My future is a winding path

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. No, really it is! Cancer, illness, and chemo are behind me. My future is a winding path. I know there will be more twists and turns and even great fallen logs that I will have to climb carefully. But this is my path, and I am so grateful and excited to walk it.

More than a year ago — before I found the lump — I was lying on the carpet in my office. It is the only room in our house with carpeting, and sometime I just have to luxuriate on the soft grey wall-to-wall. Anyway, I think I had just finished doing yoga, and my mind was peaceful and open, when I was slapped in the face by a great and terrible thought:

“What if this is the best time of my life? What if these are my golden years? What if it never gets any better? (because we always assume it is going to get better, don’t we?) What if this, right now, is the best my life will ever be?”

Does that sound sad? Scary? Disheartening? Unbearable? I didn’t feel any of that. I felt very clear headed. That was one possible outcome that I had never considered. But once I considered it I had to confront it. I realized you can’t count on life to get better and better. I learned a couple months later, when the doctor told me that the lump was cancer, that you can’t even count on life.

If today, this month, this year, was the best it was ever going to get, if you were never going to get a bigger house or a better job, or a smaller body or an easier kid, if these were your best years, how would you choose to live them? It made sense to me to try to make the best of them.

Sometimes, when I am feeling kind of spooky, I wonder if, on that day, some part of me knew I had cancer and was inspiring me to make the most of the time I had left. But I don’t really like to go there. I think the surgery and the chemo did its job, and I have a natural life span ahead of me.

my winding path

But whether I have a short or a long time left (we really  never know) and whether my life gets better or worse, it  is my responsibility and my blessing to love my life. To  love every morsel of it that I can, and to ashew self-  inflicted stresses, those petty but often wickedly attractive  dramas, like fights with my extended family or friends  that could last for days (in my head), like injustices over  right and wrong (as if I really had all the answers), and  like my struggles to wrassle a comfortably consistent life  from Nature, which is universaly not.

Yesterday, I had my last chemo treatment. In two months  I will be thirty-eight. Thirty-seven was a great and  terrible year. At times my path was crossed by the  Shadow of Death. But even  that darkness was part of  my path, just like everything  that came before and everything that will come. And I am  just really and truly grateful to still be walking.

About Annamelle

I split my time between homeschooling and writing a novel. I'm interested in and inspired by fairy tales, Jung, Buddhism, myths, architecture, nature, etiquette, hidden histories, dreams, Emerson, old books, Gaiman, and legends. "Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you." — Emerson

Posted on June 3, 2011, in cancer, inspiration. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love that you were asking those questions spontaneously, without needing a crisis to prompt you. Maybe that helped you cope with the cancer in some small way?

    I think it is almost always true that “these are the good old days” (if you are old enough to remember that song :p ). That does scare me some days, but mostly that is a good thing.

  2. I don’t know if your path influenced mine, or if I’m finally growing up, but the last year feels like one of tremendous personal growth. There have been a lot of situations that were very challenging, one specifically our family will never recover from, and so my perspective is so very different than it once was–even six months ago. I’m still OCD and tightly wound, but I feel the clenching starting to relax a wee bit. Life is precious. None of us are going to make it out alive. The time I do have is what I choose to make it, so I’m finally choosing to chillax and have fun. That’s not my default setting, so I’m all about progress, not perfection, right now.

    I’m grateful you’re still walking too. Wholeheartedly! 🙂

    • “I’m all about progress, not perfection, right now. ”

      Exactly. There is no perfection. Never ever. Nope. I have a hard time remembering that. But the books I have read about Buddhism have helped.

      I am so glad you are choosing to be happy and have fun. ❤

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