Another question that I get asked quite a lot is this: What do you have on your bucket list? Well, it might surprise a lot of you that I don't have one and I have no intentions of ever creating one. For me, it kind of falls into the same category of creating those useless New Year's Resolutions. It's a tradition isn't it? Every year we sit around and talk about our resolutions for the new year. We talk about losing weight, eating healthy, getting rid of bad habits and such. But how often do we actually fulfill those resolutions? And, how sincere are we really in the resolutions we make? And, the most important questions: Are the resolutions we are making truly going to make a difference in our lives? Will it really make our lives better? I think that is why the idea of a bucket list is rather irritating for me. Going places and doing things and checking them off on a list is not in my opinion a great way to spend my final years. The only thing I really want is time and normalcy, two little words that have more meaning to me now than they ever did before my diagnosis. I just want to get up every day and be me again. I just want to have normal days doing normal things. When you are unable to be normal, it makes one appreciate those moments that have always been taken for granted. I wonder how many of you have stopped to consider how wonderful it is to just get up every day and be able to enjoy an ordinary day. Maybe you think being ordinary is boring, but I can tell you that being able to accomplish and do every day normal activities is truly a blessing. The ability to be absolutely boring and normal is a treasure worth holding onto for as long as you can. It may not always be there for the taking. If you're looking for a New Year's resolution that matters, why not just try taking time to enjoy each and every day just because it is an average ordinary day. Perhaps if you take the time to enjoy all of those little boring moments in your life and be grateful for them, it will help you to ride out the storms that will inevitably pop up because you know that you have truly appreciated each and every day that there is no storm.
As I'm reflecting on this past year, it would be easy for me to say that this is by far the worst year of my life. How could it not be? The year I learned I have terminal cancer has to be the worst. But, it really wasn't and here is my somewhat complicated answer to why this year has in some ways made my life better.
This time last year was a really low moment in my life. Yes, this was pre-diagnosis. 2014 had been a tough year. I had been hurt by many people in my life in ways that I felt could never be resolved. I felt un-loved, tired, frustrated, bitter, unappreciated and had decided it was time to disengage from many people in my life with whom I've always loved. I didn't feel that I was getting back from them what I was giving. I had definitely decided to take an enough is enough attitude. It was necessary for me to take these steps at the time but it also made me very sad. I won't go into the specifics of who and why because it no longer matters. It doesn't matter because sometimes life throws storms at you and forces you to change against your will. As a result of these storms, you find that you have strengthened in ways you never thought you could be strengthened. That is exactly what cancer has done to me. It not only woke me up, it also woke up many people around me. My storm has not only changed my life, it also caused a chain reaction of change in the lives of those closest to me. And, even though cancer sucks, in some strange way I have never felt more loved. So many wonderful people have come out of the woodwork to show that they care. As a result, it has helped me to put away my bitterness and has made it easier for me to forgive and let things go. Holding on to the past, holding onto bitterness, refusing to let things go will never ever help a person grow and change. It makes you stagnant and it pushes people out of your life in a way that is unhealthy. So yes, in those ways my life has significantly improved. And, it is the reason why Love has become my new motto. I am a walking example of how love has the power to strengthen you through others, even in the most darkest storms.
I find it interesting that people do not often think to show those they care most about how important they are to them until life smacks them on the back of the head! Yes, even me... I do want to try harder to show and give love and appreciation to the people in my life that have come to matter a great deal to me.
I guess if I were to be forced to create a bucket list it would comprise of those two things:
Show and give love any time I can...
Enjoy all of the Ordinary moments...
Yep... that's about it! :)
I have so many people to thank for helping me get through this tough year. Without all of you I really have no idea where I would be today. I am somehow stronger despite everything, and it is because of the endurance of others who have been helping to hold me up when I was unable to stand on my own. I have no doubt I will continue to need all of you to help me ride this storm again and again. And, I am truly blessed to know that I have so many people in my life who care enough to love me through my darkest hours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I do have a few shout outs I'd like to make:
To my lovely co-blogger who has been keeping our book review blog going strong despite my absence for many months! Thank you!
To the Rebel Readers Street Team for making me laugh, keeping me grounded, and allowing me to have a place to be normal, while at the same time smothering me with support. I love you ladies!
To the XOXperts and the Simon & Schuster gang who have been so supportive since my diagnosis by holding a spot open for me on the team despite my inability to fully participate. And, even more-so, for the personal support you have given me through it all.
To all of my friends and family who have sent cards, listened to my worries and fears, held me while I cried, sent me words of wisdom, who have joined in on my cause to be an advocate for BC, but most of all have shown me so much love and support and have continued to keep me in your prayers. THANKS to you all... you know who you are!
A very special shout out to my two military friends who showed up at my door, cleaned and organized my house and painted my daughters bedroom!! Your time and presence during a time when I was feeling very hopeless was a true act of friendship and love. THANK YOU!!
A huge Thank you to Zoe York who wrote a beautiful dedication in my honor in her newest book release! I love that so many people are spreading knowledge and power to others through my story. It gives me a purpose for getting up every day and fighting for as long as I can.
I'm positive I've left out someone... but, if I have it's not because I didn't notice... It's because I've lost count! That is a good thing I think... :) So, please forgive me if that has happened...
No one says it better than the lovely Martina McBride... here is a video for all of you... THANKS for loving me through it!
I'm Gonna' love you Through it by Martina McBride
Keep spreading the love this year.... to all those who need it!