19 years ago today I walked into a New Year's Eve party in Sterling. I smiled and said "hi" to a guy I went to college with, Andrew. And when I did the guy sitting next to him on the sofa said "you know HER? I would like to know HER". Which made me giggle. I went on to talk to that guy who wanted to know HER, date him, marry him, and spend 15 wonderful years with him. But this year it seems, was the ultimate year of change, since in October the final and only thing in my life that did not change in the past 3 years, moved out. And so it is with a heavy heart that I write this, my last blog.
I started this blog one year ago to help people - people considering doing the neratinib drug trial, people with diabetes, people with cancer, but I have decided that really I have no business telling people how to live there lives, when I can't seem to even make sense of my own. :0)
So, instead, I will end with a summary of the tremendous lessons I have learned this year, 2010, "The Year of Change".
10. Stretch every day. It really does make a difference. I am (knock wood) pain free for the first time in my life, because of this simple life change.
9. It's ok to be sad sometimes - I grew up in a family of positivity. You weren't allowed to be sad, you weren't allowed to feel sorry for yourself. And considering 3 of the 4 of us have had cancer, I can see how this is helpful, but this year I learned what I did not learn when I had cancer - it's ok sometimes to be sad, to sit on the kitchen floor and cry your heart out. It's ok to be sad sometimes.
8. Say no - you don't have to do things just to make people like you. You can say no if you would rather not do something. If they don't still like you, then they were not worth having in your life to begin with.
7. Simplify - your life, physically and mentally. I moved again this year, into my dream house, and it's everything I've always wanted. But it's for sale now, and I need to move again. Third time in 3 years. Less stuff makes this easier. Keep what is important to you, and get rid of the rest.
6. Show up and be present - I did alot with friends and family this year, and I really tried to pay attention to them while I was with them. By only saying yes to the things I wanted to do, and I had time to do, I was able to really be present and listen, share, and be present in my life.
5. Change can be good - when I lost my job this summer I was terrified. But the job I have now is so much better then any job I've had for the past 10 years. It's new and different, it's fun, and I'm learning new things. I never would have changed on my own, but being laid off forced me to change. And it was a great change!
4. Make a difference on a small scale - I cannot change the world. But I can serve chili to homeless people, I can also bake them apple pies, I can volunteer to be in a drug trial to help save lives with cancer in the future, I can ride my bike 100K to raise money for diabetes, I can tutor a high schooler in algebra, I can make a difference, even if it's only to one person.
3. Don't take your days for granted - Jake taught me this one. He has a giant lump the size of a softball on his hip. Yet he still wags his tail more then most dogs. He still loves to go outside for a walk, he still loves to relax in a sunbeam. Maybe nothing major is happening today in your life, but take the time each day to enjoy something, however small it may be.
2. It's ok to fail - I am an expert at failing. I have failed at nearly everything I've tried, now including marriage. Yet I find that if you get back up, brush yourself off, and keep on trying, that life surprises you. I think it would be worse to never try. So I will keep trying, and failing. :0)
1. Be happy on your own - for years my friends have been telling me this one and I never understood what they meant. But this year I finally figured it out, first while married, and then more recently, no longer married. I know, for the first time in my life, how to be happy all by myself. I know what I like to do, and what I enjoy, I know what makes me happy, and I know how to deal with stress, I am not worried about what other people want me to do, or expect me to do, and I know how to be happy on my own. For the first time in my life I feel like a grown up. For the first time in my life, I am strong, all by myself.
So, to the few people who read this blog, thank you. I have had fun sharing my stories with you. The drug trial is over, and I 100% recommend it, as I never had a horrible side effect, yeah to cancer drug science. I have had a horrible and wonderful year of change. And I am hopeful for new and exciting adventures in 2011 - for all of us!