So… I took a little hiatus from blogging… it’s because I’ve been busy LOVING 2016 so far. I’m thoroughly enjoying this “new year, new me” shit.
I’m back in my own house, for good.
I’m basically recovered from my last exchange surgery (although doc says my new boobs are still swollen, I can’t feel a thing).
I started working out at the gym again (and it’s kicking my ass, in a great way).
I’m on a new diet that for once I LOVE (I didn’t think those existed).
I bought a new car and driving isn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
And, I’ve got a line-up of awesome vacations planned for this year… things are so good…
What’s the catch, right?
Well, toward the end of 2015, something serendipitous happened… I lost my job while on medical leave.
That’s right… in 2015 I broke up with my longtime boyfriend and love of my life, survived breast cancer, lost my grandmother, some of my sanity and my corporate job.
That’s one way of looking at it…
In between all of that crap, I also had a blast… and these were times spent traveling to cities I love, meeting face to face (and drinking lots of wine) with people I don’t spend nearly enough time with and touching people’s lives with this blog.
But these are the kinds of fulfilling things that, unfortunately, my corporate job usually got in the way of. Purposeful connections, thoughtful interactions, meaningful memories, with people in my life who really matter and should be prioritized.
So losing my job didn’t feel like I was losing everything, especially since I thankfully have a reliable stream of income from the skincare business I own (shameless self-promotion, we’re hiring). But also, because during the worst year on record, I actually found exactly who I want to be.
And, to be totally clear, I knew a long time ago that my corporate job was coming to an end… I just didn’t know exactly when.
Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June, I was part of an exclusive team tasked with helping to map out what a reorganization of the department I worked in would look like. I was happy to have a voice in the process and was actually looking forward to working on new projects that would challenge me and help me grow professionally. So before you get all “BUT THEY CAN’T DO THAT” on me, you should know, my job elimination was totally legit, not personal and in a lot of ways, my choice.
My entire department was impacted, I was given ample opportunities to apply for a new position and my company was extremely supportive and accommodating.
When my boss called me in November with the details of the new job opportunities, I was caught off guard with how NOT excited I was. I didn’t expect that. I loved my job. I was great at my job. I love the people I worked with. I never once thought I wouldn’t be going back.
But as I tried to envision which new position would be perfect for me, I couldn’t ignore that I’m pretty much a totally different person than I was when I worked there six months ago. My outlook has changed, my lifestyle has changed, my needs have changed and my dreams, passions and sense of purpose are stronger than ever.
And, if so much could change in MY life in only six months, what kinds of things were different at the company I’d left behind?
Beyond that, when the options were presented to me in November, I still had a pending exchange surgery coming up… what if there were complications (which there were)? What if I needed more surgery (which I might)? How could I commit to a new job with a very different job description when I had no idea when I’d be ready to go back full-time?
More importantly, I’d made plenty of difficult decisions already in 2015… why would I want to rush into another huge decision with all of these unknowns and not very much time to decide?
Something just felt off.
I immediately thought back to my life five years ago. Some of this I described in a previous post about the importance of not being an asshole… and I remembered wishing that I’d had the means to take a break from Corporate America, to find a way to earn a living while ACTUALLY LIVING. To find work that I could be truly invested in because I was passionate about it, and work that would not mean sacrificing the flexibility that — let’s face it — we ALL need.
Well… five years later… I do have those things… and if feels pretty fucking awesome.
People keep asking me… “Aren’t you nervous?”
The answer is, NOPE. I’m beyond excited.
This is the first time in my entire adult life that I’ve actually been able to take a break, prioritize my needs and focus on myself. I’m sure a lot of people reading this are thinking, “yea, when was the last time I did that…”
Isn’t that terrible?
I’ve spent the last several months searching my soul for the things that truly matter. That happens when you’re faced with a life-threatening illness… you really start weeding out the things that drain you.
Even though this is the second time I’ve been in a life-threatening situation, I think the universe knew that I got stuck somewhere along the way… I’d forgotten to put myself first. I forgot to put my passions first.
So… 2016, my “eat pray love” year, is about to be pretty kick-ass.
How will I spend it? That’s a good question…
I’ve never been a super religious person, but I am a spiritualist and I talk about the power of the universe a lot. It’s difficult to believe that after all the crap I’ve been through in my 30+ years, I’ve not just survived, I’ve thrived. I have full faith that the universe has put me in equally tough and amazing situations to help me grow, and to get me to the next step.
I also believe strongly in intuition. I know I have guides and guardian angels that I cannot see, helping me navigate the world and hurdles put in my path. And there’s a reason I wasn’t too excited to run back to my old job… it’s because that is part of my old life, and it’s time to explore this great big world.
In September, I met with a new medium who told me some pretty incredible things. She of course knew all about my hardships without me having to tell her. The skeptics will say, she could have Googled it… and they’re right… she could have.
But like most mediums, she said a lot of things she could not have known, because she doesn’t live in my head… and she knew about deep conversations, feelings, even struggles I’ve had within myself, for years.
One that struck a chord was that she told me to stop forcing life.
Childhood cancer survivors can relate to the feeling that you have to LIVE fast. We know what it feels like to stare death in the face. We don’t fuck around with mortality. Part of me was going through life afraid that it might be over soon… because the truth is, it could be over tomorrow… but most people don’t live with that feeling everyday… many childhood cancer survivors do.
And so I’ve spent my whole adult life thus far following the “normal plan.” I was a great student, I went to a great college, I had great internships, I started a career doing exactly what I’d studied in school, I quickly climbed the corporate ladder. I even found some companions along the way who I thought I’d spend my life with. It’s all been very cookie cutter. And I’ve always thought, if I check the boxes on the path to “success” that’s been defined by others, I’ll find success…
Well, I’ve checked all the boxes… and it brought me to 2015… my most insanely difficult year, where I lost so much.
And I’m many things… but one I am NOT, is cookie cutter.
I’d much rather live life freely, doing the things that feed my soul, because when all is right with your soul, life unfolds before you, the way it’s supposed to, not how it’s forced to.
So I’m going to spend 2016 continuing to do the things I love, while networking and reconnecting with dear friends and former colleagues who should not have fallen on the back burner. And instead of the status quo driving my next career decision, my passion and positive energy will.
So you see, there are more than just traditional cancers that impact your health and well-being… bad vibes, bad relationships, bad bosses, stressful working environments, negative living conditions, poor lifestyle choices, none of us need any of that shit… so to quote my dear old pop, “GET RID OF IT.”
Physically, I’m still getting used to my new body.
Tamoxifen continues to cause strange physical changes and side effects, but I’m confident it’s giving me more years to enjoy life.
Now that it’s wintertime, my hands, feet and nose are constantly freezing, a typical side-effect when you have no thyroid (not sure why, but I hate it).
My boobs are still not perfect, but I’ve had enough of a dramatic pity party about it and I’m over it. They also continue to change in shape and texture, so there’s no need to obsess over them immediately.
More rigorous work-outs are increasing blood flow to the areas in my upper body which have been numb and sleepy, so some feeling is coming back and with that comes crazy weird itching and little bursts of minor pain.
All of this is tolerable. The worst is really over. The best is yet to come.
And you know what? I can’t wait to share all of the kick-assery of 2016 with all of you ❤
3 thoughts on “a whole new world…”
Mary, your words, attitude, strength and outlook are amazing. You are the love of my life. I wish you strong winds and following seas in 2016. I know you will achieve your goals. Mom & I love you for being you.
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YOU GO GIRL! Keep shining, you are such a positive force in this world. You are wished many blessings. My love to you!
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The strength and unending, positive attitude you have displayed since you were a little girl is continuing to shape the wonderful woman you have become…the daughter I know and love. Happy 2016! xoxo
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