Friday, August 04, 2006


Sounds like a fake age, doesn't it? But today is really, truly my 39th birthday.

Thirty-nine things I have learned this year (in no particular order):

1. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of initiative to create change in an unpleasant situation.

2. Most people will surprise you with their goodness and generosity (this is especially helpful to remember in today's disturbing global context).

3. I have a greater capacity to forgive than I thought I did.

4. It is possible to fall in love all over again.

5. Children, no matter how sensitive, are surprisingly resillient.

6. My children are lovely human beings (OK, so I knew that already but the boys have been tested this year and have impressed me in countless ways).

7. Laughter really is the best medicine.

8. I am loved (I knew that before but now I can feel it in my bones).

9. I have a nicely shaped head.

10. I really am a 'glass is half full' person.

11. I am also, as a friend said when I was first diagnosed, 'a tough customer.'

12. I should feel proud of my strength and positive outlook. They are getting me through treatment in better shape than many cancer patients.

13. I can do anything I set my mind to do.

14. I don't have to do everything, just because I can.

15. Somewhat paradoxically, admitting vulnerability makes me stronger.

16. As youth is wasted on the young, good health is wasted on the fit. I didn't know enough to appreciate good health until my health was seriously threatened.

17. Sadness and joy can be inextricably mixed.

18. Someone I love told me a few months ago that I had impossibly high expectations of those who care for me. Just because someone cannot do one thing I ask or expect does not mean they do not love me or that they are rejecting me. She was right. This was a very important lesson for me to learn.

19. Trusting is not a sign of weakness, nor is distrust a way to protect myself from getting hurt (see above).

20. It is OK to ask for help when I need it.

21. Red and blue are my two favourite colours. Passion and peace, activity and reflection. These are things I require in equal measures.

22. A pedicure is good therapy.

23. Exercise is a panacea.

24. There is no perfect way to support someone in crisis. Whatever feels right to you will probably be the right thing.

25. I am less judgemental than I used to be.

26. I will never be a religious person.

27. Very sick or severely disabled people used to scare me. They still do but I know how to get past my fears.

28. My own fears help me understand why some people are now uncomfortable being around me.

29. It is fortunate that I was in the best physical shape of my life when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was the only woman in my arm of the clinical trial who was not admitted to hospital during treatment. My doctors think this is because I was mentally tough and physically fit.

30. I love to write and I'm good at it.

31. Being patient is very hard work but worth the rewards.

32. Life is too short for pettiness.

33. Having a life-threatening illness is not a scary as I feared it would be.

34. A missed opportunity is not a disaster. Life is full of opportunity if one is open to it.

35. It is infinitely easier to be sick and middle class than sick and poor.

36. Medicare works.

37. There is a cancer club. None of us would have chosen to join but we understand each other in a way that no one else can.

38. I have a very good life.

39. I still have a great deal left to learn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every time I read your blog, I find yet another way to admire, love and learn from you. xo dd