2020 is here. Each new season and calendar change means something very different to me now. When I was young, I felt the frustration and anticipation of yearning to be older and for time to pass more quickly. As I’ve gotten older, time seems to move too fast sometimes and not fast enough at other times.
Once I knew that my lifespan will be cut amazingly short, time has taken on a new meaning. I struggle to remain in the moment at times and other times, I can’t bear to see the moments end. I sometimes visualize what my boys will look like when they are older, what their children might look like, who they might choose to spend their lives with. Sometimes that is too hard because I will most likely miss that. When these thoughts become overwhelming, I try to channel those emotions into writing a letter for my boys to open at these key milestones.
If some of most recent studies on lifespans is accurate and my cancer stays in my bones, I can hope for a life expectancy of approximately ten (10) years. Next March will be my 3 year cancerversary, so that means about 7 years left. This is better than the 2-3 year median life expectancy of metastatic breast cancer overall, which I will reach in a few months time, but that is still nowhere near enough time.
With these thoughts swirling around in my head, I sat down to think about my word of the year for 2020. My word for 2018 was JOY and that reminded me to find the joy in the every day moments, to look for joy in the moments that did not seem joyful. I meditated on that word for 2018 and found that if I truly looked for joy, I found it. I found joy even during the most difficult days. I read once that what is inside will spill out, so if you are an angry person, when tested anger will come out; that if you are joyful and hopeful, when you are stressed, that’s what will spill out. I’m still very angry, but I’m working on filling up on good things so that’s what comes out.
For 2019, my word was EMBRACE. Those of you who know me and my midwestern bubble, all of the embracing and touching expected down here in Miami is such a stretch for me! I’ve gotten used to it so much that when I’m out of Miami, I lean in for the kiss or hug as a habit now. Made for some awkward exchanges when I was in San Antonio for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, especially with some researchers from other countries.
In 2019, I embraced new adventures that spanned launching my own non profit, taking an official role on the PTA board at my boys’ school, I read poetry in a play highlighting the experiences of those us with stage IV MBC, I linked up with Compassion & Choices as the Miami Action Team Leader, and I was a mentor in the inaugural GRASP program in San Antonio.
2019 was my all in year for terminal cancer advocacy and the first full year of this blog.
For 2020, my word is SACRED. Picking a word of the year is always an adventure. Different words come to me and then I see them everywhere as I begin thinking about choosing one. I firmly believe that God brings to me what I need to be focusing on and He uses whichever word He brings me in ways I don’t anticipate. Whatever it is, I know that it will be an entertaining adventure that will stretch me beyond my wildest dreams!!
Happy New Year!