Sunday, April 29, 2012

Celebrating another year

How often do I hear people complaining about their age. "Geez, I hate getting older." "Look at my wrinkles! Look at my pot belly! I don't even know who I am anymore!"

I have a friend who is a good deal younger, lets call her Mary. Mary said to me one day "When I turn 70, I am just going to drink the Koolaid. I have no intention of being old"

I was a little shocked by this so I thought I would follow up and asked what led her to this idea.

"At 70 I won't be able to run. I won't have any more adventures. Life wouldn't be worth living."

I am wondering what you think about this. If you are a survivor... if you have seen your own mortality flash before your eyes, you may be like me. You may feel each day is an adventure and you don't want to miss a moment of it.

When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I started holding my breath. I don't know if I truly believed I would be able to live to see my 70th birthday - I didn't know if I would live to see my 50th. The moments I spent in suspended animation were precious but hesitant. The joy was nearly always accompanied with a sense of looming dread. I knew the other shoe was hanging there just waiting to be dropped.

Then one day I exhaled. I found I could breathe. That was the day I realized I wasn't going to die from Breast Cancer. I would die from something quite ordinary like everyone else. And there was no date on which this will happen. I had as much chance at life as the person standing next to me. That realization gave me permission to live and experience a lot of things I believed impossible - like walking in three Breast Cancer 3 days! No one could have convinced me I was capable of doing that... no one. I had to discover this on my own.

What came with that was this incredible feeling that ANYTHING is possible. Now of course there are things that I don't choose to do, not because they are impossible, but because I am too busy enjoying those things I am doing.

One of the gals that is walking with me now is walking for the first time. To her this is a huge mountain she could never have imagined climbing. (I know that feeling). But yesterday while we were walking she said "I can do this!"  (I know that feeling too!)

Tomorrow I celebrate my 59th year on this earth and begin to celebrate my 17th year of surviving Breast Cancer. All of life is an adventure. I am thrilled to welcome each and every year. I may look in the mirror and think "who is that woman and where did she get all that loose skin under her chin...." but I also look at the light in my eyes, the joy in my smile and the wisdom in my wrinkles and say thank you to the heavens for this gift of time.

There are no guarantees just how much life any one of us has. What ever time we are given, it is our duty to embrace and live to the fullest. What will I be like when I am 70? Grateful and full of adventure. I hope I remember your name - but if I don't - just introduce yourself to me again. Each day in a new chance to discover something, somewhere or someone fantastic, new, thrilling, sad, lovely, inspiring, loving, rich, significant, funny or comforting. I know I have a lot of those discoveries ahead and I welcome each and every one.