one to plan; my meals, my wardrobe, my finances, my life. Obviously cancer
doesn’t give a shit about your plans and so I have had to change. Eeeeeek!
Change! I hate change. I like predictability, I like knowing what to expect, and
I like organization, expectations and highlighters; highlighters are
So now that
treatment is over and it’s just me and Tamoxifen hanging out for the next few
years, what do I have to worry about, right? Wrong! I feel like when I finished
treatment, every one around me took a huge sigh of relief but I felt like I was
just starting my ‘journey’ (ok, seriously, I am really starting to hate that
word. A journey sounds adventurous, exciting, PLANNED – cancer is not a
journey). Anyway, now I’m kind of lost - at a 'what now?’ point in my life. How
do I give back? How do I pay forward what others have done for me? How do I live
a more fulfilling life? How do I apply what I have learned from cancer to my
every day life? How do I ‘teach’ about cancer without preaching or complaining?
How do I take the pressure off myself to be the ‘perfect’ cancer survivor and
just learn to be (the new) me?
It’s almost like
there’s a void in my life now, and I’m not talking about the void on my chest. I
feel like something is missing (again, not talking about 'Righty'). In a weird
way though, I think every thing is going the way it’s supposed to be going. I
went to university for six years and got three degrees in education and yet I
have always known that I don’t want to be a teacher. Weird, right? Why keep
going back for different degrees and racking up an unspeakable student loan if
you know that you don’t want to teach? Well, I just always knew that I wanted to
be in education and make a difference, but just not in a classroom. Now that I
have a bachelor's degree in cancer, I feel like I know how to use my education
degrees. I was right to keep going back to school, and I was right that I didn't
want to be in a classroom; I want to be a part of cancer education.
Ok, so that answers
part of the 'what now' but what about the planning, the predictability, the need
to live in the moment? Well, I am taking baby steps. Here's an example; before I
had cancer, I had decided that I didn't want to get married, ever. I wanted to
be with Keith for the rest of my life, but I didn't want to get married (for a
variety of reasons that I don't necessarily want to get into here). Then I got
sick, really sick, and my life was potentially going to be taken from me, and
marriage all of a sudden became very important to me. I think I just assumed
that Keith and I would both live until we were 100 and die together, the way the
old couple from 'The Note Book' did. But then cancer happened and I realized
that may not be the case. I decided that the day I die, whether that means at 28
years old, 50 years old, or 100 years old (like I had planned), I want to die as
Keith's wife. Wow, this took a really morbid turn, really quickly.
There is a point, I
So, ever since I
finished treatment, I have wanted a ring, well, not just a ring, THE ring. And I
mean it's not enough that the entire world is putting pressure on Keith, but now
I am adding pressure, pressure that he hadn't felt before I was sick. But I have
recently started to try to live in the moment and trying not to plan my life
away (you know, that whole 'it's about the journey not the destination' thing).
Here's the conclusion that I've come to; as soon as we get engaged, I will start
planning the wedding, then we'll get married and somewhere in there buy a house,
my student loans will slowly be paid off, if we're lucky, a few kids will show
up along the way, I'll find my dream job and then what? When will I be happy? At
what point will I look at my life and say 'I am enough'? At what point will I
enjoy the life I live instead of the life I want to live?
So, I have (tried
to) stopped pressuring Keith. I love our lives. I love him. Why am I wishing
away this part of our lives together to just move to the next part? Is our love
going to change when I have a ring on my finger? I hope not. Am I going to feel
more fulfilled? I hope not. I hope I get happiness from within not externally.
It may not seem like anything significant to anyone else, but to me, this is
huge. Focus on making myself happy now, not in the future because you just never