PROJECT JOY continues, despite the disappointing political climate, huge unknowns and transitions, loss of a friend to cancer, and somewhat vague medical status. I can’t really say what shifted in my brain (I think it has a lot to do with hope) but I’m definitely holding on to a different mindset than I was a few weeks ago.
What comes to me most often these days is gratitude. It’s true, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. It may be an absolute catastrophe. It might be wonderful. Either way, it isn’t here yet. What I have is right now. This moment. As I sit in my office or in my home or out in the yard by the fire all I can really think is, “How amazing is this?” Truly. It’s pretty incredible that in this very moment I am still alive. There are a lot of ways this diagnosis could have been so much worse. There is no promise that someday it won’t be. But still, right now, I’m very much alive.
The gratitude I have around that is completely restorative. It’s such a luxury to be able to wake up, get out of bed, take a shower, exercise, and then work a full day. I am definitely more tired than I was pre-diagnosis but I am miles ahead of where I was this time last year. In fact, I vividly remember July 3, 2016. I will never forget contemplating how I was going to get myself out of the bathtub. I just didn’t have the energy. I lethargically reached for my iPhone and turned on the workout playlist I had curated for my long half ironman training runs. I let the up-tempo beats of the music that used to get me through an energy slump at mile 11 wash over me. I psyched myself up for a few minutes before gathering the strength and courage to hoist myself out of the tub. It was a deeply excruciating and fatiguing effort. I collapsed on my bed in a ball of pain and tears. It would take me a total of three hours to get out of the house that day.
The fact that I can now walk three miles to work is amazing. Being tired feels good. Fatigue is no longer the result of simply trying to survive. These days I am tired because I was able to put some reasonable effort in. I cannot tell you how incredibly satisfying that is.
Of course, the thing I’m really relishing is having a little bit of control over my life. I am no longer completely powerless over my circumstances. There are actual things I can change if I want to. On that note, I actually started to actively course correct my diet and level of fitness. I know. After months of depressed abuse I’m actually gaining a little bit of strength and losing a little bit of weight. If I weren’t so chicken $hit I’d post a meaningful segment on that process. But for now, I’m clucking like a mother hen. Just know that I’m on a personal journey to reclaim a little bit of my old life. I’m making the choice to take care of myself and, yes, it does feel good.
I also decided that I couldn’t really love and heal myself if I was being unkind to myself all the time. I have a way of subtlety punishing myself when I feel I haven’t met the mark. So I did away with that unhelpful monster. I got a sharp new haircut at the barbershop below our office and I’m looking pretty fresh and edgy, even. I only got self-conscious a few times when I realized I was the only girl in the place surrounded by (a lot) of dudes. But who cares when your barber cuts your hair like this?
So I’m rocking it. This is where I am now: Finding the joy and getting out of my own way. No, I don’t know what tomorrow will look like. But today? Today was just right.
Give ‘Em Hell.