Lying in bed trying to sleep but my mind is all over the place. I've reached a milestone this week and find it amusing, amazing and extraordinary. And I remember...
Not really my childhood years.... for they were not the ideal of times.. but in fact those years were the blueprint of the life I would lead. And so I remember..
My teenage years.... for they were the years where I encountered so very many people who would influence my life in so may positive ways and remain friends still today. They were the years I had my first crush that lasted forever, the years I met the couple who were to become my surrogate parents to this day, the years of my rebellion, when I met my true forever friend , the years I thought I was as smart as anyone could be and the years that I somehow knew I would walk my own path.
My 20's ....my version of the roaring 20's where I had a false sense of what was real (and I was't the only one with that thought!), where and when I danced myself silly, drank more than my share of cocktails, fell in and out of love, wrestled with what love really meant, had a million jobs but also when my career advanced because others believed in me more than I believed in myself. It was a time when I was determined not to live a life of hardship and knew that at the very least I would be the best-dressed bag lady of the neighbourhood. When I would accept the least offered and expect the best of myself. When I believed everyone knew me better than I knew myself - which I didn't at all. When I met so many more people who would become my forever friends
My 30's... thinking I was smart and accomplished and had reached my peak. The years I knew I wasn't capable of taking care of anyone other than myself and put the thought of having children to rest. If I was 30-something today I like to think that I would be brave enough to become a single mother or adopt a child - I think I would have been a good mom. I'm not really sure what what my 30's were about - maybe getting over the agony/anguish of my 20's??
My 40's.... a life-changing decade. Turning 40 -the best year of my life. Finally broke a 10-year fantasy of what love should be and wasn't, turned 40, received a cancer diagnosis, lost my job, got back in the real estate game, got mad and without being clear of a path, started on a path that has led me to the life I live today. My 40''s were clearly about realizing that living has a definite timeline, maybe sooner, maybe later - but it was also about wondering about how invincible we really are in the grand scheme of life. My 40's were also about appearing bulletproof in the eyes of everyone I knew and not being honest about my trepidation of the fear of cancer returning. My 40's were also about opportunity, growth, expansion, encouragement and the fostering of sibling collaboration without which I would not be were I am today. They were about the question I have learned to ask myself for any situation where I find myself at odds - "What is the worst that could happen?"
My 50's.... when I felt the finally life would settle, when things would come easier, when I was respected for what I knew, not what I did, when laughter when permeate every conversation about how our crazy lives led us to this wonderfully contented time when 'the kids' became the adults and we could bask in the glory of having made it through those times and do all we could to make times easier for our children. When I was diagnosed at 53 with metastatic breast cancer, when I was told my lifeline was 3-5 years, when I thought about getting 'old' and really wanted to be, when my life become so compressed, when I thought about all I had discounted in my life became paramount, when I learned to trust myself and my feelings, when triviality became trivial, when I learned that unless you know the road someone has walked you have no right to judge, I know for sure that we all have something to offer everyone and that essentially everyone everywhere hungers for the same thing - love, understanding, the physical touch and the human spirit.
My 60's - I have been in my 60's for 2 days now and likely don't know much more than I did in my 50's. But what I do know is that in the last 48 hours I have had another re-settling of my spirit. Because when you live with this disease life is about the unknown - about how I will feel tomorrow, about what the next test/report/appointment will reveal, about what lies ahead, about what I'm capable of doing and not doing (be it physical or emotional), about making plans. And so I am in another retrospective moment - for as long as I have the mental and physical capacity to do, I will do my best to participate in the life I have and the life I know which is so different than the life I had. I don't know what's in store for me in the near future - I think I feel healthier than I am - crazy as that sounds (although I've felt that way before and it was true) but whatever the future holds with all of my family, friends and communities I know I will get through what lies ahead with an awesome amunt of peace, love and acceptance for you are the very essense of my courage.