"Slow down you crazy child."
Opening lyrics to one of my favorite Billy Joel songs, Vienna. It's all about slowing down and taking time to enjoy the now because the world isn't going anywhere. This song has resonated with me since my early twenties, and was even recommended to me by a friend way back in the day. Of course I didn't slow down until just very recently. But I found myself humming this again yesterday on the way home. We had gone out to visit a friend who was celebrating a birthday and the anniversary of one year since getting rid of her breast cancer. She is back to work, doing her daily yoga, working on building up to a 5K run, and generally being amazing and inspiring. One year out of her life, for the sake of life. That's what I've heard several times now - cancer will take a full year of your life. One year to clear everything up and get to a tumor-free place. That's a long and a short time... it's all perspective.
"It's alright you can afford to lose a day or two."
Ideally I am close to the halfway mark. It has been just over six months since diagnosis, five months since I started treatments, four months since I left work for full-time healing mode, two months since surgery, just under one month on full chemo. That's a lot of landmarks, and a lot of time. Some days I sit at home and feel like I'm losing time; wasting beautiful summer days indoors which could be spent more productively, or at least with more fun. Some days I am glad for the opportunity to just read the day away, to catch up on embroidery projects, to organize the bookshelves. Some days I can't do much of anything, and then I am so thankful for the time I've taken off to take care of myself.
"You're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need."
I need this year... this will be a banner year in the story of my life. I will have stories to tell of how cancer kicked me down and I kicked it back firmly in the 'nads. I'm learning exactly how strong I can be, and that there is also strength just on the other side of unhappiness. I'm gaining an ease with myself. I am becoming aware of my body in profound ways. I'm discovering the ability to be okay with anything (it is what it is). I am growing. This year will put me so much more ahead of myself than I ever was before.
"When will you realize... Vienna waits for you."
There is a sufficient proportion of good days. I try to take advantage of those and do what I can considering limitations. There is a lot I cannot do yet, and I know more limitations are coming. It's a balancing act between the good and the bad. But I choose... I choose to be positive. I can allow the waves of sadness to wash over me, cleansing and then receding. And though I may be left on a sunny beach only in my mind, the beaches are still out there, waiting. The world is not exploding or imploding or going anywhere (mostly). The seasons will come back around. I will have other years and so very many good days without limitations onward. All those places I want to see, the experiences I anticipate, they're waiting and it gives me so much to look forward to.