I ditched my personal Facebook page a few weeks ago as nearly everyone on the newsfeed whined about one thing or another each day — rather unpleasant over the long haul. My ‘Page’ however remains in tack a place in which I can post uplifting things, as this is my passion in life — peace, harmony, all that hippy stuff. Minus the drugs as anyone that knows me can tell you that I find people who take drugs completely offensive and should be either, a) helped to figure out how incredibly stupid they are being or, b) thrown in jail and never let out. I digress.
I found myself gravitating toward Google + and again, I find a running theme there, people complaining about their lives— women who post things about how bad men are, how one should never let a man hurt your heart, how real men do not do such things — a constant barrage of sadness. Then there are those who complain they hate their lives, how their jobs stink, their boss sucks, and the traffic is insane. They whine about their wives / husbands and life in general. Above all, they express their hatred for their particular situation. Ironically, though, they do not hate their lives or they would change it.
How do I know they do not truly hate their lives, simple, because for the majority of my life I ‘hated’ my life. It was not until I actually had enough courage to listen to my soul, the core of my being that constantly whispered this in not how life is suppose to be, that I moved from ‘hating’ my life to loving every single breathe I take. Not to say life will never have its troubles and disappointments, rather, it is how one reacts to these ordinary life occurrences and how one proceeds to move forward in a positive manner that true change can begin to take shape.
Building your positive life is akin to building a home, except you are the contractor and association with only the top architects, carpenters, painters, landscapers and interior designers will do— in fact you insist upon it. Furthering this line of thought…
Think of process building as building a house, if you begin with a solid foundation you are more apt to construct a home that will withstand the ages. Yet, if you begin with a faulty foundation your walls will be out of line and the more likely your home will be out of kilter for the short duration it is able to stand and the constant repairs will become a constant reminder of how you should not have skimped on the extra materials needed to do it right the first time. Each phase of construction builds upon the last, thus it is vital to construct each phase with precision to avoid a leaky roof.
The foundation of your life house is to discover who you, your passion, along with acknowledging any pitfalls that are in your path and which leads to understanding if you are indeed ready for Strategic Life Planning. In order to begin building your foundation you must be certain you are ready to change your life for the better.
External Personal Stakeholders — Anyone that is influenced or influences your life but is not a member of your household. Examples — employer, colleagues, friends, physicians, financial institutions, educational institutions, society, humanity, laws and regulations and community.
Internal Personal Stakeholders — Anyone that is influenced or influences your life that is a member of your household. Examples — YOU, spouse, siblings, children, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend, roommates.
Determine the Following:
Being completely honest answer the following questions for each Personal Stakeholder. Listing each person individually and concisely citing specific details.
- How does each person affect your life and how do you affect theirs?
- How important is each person, ranking them in order — Important, Somewhat Important, Not At All Important.
- What role should this person have in your Strategic Life Planning Process?
- What do you need from this person and what do they need from us?
Once you have determined the importance of each Personal Life Stakeholder, you must determine the extent to which they will be involved in the Strategic Life Planning process, if at all. (Collaborate, Consult, Inform, Ignore)
Important Reminder: Surround yourself with people who make a positive impact and thus making your life better.
Key Life Participants will provide insight, positive engagement, positive reinforcement, love, honesty, respect and bring out the best in you.
Determining Key Life Participants is an essential component to the life building process. Deciding who, among you, will stay, or go is rather difficult, but more often than not the most important decisions are the most difficult.
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While you are pondering the above thoughts, I shall let you in on my ‘Life with Mel”. (This title came to me the other day of how my new life is —I laughed.) As we all know I had my sixth melanoma removal surgery on New Year’s Eve and the following conclusions were that Mel was still lurking about somewhere in my leg — thus a long pause, a silent prayer and a thought, ‘could this really be the end?’ crossed my mind. Thoughts of how to live with Mel came next and it is what I have been doing these last few weeks — learning to embrace my new ‘normal’. My lymph nodes are gone, leading to swelling in my entire left leg from the moment I stand up to the moment I lay back down again. My new normal is wearing compression stockings, somewhere between your Grandmothers support hose and a tourniquet to keep my leg from swelling to the size of an elephant. I gasped when I first saw the new girth of my leg, and frankly, if I wanted it to be that large I would have spent the better portion of my life engulfing donuts. (Let us just say my left leg and my jeans did not find themselves compatible any longer.) I have been diligently working to figure out how to live with the chronic pain that Mel has brought to this relationship, every waking moment of every single day. I am the kind that goes inward for such answers, looking towards my mind and my soul as what is the right thing, while diligently reading every scientific paper I can get my hands on to understand Mel and his musings.
My last PET scan was a few weeks ago and the results are . . . . long dramatic pause. . . there is no ‘active disease’ within my system. This is a great thing, but it is not to say that Mel and I have broken up by any means, we just have to search for him on a routine basis and hope that he shall remain docile. In the meantime, I simply deal with ‘what is’ as this is my new normal, which is going to be just fine. Here is the view what happens when one of hangs out with Mel, he is a brutal beast and a wonderful reason on why you should never, ever get a tan. I am told that it will always be like this, a wonderful wavy pattern, as removal of melanoma is akin to liposuction, once the tissue is gone, its gone.
Embrace where you are, if you do not like where you are then change it. You are the captain of your ship so steer it where you wish to go. Even I will not let Mel determine my ultimate destination, as there are so many places to go and people to see.
The power of a secret, of innermost thoughts, dreams, fears of another, or of us — indiscretions, trips on the wild side, misdeeds, and actions that should not have been taken. We entrust our secrets to others and for those we do reveal our desire to share surpasses any chance that our skeletons will spill out of the closet if opened. Yet, do you ever wonder about the power you hold when keeping secrets of others?
I sit and write the true tale of Laura, a woman who precariously navigates the Hollywood dating waters, while she searches for her soul. As I do, I realize that she holds many secrets that possess the potential of breaking many lives. The married men that swirl in the circles of the Hollywood limelight, those who are all powerful and yet, it is not their careers that would be in jeopardy if such secrets were to be spilled, it would be their private lives that would come crashing down around their feet — the quagmire of deception runs deep.
The more I write the more I realize the potential downfall of this tale, as our heroine sits on a virtual powder keg of best forgotten private thoughts and deeds.
What secrets do you keep? Would you ever tell? Is there a price for your secrets?
Excerpt from 101 First Last Dates and Other Suspicious Activities
Eyes are windows to the soul—all these men had unwavering grief that dwelled just beyond the, hey baby’s and you’re beautiful’s. While eyes may be windows to the soul, nothing speaks louder than watching a man sleep, as in sleep true self reveals itself — the façade that is built during waking hours evaporates as the body finds rest — peace consumes where fear once reined.
His soul glowed brightly after exhaustion took over — the man whose hopes, dreams, and wishes had been crushed by his former girlfriend disappear and the little boy who dreams of great things appears— as if by magic. The hardness that consumes his waking soul fades and the true man appears, a gentle, kind, compassionate man who longs to be loved, yet is deftly afraid to take the wall he built around his heart down.
“This isn’t your first rodeo baby.”
It began with Hey baby and a smile. Whether Laura was out of her mind looking for a relationship with a man that was three hours down the coast, thus geographically unavailable, was besides the point — she was looking for one last round of excitement while her life continued to unravel at a tremendous pace. The excitement would be waiting for her at the end of the 3-hour road trip, or at least that was the plan.
A proverbial hot summer Friday night in Southern California, a neon sign flickering Beer and Billiards broke through the darkness as the small voice asking what the hell are you doing was being successfully ignored — Laura drove into the crowded parking lot.
Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome met Laura in the dimly lit parking lot. “Hey Baby, you must be thirsty after all that driving.” Without waiting for an answer, he leaned in close, firmly planting his lips upon hers — the taste of booze lingered. Continuing to ignore her inner monologue warning Laura to be careful, she laughed at his southern twang and followed him inside, where (conveniently) his buddy was waiting at the bar —tequila shots stacked up next to him. They exchanged glances and nodded, apparently, Laura had passed the ‘bro’ test and proceeded to order a beer. Several hours of drinking and conversation ended with her hauling them both back to Mister Tall Dark and Handsome’s house because neither were in any condition to drive and Laura had zero desire to drive 3 hours back up the coast.
She awoke to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air and that distinct southern twang “Morning Baby, you hungry?” This was a pleasant surprise, a most unexpected twist — chivalry was alive and well. The next year was spent performing the delicate emotional dance of enjoying the moment without getting attached. Every Friday she would head down the coast to where Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome would be waiting with candy, flowers, wine and candlelit dinners for two — long romantic weekends, hot steamy nights, breakfasts in bed, lazy Saturdays basking in the warmth of the summer sun—relaxed, uncomplicated bliss.
Somewhere along the line, it got complicated, very complicated — the gifts became intimately personal, conversations focused on the future and the wall around his heart that he had so carefully built began to crack at its very foundation.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, as did this. Laura moved across the country— he never said stay. A month after she had moved she opened her mailbox and found an envelope postmarked California, it was from him, it read “I Love You Baby” — it was too late.
Wonderful people are everywhere; they live amongst us – living angels. At first glance you may not notice them as these types of people do not tend to live in the lime light, nor do the overtly seek out attention, but they are there – one must simply open the gate to let them in. I for have never been one for opening the gate, I guard myself on many levels. But alas, since my ridiculous journey of hospitals, doctors, diagnoses and the constant bombardment of overwhelming life changing decisions, a few new angles have recently appeared. Now, mind you I have had angels all along, one being my best friend that has always been there, through thick and thin and no matter how many miles now separate us, we shall ever remain connected.
I have gained tremendous knowledge through all those who have crossed my path, as no one enters your life without a purpose. We learn either how not to act as human beings as the drama these folks create is a bit too much, or we discover there are many blessed people who live joyous lives and thus we, in turn, move away from the drama and towards tranquility. Today I speak of one particular person that has crossed my life journey path, a woman whom I have never met, yet she glows sweetly everyday with such joy that it radiates through the computer screen – Latonja Flowers. Like her name suggests, she blooms with brilliant radiance.
Through the glorious world of the internet we are able to connect with those whom we would otherwise never encounter. One friend, (another angel, connected through social media) is connected to Latonja and thus I do believe this is how she appeared in my life. Latonja, a creative soul, designs wearable art – truly a labor of love, or at least I believe it to be so. When my cancer reappeared, like a horrific nightmare in which I am that chick running, at night, in the pouring rain, through the mud-laden creepy forest in which I inevitably twist my ankle breaking my high heels (but only one) forcing me to limp along as I desperately try to escape the clutches of some mass serial killer, I posted that I was in need of a good luck charm.
Yesterday my good luck charm appeared in my mailbox. Latonja did not have to create anything; she did not have to take the time out of her day for someone she has never met. Yet, as I have mentioned there are living angels here on earth and thus my heart is again restored to a place in which I have regained faith in humanity and most importantly myself. Simplicity is the true meaning of elegance. It is beautiful. I may never take it off.
(My photo does not do it justice and for whatever reason my camera seems to be uncooperative in taking a decent photo, or quite possibly it is user error, the world may never know. )
Find your angels, let them in and life begins to glow.
If interested in Latonja’s work, her creations can be found on her website.
Original Gams, Stems, Uprights, Get Away Sticks post can be found here.
Here we sit, my Gams and I, twenty-six days since my last surgery – lovely number six. In all honesty, never in my wildest dreams did I think a youth spent in the Southern California sunshine would end up some 30-ish years later with multiple surgeries, a multitude of doctors and everyone encountered inside the medical realm saying ‘I am sorry’ each time we meet.
Captain Hindsight being who he is – always the voice of reason – I can look back and realize that maybe, just maybe, the billionth sunburn was not a good thing. I have also come to realize that any sort of tan is tremendously bad and how from now on I shall embrace the Midwestern Winter White as the end all be all of fashion statements.
I can either move forward with ‘what is’ or sit and fume about it how it sucks, it is not fair or a plethora of other worries and woes – moving forward it is.
My father always said I had great legs for a broad. My dad always spoke like this and in no way was it a backhanded compliment, rather a sincere expression of his love. His delivery style was not always the norm; instead, it was uniquely him. When my eldest son was learning how to use a ruler in elementary school, he measured my legs – nearly twenty years ago they extended some three and half feet. I am certain they still do, but I have not busted out a ruler since that day long ago and when we consider the simple fact that I am only five feet ten inches tall, my legs take up a great portion of my existence. They now consist, underneath the wrappings, of a simply delightful scar that extends from just below my knee to just above my ankle – a constant reminder of what the cost is to stay out in the sun.
In addition to this wonderful scar (insert you should see the other guy joke), the tremendously painful part is where they took my lymph nodes out. We need lymph nodes, the body uses them to drain the fluid from limbs, so taking them out, while useful in ceasing the travel of the pesky cancer cells, inhibits a simple thing called walking. If you wish to understand the surgery I endured, as knowledge is power, look up groin lymphadenectomy. It is not for the squeamish, but frankly, I am afraid of the norm that considers skin cancer not a big deal. Trust me it is a big deal. An analogy if you will: Picture your thanksgiving turkey ready to carve and what is the first thing you do, you set your eyes on the drumstick. Consider how you go about taking it off, assuming you use a carving knife, and that pretty much sums up the after effects of a lymphadenectomy.
Now not everyone will get cancer, not everyone will have to go to the extent of having multiple surgeries to try to cut the nonsense out that lurks just beneath the surface. Yet, the continued normal assumption will be that that skin cancer is not a big deal – hell it is what I thought. One would also think, going in a removing the dastardly cells that are causing all the commotion would be enough, but no wait, there’s more! Two weeks ago we, my gams and I, met with the oncologist and he spent the better portion of an hour, going over a few different types of treatments, all of which is a blur as I had doubled up on my pain medication that day in order to endure the car ride across town. At the end, it was clear that there are still small bits and pieces lurking about in my leg, and that they must be evicted as they are no longer welcome. While I sit and muddle through the possibilities, the decision at the end of the day rests with my surgeon, my oncologist, and the tumor board as to which direction is best to take – they met yesterday.
So, my dear readers, here we sit, three weeks before the second anniversary of the ‘you have cancer’ phone call from my doctor and it is not over yet – lots left to do, in terms of not only eradicating the cancer but also living my life. I did not escape twenty-year abusive marriage, finding all that life has to offer and how happiness is a choice not a destination, to end up giving into the likes of Mel, Mel Anoma.
Take care of yourselves, follow your dreams, ditch the drama, and surround yourself with those who make your life better.
NOWHERE or NOW HERE?
Be happy with the here and now and do not dwell upon what ifs, and if only’s.
Life is too short to live for some future date.
If you find yourself saying “I will be happy when…” then pause, rethink, and focus, on what you do have in the here and now.
Being grateful for what you do have while being mindful on what improvements can be made allows the best of the future to fly in.
When you feel you are going nowhere, remember that you are NOW HERE.
P.S. I will have an update on my journey with cancer this weekend.
Take Care of Yourself….Stay Out of The Sun. Seriously, it’s not worth it.
I have lost my Zen again, as we know from before, my Zen had walked out on me, dancing and frolicking amongst the cosmos with those who could provide it some sort of entertainment. It seems to be me that it skips out of Dodge when I have gone another round with my surgeons and their best friends the anesthesiologists. My thoughts seem to slip under the rug, or possibly into the back of the closet to hide in the cover of darkness until the storm has passed, but my Zen, Oh! My Zen seizes these moments to silently slip past the darkness and into the light that is the party that lies just beyond one’s imagination, the place in which only those who dare seek enlightenment go. It flits amongst the true meaning of life. Yet, upon its arrival back home, it will keep this newfound knowledge to itself – never uttering a word.
These surgeries have put up huge roadblocks in what I wish to accomplish. This last one, my sixth, and frankly I do not know if I could withstand another round of stitches, pain medication, and the constant need to ask for assistance to the most ordinary of things – walking would be the largest want. It drains me, the burden of asking for help, as is with the majority of people – we wish to accomplish tasks by ourselves. When even the most simple of tasks becomes an hour-long production, it can be overwhelmingly draining not only on those who care for an individual but the individual themselves. I have always been an independent and headstrong woman. My father would be the first to tell you this lovely fact about me as I was growing up, my insatiable need to do things my way was certainly a bone of contention between us. Yet, my insatiable need to be headstrong and stubborn is most certainly the reason I have been able to endure six surgeries in 23 months – this is my mountain.
While my mountain is not necessarily the ordinary mountain most folks face, it does bring me to ask what you are going to do about that mountain that stands in your way of your dreams. Are you going to climb it without trepidation or are you simply going to let a landslide every now and again bury you at the base of it? I for one am most certainly not going to let this last increasingly annoying, and most painful surgery stop me from doing what I want to do. Yes, it is a landslide, but with the help of a shovel (possibly a backhoe), I will relocate this hill of dirt and continue my journey up the mountainside. It is all how you view things, one can view these landslides as the end of everything, how it has blocked your path and giving up is most certainly an option, but it is not the correct choice. Grab your shovel and start digging.
This surgery has left me with more lovely scars and while I will not bore you with the gory details let us just say removing my lymph nodes from my left leg requires a set of increasingly creepy drains that have become a part of my side. Seriously? Wow, you are going to do what? Was my reaction to my surgeon. Fortunately, they will only remain an extension of me for another week or so. Combine these atrocious additions to my body with the fact I cannot walk without my lovely new assistant, we shall simply call ‘the walker’. Oddly, I do not abhor the walker, I welcome its assistance as I could not make it the few steps to the lavatory (cool word, lavatory, we used it when I was in grade school) nor could I hope to venture as far as the kitchen. I have spent the last thirteen days in bed, as my physician says I must recline in order to let the, (now I was going to use the word gash, but I suppose that is inappropriate, so incision is what I will use) incision that exists from my hip down and around my leg. Lovely sight, truly it is.
So, my dear readers, if you were able to walk across your home today. If you woke up with nary a complaint as to your health. If your biggest complaint was the weather then you most certainly are ahead of the curve and can easily move towards your dreams and achieve your goals. Remember to breakdown your goals into manageable pieces. For example: first I must divorce myself from these lovely plastic drains that protrude from my thigh and then I can concentrate on relearning how to walk. I could easily look at the entire picture as overwhelmingly difficult to accomplish, but one thing at a time and first things first as they say.
So, what will you put first on your list? What is the first thing you must do to set out on your positive path to fulfilling your destiny? How can we work together to make your life . . . wonderful?
Have a simply spectacular day/afternoon/evening, whatever time of day that brings you to read my thoughts of how things work.
Let us begin with the awful truth about the never-ending drama that is ‘dating cancer’. As we all know, if you are following along, stupid cancer refuses to break-up with me and continues to stalk me at every turn. Tomorrow I go in for my sixth surgery to remove this insidious disease from my limbs. (Woohoo!, Said no-one ever.) The good news is that it is still stuck in my leg and hasn’t progressed anywhere else, the better news is T-Cell Therapy is amazing, and I am going to insist upon. I will also stop cheating on my whole-food plant-based diet as I have, over the last two years, cheated with cheese, glorious cheese. BUT now it comes down to living above ground, or lying 6 feet below it so it isn’t really a difficult choice to make. (I recommend the book Whole, to find out more on a whole-food, plant-based diet) I will, however, be stuck in the hospital for at least a few days, and once again, be stuck for the next six to eight weeks doing the healing thing. Can you sense my enthusiasm? Although. . . while I am swimming in a drug induced state, I may come up with the perfect words to conclude the world of 101 First Last Dates and Other Suspicious Activities. (It is the plan.)
Today, I leave you with a portion from our little book of shenanigans as for tomorrow I have a date with my surgeon.
Take care of yourself, folks – follow your dreams today, as tomorrow is not guaranteed.
“Are you normal?” he asked. “You seem normal. Let’s go out this weekend”
“I am sorry; I will be in Manhattan this weekend. Can we make it for next weekend?” Laura responded to his somewhat unconventional opening line.
“Well, I don’t know if I can wait that long, call me when you get back.”
It was most certainly an odd first conversation, but she agreed to call him upon her return.
Three days later Laura dialed the phone, “Hi, how was your weekend?” From the other end of the phone, she heard “It was great, I am seeing someone now, but if you would like to come over that would be okay.”
Hmm, Thursday afternoon he was looking for a girlfriend, Monday afternoon he was in a relationship. Why I don’t pay attention to the bells and whistles that go off in my mind is beyond me, it’s obvious he isn’t about dating, or life, or anything else, but arrogant.
“Awesome, what’s your address?”
Upon arrival at his home, Laura realized that his life revolved around his ego — humanity was damn lucky to have him in it. The ridiculously rich may have issues with the rest of the so-called peasants but this guy took it to the nth degree. Walking into the foyer revealed an ornately decorated house with all the bells and whistles – all the things mere peasants could not afford. She nervously forced a smile.
“Come upstairs, we will watch a movie; I have the pre release of a film I am producing.” Oh great, another wacko from Hollywood. The winding stairway led to a home theatre, it looked precisely like the cinema complex across town, complete with a snack bar, theatre seats—you could invite 30 of your closest friends. “Do you workout?” he asked as they walked into the theatre. Perplexed at such an odd question, Laura replied, “I do my best to get to the gym as much often as I can.”
“Do you want to see my gym?” Without waiting for a reply, he opened what appeared to be a closet door and to Laura’s amazement, another huge room unfolded before her – every piece of workout equipment known to man was waiting to be used. “I hate waiting in line at the gym, so I bought my own.” He quipped. Laura just stood there staring, as she found no words to express the extravagance that was set before her. “Let’s workout” he said.
“Oh gee, I would love to, but I am in my work clothes and . . .”
He cut her off mind sentence. “No problem, we can just work out naked.”
Oh My God! Where do these guys come from? How in the hell am I going to get out of here?
“Well, that would be great and all, but instead I think I should just leave.”
“Suit yourself.” He said, as he began to remove his shirt.
Laura did not wait around for him to finish, in a flash she was down the stairs and out the front door.
It was too bad that Mister Wealthy was such an asshole, as he was certainly something to look at, 6’4”, blond hair, blue eyes and it was quite apparent he took full advantage of his in-home gym with his chiseled chest, his well defined arms and the rest of him was not that bad either. Despite her disappearing act from his home, she did manage to get a peek at him while she was scurrying away. When she had reached the bottom of the staircase she briefly looked back to see if he was following her, he was not, instead, there he stood at the top of the staircase, naked, simply staring.
A string of bad dates would follow her mishap with Mister Wealthy, all the while she continued meet Mister Executive for lunch, dinner, or a quick cup of coffee, they would catch up on all the mundane things in life, they would laugh about the horrible dates she had been on and discuss how she needed to find the right man, a good man, one that was far different from her drug addicted, abusive ex-husband. Deep in Laura’s heart she knew she deserved such a man, but somewhere amidst the pain and anguish she did not believe it was possible – the little girl that dwelled just beneath the surface still believed that she was not worthy of such love. As a child, growing up in a dysfunctional, alcoholic household where her father, when he was home, was a mean drunk, and lashing out at his family – Laura married the same.
One evening, over wine and dinner, she spoke of the recent string of unstable men she had encountered. A man from San Diego who spoke of fast cars and fast women and how he was teaching his son not to date any fat women; his wife had gained too much weight, lost her interest sex, so he had to divorce ‘the bitch’ and find someone who would look good in his sports car. A self-employed plumber who believed that not paying child support was great idea and that most of his jobs were in cash so it did not reflect on his income reports. The young man half her age who was searching for a cougar to teach him the ropes, the firefighter who, separated from his wife, lived in a friend’s spare room and was simply looking for sex and the over the top religious man who, after a lovely evening out and after dinner drinks at his home, thought it was a fabulous idea to excuse himself, only to reappear in his living room in nothing but his underwear.
They laughed when she spoke of the man who said he would buy her a home and pay all her bills if only she would stay with him when he called, the local fire chief who was interested in finding a woman for his wife, and a restaurant owner who inquired to her interests in joining a swingers club and they could merely shake their heads in disbelief at the other two lunatics who viewed women as possessions.
Laura enjoyed her time spent with Mister Executive, it was their mutual sorrow that brought them together, each seeking a way through their pain, blinding them to the truth – they were indeed in love.
Today I was going to speak of New Year’s Resolutions and ask whether or not you partake is this yearly activity. What I had planned has been tossed into the virtual wastebasket in favor of a different line of thinking about New Year’s Resolution’s, goals, and the over-all conundrum of Gee another year gone and I still haven’t gotten any closer to fill in the blank. (Take your pick as everyone has their own sentence ending.)
I am about to head on over to my family’s Christmas celebration, filled with football games, good food, wonderful company and a libation or two. The snow this morning has created a beautiful carpet of white as far as the eye can see – it is a sight to behold this Sunday morning. Some people view the snow as a pain to deal with, the freezing temperatures as a path to depression and yet I view them as natures way of waking us up to what is important – as this type of weather tends to keep us indoors so that we can focus our attention to family. What does this have to do with New Year’s Resolution’s you are wondering? It seems to me that your first priority should be family, then your career – as no child ever thought their parents should stay at work more, and certainly by the time you reach middle age, you realize that your time could have been better spent focusing a tad bit more on family than meetings and deadlines.
I try to entwine my life, all its foibles and missteps, with solid life strategies in order to spare at least one person the pain and agony of doing things the hard way. My take on New Year’s Resolutions are they are a great way to begin again, wipe the slate clean if you must, and begin anew. I tend to use my birthday as a yearly marker, but this New Year is different. While, most of us check off the usual resolutions, eating right, exercise, healthier life style, less stress, find a better job, etc, striving to make our life better in some small way, this New Year I strive to do one simple thing – live.
I spent the majority of my life stressed out, working hard, stuck in an abusive marriage, angry, pissed off, and generally a stubborn hard headed woman that vowed to do things her way. I spent way to much time in the sun, without a thought of future consequences, hell I was young and never thought for a moment that anything could stop me and then I got cancer. I had multiple surgeries to cut out the beast and figured it was over, as I was cleared to go. The only thing I suffered from was a huge chunk of my leg missing, the inability to walk and chronic nerve pain, but the cancer was gone. I had figured the pain part out – deal with it.
Friday the 13th (yeah crazy I know) I had more surgery to remove some new lumps I found. This past Friday I have learned they are filled with cancer and so now, next week, I will have more surgery to remove all of my lymph nodes from my left leg and move on to some type of therapy. It hit my like a bombshell, I was stunned. But now,two days later I have figured out that this is merely a curve ball that life has tossed and nothing more. Yes, I am sure it will be difficult, the surgery details are rather unpleasant and yet, it will not stop me from pursuing my goals- helping you pursue and reach yours. It has put a bump in the road for my book 101 First Last Dates, and Other Suspicious Activities, but has only pushed it back a month or so.
My point is, and I know I have rambled and this is not up to my usual standard of writing, don’t wait to do things, pursue your dream. Dust your dream off if it’s been sitting in the back of the closet. Shine it up, and get moving on it. Someday never arrives. I will do it after kids, house, marriage, the new car, the promotion, the ‘after’ won’t ever show up as you will find new reasons to not take the first step to living your dream. AND most of all, and I cannot stress it enough – Melanoma is not ‘just skin cancer’ it will mess you up, physically and mentally and is most certainly preventable. Stay out the sun, be good to yourself, surround yourself with people who make you a better person. Love More. Stress Less.
And most of all – don’t wait, as Someday never arrives.
As promised here I am, on a Sunday morning, telling you about my goal, or at least a major one at this moment in time. It is a two-part goal, with the first part being completed by the end of this month. I have only a couple of more weeks to obtain the first portion of my goal and it has not been easy, but then again, nothing worth doing is rarely easy. I have found that the right decisions are usually the most difficult. To explain my goal, we must travel back in time a bit, 2008 to be precise. In November of 2008, I found myself with nothing but the clothes on my back, a few bucks in my pocket and on the highway headed east out of Los Angeles. The bright side of that picture is what I was at my optimal weight and was working towards optimal health, physical health, as my mental health was miles from optimal, closer to shattering into a million shards of emotional glass.
This is a photo of me during that time a couple of years earlier, in 2006. It was actually my mid life crisis month and I went and did something that I wouldn’t normally, a day of beauty with a wonderful photographer in Southern California. I highly recommend it to any woman out there. If you are in So. Cal go see Denise at Artistic Images as she has a way of bringing out the inner beauty in any woman. Plus, you will have a blast.
Buy 2011 I was running four miles a day, and was damn proud of myself taking charge of my health, on all levels. Then, lovely Cancer knocked on my door in February of 2012 and I have slowly sunk into the inactivity that the multiple surgeries have created, as inactivity leads to more inactivity and less desire to accomplish anything. I decided this past summer that even though the cancer has taken my ability to workout, I could at least curb my diet and work towards ditching the pounds that this whole fiasco has produced. I do believe it was the fact I have entered into my fiftieth year on this planet and come hell or high water I will not be overweight and out of shape by the end of it.
My first step was to set a manageable goal, as it is easier to move towards, in a positive manner than creating one that is most assuredly unattainable. I set my goal to ditch the twenty pounds I have packed on in the last two years, this past August. Now, I realize that may not seem like a lot of weight to some people, but it is what I was dealing with and frankly hated that I had let myself gain that much. My excuse was surgeries, the medication and a whole host of other lies I keep telling myself – as excuses are merely lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about doing what we should not be doing. As of this morning, I have five fabulous pounds left to go, which should be easy to ditch in the remaining weeks of the year. “But what if you don’t reach your goal?”, you ask. Well, if I don’t, not a big deal, I will simply adjust my course and resist the urge to walk down the potato chip isle at the grocery store to drown my sorrow.
Life will always try to throw you off course; roadblocks will most likely appear when you get really close to obtaining your goal – resist the urge to give up. Instead, readjust, and KEEP GOING. An example of a roadblock is I had, yet another fun filled surgery, on Friday. Having surgery can most assuredly bring anyone down but determination is a powerful friend and I most certainly have that. And of course there were things like, um. . . Halloween (damn chocolate) and then there was Thanksgiving and that damn pumpkin pie. Man, how I LOVE pumpkin pie! I digress. . .
Always move towards your goals no matter how many roadblocks may appear, whether it is health issues, people telling you that it can’t be done, or whatever it may, be – most importantly kick self-doubt to the curb. As I have said before the fear of success is usually what stops us, and that is where the self-doubt comes into play. “If I really am able to do this, then what?” The self-doubt is actually the fear of accomplishing your goal; your brain will then come up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t do something, which brings us back to my goal of not looking like I am half a century old. There is a part of me that says I am suppose to look a certain way and then there is a part of me screaming No Way in Hell Sister!
Seriously, I think back on the last fifty years of life, and while it hasn’t been all peaches and cream, it has been interesting, that is for sure but there is certainly room for improvement and I am most certainly not done yet! The fashion world (not that I follow it) would have you believe that once you are past forty you have to dress a certain way. Most certainly, if you’re a woman, you shouldn’t have long hair, as that is for the youngsters. Seriously, who comes up with these rules? (a rhetorical question).
I have until next summer to complete the second part of my goal, which is to recreate the above photo, as I want to do that on my next birthday. My goal is to look better than the photo. I am testing the theory that abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym. It seems to be working, although the pumpkin pie and a boatload of Halloween candy did set me back a bit.
I would like to inspire women of my age, that aging can be fun, and we are not doomed to be out of shape, over worked and simply tired. There is a lot to be said that 50 is the new 40 and I intend to prove just that.
Have a fabulous day. Inspire yourself, or someone else today. Start a new goal, complete an old one, or simply sit back and relax as a day of relaxation and reflection always does the mind, body and soul some good.