Everyone assumes that a new year is a time to start over. I’ve read countless posts, articles, etc. about how this year will be better and what different people would do to change themselves to make it better. But how can you change something that hasn’t even started yet?
It’s been one hell of a year to say the least, but rather than looking at all the bad stuff that’s happened, I like to dwell on the good. I could go month by month to give a play-by-play of everything that happened, but even I don’t want to read that and I was the one who experienced it. I’ll instead give you the cliff notes version.
The common thread that connects all my experiences from last year is the people who I shared them with. They range from cheering a group of cyclists as they biked down the east coast towards Key West to dancing like a crazy person with a group of kids at camp. They’re the people who cheer me on when I’m in the show ring with Joe and help us along the way. Joe and I may not always have it together, but when we come out of the show ring, they always find the positives and explain what we can do better next time. They make me laugh when I’m at the doctor’s or in clinic and make sure I have my pretzel snacks
When it comes to my treatment I could be all poor pitiful me and constantly say how shitty I feel, but no one wants to read about a whiny cancer patient. Hell, I don’t even want to write about that. Right now I’m trying to find the balance between being in clinic and having a semi-normal life. Mind you, I am ok with going to clinic - especially when I need to be there for my fluids or drugs. Plus, I love seeing all the nurses. They give me cookies and pretzels. What’s not to love?
A couple weeks ago I was driving out to see Joe, and I just wasn’t having it. I wasn’t myself and I was unsure about everything. I had just started my new chemo, and I wasn’t anticipating the harsh side effects. I was frustrated that I couldn’t ride and the fact that I was back to being in and out of clinic all the time. I just wanted to hang out with Joe in his stall and give him a big hug. We didn’t know yet if my treatment was working, and I was wondering if it is really worth the harsh side effects?
That’s when a new song came on my phone. I regularly listen to Internet radio on my phone. I am now that asshole who uses up the data on our cell phone plan. I had put on a playlist when “My Silver Lining” by the group First Aid Kit came on. In one part they sing, “There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on/And you've just gotta keep on keeping on/Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road/Can't worry 'bout what's behind you or what's coming for you further up the road/I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong.” It was just what I needed to hear. When I got to the barn, I hung out with Joe in his stall. As he wrapped his head around my shoulder almost like I hug, I knew everything would be ok. Then I realized the little shit was trying to get to my pocket to see if I was hiding treats from him.
Life is about finding that silver lining in everything. It’s about finding the positive in the most negative situations. Mind you it isn’t always easy, but sometimes you have to buckle down and get the job done. It’s about focusing on the tasks in front of you rather than dwelling on the past. It’s about not looking into the future and worrying about the what-ifs. I could spend my time dreaming of what my life would be if I didn’t have cancer, but I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have met all these amazing people or gotten my horse Joe. My granny used to always tell me “life isn’t always easy, but it is how we handle these tough situations that make us into the person we are meant to be”.
This isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s not like I woke up one day with flowers and rainbows shooting out of my ass. It’s taken me time to see the positive and a hell of a lot of patience. I can wait in clinic for hours and be ok with it, but if someone is in the passing lane and not even going the speed limit I’ll still turn into a masshole driver. If you aren’t going to pass get out of the damn passing lane! It’s a simple concept. You just have to go with the flow even if it makes you uncomfortable. There is a lot to look forward to in life and sometimes you have to get out of your own head to experience it.