Yesterday was exactly one month from when I found out that I had leukemia. One month into what will be a long two years. I’m only one month in but in this one month I’ve learned more about life and what matters than I have in twenty-five years. And for that I’m grateful.
I’ve learned that you’re in this life by yourself — with or without you, the world is going to keep spinning and the sun will keep shining and that you have to find the strength within yourself to keep going even when life gives you a not-so-great hand.
I’ve learned at the exact same time that you’re nothing without your family and friends and that there is literally not one thing more important in this life than the relationships you create. Material items mean nothing. It’s the people that you surround yourself with that are important. They will be the ones to pick you up when you’ve fallen, tell you they love you and give you more hugs, kisses and support than you think you deserve.
I’ve learned to take help when you need it. Don’t let pride get in your way– people won’t offer to help if they don’t want to. So take it.
I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I realized. That keeping a positive attitude in tough times, continuing to smile and believing in yourself is half the battle.
I’ve learned the power of a laugh. I’ve always loved laughing… who doesn’t? But I realized while Mike and I were driving to the grocery store two days ago and were hysterically laughing about something that that was the happiest I had been in a while. There’s really no better feeling (or therapy for that matter) than a good belly laugh. Laughter is happiness.
I’ve learned that faith matters– for me, it’s not about going to church and reciting memorized prayers but truly believing that there is something bigger in this life, something that can give you strength when you can’t seem to find it by yourself.
I’ve learned the power of being a good person. That doing little things for others matters. Bringing happiness to others brings happiness to your own life. Life’s a big circle and you will only get what you give.
I’ve learned that appearances matter more than they should but it’s just a reality of life. I’ve been very blessed to never have many self-image issues in the past but I find myself struggling the most right now with how I look. People say it doesn’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts. And that’s true. But I still find myself avoiding mirrors as when I look at the reflection, it’s hard to see myself. Whether it should be or not, I’ve learned that feeling good about yourself and how you look really is an important part of life.
I’ve learned that doctors and nurses are literally angels that walk among us. They sacrifice their lives and time with their own family and friends to save other peoples lives. I have such admiration and gratitude for what they do.
I’ve learned the power of music. Music has always been a huge part of my life but it’s helped me in the past month more than I thought possible. Music helps you truly feel emotions whether they’re happy or sad. A song can help you get out of bed in the morning, make shaving your hair off a little easier, take you back to a special memory or point in time, or bring calmness to your day when it’s getting overwhelming.
I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how long you go without talking to someone, if you made a difference in each others lives, you’ll always have a place in each others heart.
I’ve learned that people are good. There are bad people in this world but there are far more caring, generous and loving individuals. People that will go out of their way to make someone else’s day better and bring happiness to someone else’s life other than their own.
Lastly, I’ve learned that I honestly enjoy a frosty mug of beer, freshly poured glass of wine or recently shaken dirty martini. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am going to miss these little pleasures, A LOT, in the upcoming months. And ya know what? There’s nothing wrong with that.
You don’t need a cancer diagnosis to learn important lessons about life but you do need to learn things for yourself. Because as much as you hear or read about life lessons, they really only sink in until you come to the conclusions for yourself.
So one month in and I’m feeling optimistic. Feeling optimistic about my life, where it’s going and all the lessons I’ll continue to learn along this unexpected but important chapter of my life.
p.s. (cuz I love p.s.’s… and Sloths. Here’s a fab motivational picture my friend Amanda at work created for me. Talk about people going above and beyond to make you happy. Thanks girrrrrrrl.)