Week 51: If It Comes Back It’s Yours.

December 28, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized)

Who am I kidding about getting shit done by just believing? I’m the one standing in my own way! I’ve always been scared of things beyond my control — I’ve always planned for every what if — but I’m seeing now that it’s impossible, it’s delusional and it’s killing me. Life’s just too big for me to get a jump on.

It’s time for an adjustment. I want to to enjoy what I have. I want to live my life out loud. I want to trust myself. I want to not be afraid to fail, to not be afraid to allow others to get close and to live in more moments without anxiety or self doubt. This is the freedom that I deserve, and none of it comes from perfect planning. It comes from going with the flow. From letting go of control and opening myself up to possibility. That’s the joy of life! Possibility! So this year, I’m really going to try to be less of an obstacle. I’m going to do everything within my power to give myself over to uncertainty, randomness, luck of the draw, fate and maybe even happiness.

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Week 50: Yearly Affirmation

December 16, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized)

As the wedding creeps up on us and plans have yet to get off the ground, I am starting to freak out that things will never get done. We’re approaching the one year countdown date and I am overwhelmed at the amount of work that has to be accomplished in that time. Holy crap, holy crap, I’m going to plan the biggest moment of our lives on a shoestring budget, in this uncertain economy from a one-bedroom condo where all our stuff is crammed together, uninsured, averaging about 8 years old and falling apart? Am I really qualified to be a wife and mother?

And then I log on here and look at all the things I’ve written about over the past 50 weeks — all the things I’ve done and the changes I’ve set into motion in 2010. And I realize that I can do this. Look at all I’ve done in a year. I can do this, and everything will be OK when I do.

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Week 47: Humbled.

December 8, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized)

I skipped this week before because it seemed too easy. I went to Thanksgiving at my fiance’s and realized that along with a husband-to-be, I had gained a family. I hadn’t been counting on that, but through a competitive family bowling tourney and a bout of dress shopping, I realized I got a lot more than I bargained for. I got some warm, loving, fun, wonderful people who really care about me. I didn’t expect that would happen until we had kids and worked our butts off to force them to love us…

My whole life, I’ve wanted to get married because I wanted to finally feel like I have a family. I don’t have that from my own relatives, and I never expected to get that from someone else’s. I’ve got some truly wonderful things and wonderful people to be thankful for this year.

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Week 49: Acceptance.

December 6, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I read today that doctors stopped treatment for Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer, giving her just weeks to live. I read her Facebook response to this and it was so steady, so reassuring. And I remembered when I was this way. During my own cancer treatments, when we didn’t know if I would live or die, or if it was on its way out or on its way to takeover, I did at some point rise above it all and really accept death. I just accepted that this is what was coming. Not sadly, depressedly or angrily. Not as resignation. Just acceptance. It was much harder for my family to deal with than for me.

Once my doctors got a handle on things and the cancer stopped coming, I found it very hard to re-enter society and come back from that sense of freedom with a “normal” perspective. I saw my life as simply having run its course, and couldn’t function knowing there was more coming. I couldn’t form long-term goals because for years I had accepted that there was no long-term. I saw myself as an old woman because I had programmed myself to understand that there was no 35 or 40 or retirement or grandchildren. There was no looking forward to something or looking ahead. There was really only being for awhile.

But reading Mrs. Edwards’ calm, accepting statement today reminded me of all the things I want to accomplish in a lifetime because length of time is available to me now. It’s not that I’m more grateful because of having overcome cancer; I’m just aware that if I can accomplish so much in such a short period of time, I can feel free to imagine ineffable things for myself over the larger course of decades. There’s a real chance that I can lasso my biggest dreams, dream up bigger dreams and not accept finality or impossibility from anything again. And why not? For me, the impossible has become possible over and over. The unexpected became the norm. And dreams are going to become reality.

A sampling of the things I long for:
I want to get my doctorate
I want to do published research
I want to write a novel
I want to head an organization
I want to be influential in a not-for-profit
I want to start a small local business
I want to speak to people and motivate them
I want to enforce equality of genders
I want to teach
I want to bring people together

It’s because of cancer I learned to rely on my gut because it’s always right. And my gut tells me to go for these things I’ve been driven by for 32 years — to not bury them deep inside and fool myself into thinking I’ll be fulfilled whether I live one more year or 60 without them. This statement from Mrs. Edwards reminded me that acceptance of myself doesn’t only have to happen at death. It has to happen now and continue to happen. I feel silly saying something as trite as “I’ve been given a second chance”, but not as silly as I would if I didn’t say it at all.

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Week 48: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

December 1, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Living in the Midwest, I find that Judaism’s traditions have become a bigger part of me because I’m the only Jew here to carry on the traditions! So I want to educate and share. Tonight’s the first night of Hanukkah, and it’s such a happy and warm time of year for us — except for the misconceptions.

Hanukkah is not another form of Christmas. It’s not the Jewish take on this time of year. It’s not even a major holiday. It’s a celebration of a miracle that’s as unbelievable as any other religion’s miracles. Our temple was destroyed in a revolt and Judaism was basically outlawed. We rebuilt the temple which was totally defiled, and then we had to rededicate it. I think that means blessing it ’cause some pretty nasty things were done to it that were completely against our beliefs. You could call it terrorism. And we only had enough like “holy” olive oil to light the Eternal Flame (which I think is part of the cleansing and blessing process) for one day. Yet it was required to burn throughout the night every night. And miraculously, it burned for eight days and eight nights, which is coincidentally how long it takes to make fresh olive oil. Boom! Hanukkah. What a freakin’ awesome double-reason to celebrate.

For me, it means celebration of being here and being alive; good food; simple traditions and singing in Hebrew together with family. Tonight — especially because yesterday T and I officially became Domestic Partners, each other’s Powers of Attorney and joined each other’s bank accounts — my family gains one more. I can’t wait to share this happiness with him and our kids in the years ahead.

Chag sameach (Joyous holiday)!

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