A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2009 Resolutions

New Year's is a little over 2 weeks away, so I've been thinking about next year and what tweaks and adjustments I want to make.

There's something about turning 50 this year--coupled with being a BRCA-carrying, two-time cancer survivor with a recent MRI exposing a "suspicious spot" on my leg bone--which makes me think seriously about how my days are numbered. I realize that I've not only lived over half my life at this point, but, also, that I can't necessarily count on living a long life since I've battled cancer twice. Yes, I'm aware that none of us knows how long we have, but cancer makes you more aware of this little fact.

So, peering into 2009 and beyond, here's what I want for my life:

ONE. I want every day to matter; every interaction with others to matter. I don't have time to waste. A day to waste. A relationship with another human being to waste. I want every moment to be lived, every connection with another person to bring life and meaning. This means changing my Tasmanian Devil-like behavior in which I buzz through life in a whirlwind of activity.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Take last weekend, for example. On Saturday morning, we had a security system installed. It was supposed to take only a couple of hours, but I happened to ask the young guy installing the system about his family, and as a result, my husband and I ended up doing marriage counseling with the installer for over an hour. It threw us off our schedule for the rest of the day, but he seemed so eager, so desperate, for advice.

After he left, I rushed off to visit with a former coworker, who had almost died this past year from complications from cancer surgery. Instead of my usual Saturday of errands and chores, I simply focused on spending time with her. And, it was time well spent. We reflected on where we've been with cancer and how life is precious--sharing in a way that only people who've been to hell and back can relate.

On Sunday, we baked Christmas cookies with two teenage brothers (yes--teenagers!) because for some odd reason, we are considered cool and hip enough for them to want to hang out with us. Two teenage guys=flour and cookie dough all over the kitchen floor and every utensil used. Yet, despite the mess that had to be cleaned up, I loved the laughter and they loved the attention.

As I reflect on this past weekend, I didn't accomplish a lot in terms of house & yard projects. Yet, I feel like I connected in a powerful way with others. And that makes me think that my life counts. That I can provide love and hope and joy to others, and that's really all I want for my life.

TWO. I want to stop living in fear. In addition to the economic calamity that pervades everyone's life at the moment, I'm scared that cancer will be discovered in me again and my life will be cut short. And, at the same time, I'm sick of worrying

I want to walk into the future with courage...accepting whatever comes my way. Dealing with life's challenges with power, rather than being the helpless victim. I'm tired of being the scared little mouse, scurrying to hide in a hole somewhere. I want to face life head-on. Of course, that doesn't mean that I won't have my meltdowns, pity parties and moments of angst. But after that, I want to get up, dust myself off, and move forward with boldness...tackling what life has in store for me.

THREE. I want to extend grace to others, being more forgiving and patient, more giving and kind--which will be a major challenge, since I'm often gnashing my teeth in frustration with the world in general. But, so many people have forgiven me for my mishaps and offenses, and extended grace and love and kindness when I needed it most...and I realize what a gift that is.

So, these are my goals for 2009 -- to embrace life more fully and powerfully than ever before, knowing that each day counts. To live with purpose and not waste a day with childish attitudes and ridiculous actions.

Other than these goals, the only other thing I want for 2009 is a great dye job. After all, if you're going to have a new boob job, you have to have great hair.