The last four years have been enlightening, horrible, amazing, terrifying, and full of more grace, kindness, and love than I could have ever imagined. I woke up in the ICU with a cancer diagnosis, spent 17 days in the hospital, had 32 radiation treatments, had five more surgeries, my mother got sick, my father got sick, my father got sicker, and one of my best friends died. We said goodbye to Jenn on Thursday night, which has left me feeling contemplative on this early Sunday morning.
Over the past four years there’s been a lot of change, a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, and a lot of support along the way. I spent some time over the last few days thinking about the person I want to be and the person I don’t want to be. As I blessedly and steadily more toward my 42nd birthday I like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way.
The following list is a work in progress; good sense and wisdom come with time and experience.
Things I’ve Learned (a work in progress)
1. With love we are healed.
2. Love freely even if it means getting hurt in the process.
3. Forgive; grudges only destroy you. The person you’re hating on has long since forgotten about you and whatever you’re stewing about. And, what’s more they don’t care.
4. Put yourself out there, no one is going to invite you to x, y, or z if you’re hiding in the corner thinking you’re not good enough to join the group.
5. I don’t control the universe. (Well, we’ll put this one in the “still learning” column.)
6. Bloodlines don’t make families; love and connection make families.
7. Friends are incredibly important.
8. People’s opinions of me are none of my business and I need to stop worrying about what other people think of me. (We can put this in the “still learning” column also.)
9. You can’t change people. Either love them as they are or don’t but don’t try to change them. You’ll beat your head against the wall and lose your mind but you won’t change them.