Saying Yes To The Roller Coaster

Life is a roller coaster. We hear that reference all of the time and I have to agree. I suppose if we choose to never leave the house or engage in activities and invest nothing in relationships with others it becomes more like riding the non-moving horse on the carousel, but generally life will find a way to knock us off of that horse and force us to interact whether we want to or not. I signed up for the roller coaster and as much as I’ve not enjoyed some of the scary moments or low points, I like the variety and have embraced the idea that the only control I have over the ups and downs is my reaction to them. Every bad patch has lead me to a new and better path that I feel I was supposed to be on. I believe in the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens”.

I choose to react to bad/negative things as if I’m supposed to learn a lesson that I can apply to other situations. I try to ask questions and usually the answers help to make me a better person. Why did that happen? Did I do something to bring it about and how can I prevent it from happening again? What helped to make it better and can I apply that to other things I see around me? There are always more things to learn and I find that usually negative situations teach me valuable lessons. It just requires me taking a step backward and trying my best to be objective.

How does cancer fit into this scenario? Well, you won’t hear me saying that cancer is a gift. Cancer is a jerk. It did force me off of the track I was on and made me slow down and take a good, hard look around. I find that when I have a lot of time to be alone with my thoughts it can either turn into a spiral down into depression or a time to find inspiration and ideas that will move me further down the path I want to be on. As I get closer to starting my last round of chemo, I’m finding myself focused on what is important to me and I have a number of new projects to work on once I am feeling better. I’m only looking at positives and am taking the first steps towards getting two of those projects off of the ground. I have to believe I’m on the right path because doors have been opening, people have been getting excited to help/participate, and there has been little or no struggle so far. It feels pretty good.

During treatment I’ve been allowed the opportunity to experience things I never would have otherwise. I have been privileged enough to hear others stories about life, loss, and triumph. The people in my life have shown me great kindness, love, and have helped me in ways I never imagined. There have been encounters with people I’ve never met that have touched my heart and I’ve been able to take the time to reflect on all of this and then give back what I can to hopefully help others. It really is about stopping and taking the time to look around and appreciate things we overlook every day. We are conditioned to keep moving and working in order to meet our day to day needs. That is what we have to do to survive and I am no different.

People say life is short, to stop and smell the roses and I can’t disagree. Looking at things through a filter of possibly having my lifespan shortened has made me want to laugh, create, and love more. I find myself wanting to listen and act from my heart, from that place where I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose for being alive. What would the world look like if we were all able to stop and listen to that little voice inside of us? The voice that says “I want to do _____, but have never been able to” or “Doing _____ would really make me happy”? I wish I could give that gift to everyone, the opportunity and means to try new things in order to find personal happiness. I’m barely able to do that for myself right now, but a lot of that has to do with having cancer and also having a pretty simple existence from a financial perspective.

Like I said, enduring chemo has given me a lot of time to think and to listen to my heart and the little voice in there that drives me forward. I’m not quite ready to announce the new project I’ll be launching with the help of a few friends. As soon as I am, I will announce it here. I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to use my experience with cancer to try to make others happy. I feel like it’s something I’m ready to do and everything has been falling into place with little effort. One door closed and now another one has opened. I sincerely wish that for all of you, to have that experience, without the serious illness part. I hope you are happy and able to follow your dreams. Even if you aren’t right now, never stop dreaming and listening to your heart. For me it has taken trial and error, learning to accept my failures, and many life lessons to get to the point where I am now. I am a work in progress. We all are. I certainly don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know I will never stop listening and learning and being in awe of what life has to offer.

p.s. – Humor is also a reoccurring theme in my life, in case it wasn’t already obvious. Exhibit A – turning hanging out with one of our dogs into this ridiculousness.

Gumdrop and I

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