It is hard to believe that it’s almost November 30 again.
Four years. It’s been four years since my doctor’s office called and told me there was news that they couldn’t tell me over the phone, four years since we sat in that waiting room guessing what was coming, four years since we were still shocked to hear the words.
I’d be lying if I said this week comes with pure happiness, though 2011 leading up to my cancerversary has been leagues better than 2010. But it’s still an oddly bittersweet time — obviously, I’m thankful that four years later, I’m still here, feeling good and with my doctor’s hopeful reassurances that there will be many more cancerversaries to come. But it’s also a time of reflection — so many good, exciting, awesome, fun things have happened in the last four years, but there have been many frustrating, sad, maddening days, too.
Then again, I think anyone would be hard pressed to look back at four years and say anything different, cancer or not. On balance, I’m pretty sure the good days come out ahead.
So I’m trying my best to focus this week on the sweet more than the bitter. As the Happiness Project quote that landed in my inbox this morning said, “I have got to make everything that has happened to me good for me.” (Oscar Wilde)
On that note, a few things I’m feeling grateful for:
- Long Thanksgiving weekends. I literally skipped out of the office last Wednesday, and happily spent the rest of the weekend alternating among eating, drinking, sleeping, working out (um, a little at least), and watching really, really bad TV. (For instance: marathons of Say Yes to the Dress, Millionaire Matchmaker, late-run 90210 episodes, Real Housewives….you get the point.) I love going home (Boston) for Christmas, but I love staying home (DC) for Thanksgiving, too.
- Friends from long ago moving close by. A good friend from college moved to DC from Arizona over the summer with her husband and kids. Some of my best times at Syracuse were late nights with Elizabeth and the rest of our school paper editing crew, in a dilapidated house at 744 Ostrom Avenue that served as our home base. Neither of us could really remember why we were willing to work all hours of the night for basically no pay, but that time certainly generated some good stories. It’s nice to have someone close by to relive them with.
- Great work friends. I don’t write much about work here by design, but as I said to someone today, you spend way too much time at work for it not to be fun. I’m glad to have friends who make the days fun, even when endless meetings and other things aren’t.
- Yoga. I’ve written a lot before about how much I’ve grown to love my yoga class, but it wasn’t until tonight that I realized how important kundalini has been to me in the last year. Along with my Cancer to 5K running group, it’s my regular yoga classes — and particularly Masuda, my favorite teacher — that have taught me not just to be patient with my body, and what it can and cannot do (good at child’s pose, not so much at bridges), but also to be proud of it. There really aren’t words to describe what a fundamental change that is from the mindset that I had for basically my entire life before the last year, and I couldn’t be more grateful for how these two practices have helped me figure it out. And tonight’s class — centered around helping drop your fears — couldn’t have been timed better.
- Long Time Sun. The song we end each yoga class with deserves its own mention tonight. I love it every time, but tonight it took on new meaning for me: “May the long time sun shine upon you/All love surround you/And the pure light within you/Guide your way on.”
And just in case there’s a little too much sap in this post, I remind the universe once again: