When I turned 50 in 2016, like most my age, I created this grandiose bucket list and of course, I was going to hashtag it with #50at50. Fifty things that either scared the crap out of me (skydiving), try foods that make me squeamish (squid), or visit somewhere that would enlighten my soul (Tibet). Get this all done before October 19, 2017.
Well? Today's October 19, 2017, and I turn 51. At 7:03PM, to be exact, so there's still time, right? Nah, I'm heading to my 18th radiation treatment after work. So much for THAT hashtag...
PROCLAMATION: I hereby anoint 2017 (maybe even parts of 2018) as my Reset Year. The year of the pause button. The year of doing something that not only scared me a little more than a little but also crushed me into a million teeny tiny shards only to refashion, repurpose, and revitalize a whole new, better (albeit bent and cracked) version of me.
I never made it to Tibet yet my soul has been enlightened and recharged repeatedly this year by connections made with other survivors and supporters, reconnections with dear (I won't say OLD) friends, and new connections made with ...and I never had to leave my healing place of home, thanks to social media and some pretty powerful networks. I've cried more this year than the previous 50 combined, and...most importantly, I've learned, at this half century mark, about what really matters. Not some silly hashtag, not some inspirational YouTube video, not the amount of likes, followers, or click-throughs.
As with any learning situation I've ever been in, I've collected a few "adversity" nuggets to share:
✅ One never gets to be "done" with a cancer (insert your own adversity here) journey. It just continues, much like the backroads of our gorgeous western Wisconsin countryside, swerving along the way. It can be a beautiful ride; it can give you whiplash and/or make you lose your lunch. There's definitely a destination, but the journey never ends. You never "get over" having cancer; you simply get "through" it...hopefully. It's truly a matter of seeking for what's next?
✅ I have it so much better than some. I get hair-on-the back-of-my-neck emotions about health care conversations and supports for ALL cancers with every passing day of this trek. I have a support net larger than most, and for that I'm reminded daily about how grateful I should be. It makes me almost sicker to see people alone in the waiting rooms. It makes me cringe when I see the role the all mighty dollar and greed plays when dealing with people's lives. What can we do to lift each other up? What can we do to ensure quality of life for as many as we can?
✅ No matter what level the adversity we face, we always get two choices: get bitter, or get better. And as always, I choose the latter.
✅ There's no need to have all the answers or be able to fix everything, especially if they're not even be broken. Believing this can kill you.
That said, I'm bidding this year good riddance - ahead of time because my mom would always say, "If you can't be on time, be early." (Thanks, Mom!)
I'd say it's been real, but then my nose would grow and I'd be struck by lightning.
It's been a gigantic cluster.
It's been an eye opener.
It's been so excruciatingly painful; and,
It's almost time to hit the reset button.
So, what happens next? Where do we go from here when you've been through hell and back?
A new hashtag, of course!
Cheers to Happy Reset Year!