Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Little Challenge (Kind of)

Starting to get the Melanoma Awareness message out.
(Orange is the colour for Melanoma Patients Australia)
I have some really amazing friends who I often don't tell enough just how amazing and inspiring they are. That's not their problem, it's mine. For someone who is supposed to be a professional wordsmith and manipulator of the English language I just tend to open my mouth to change feet. In other words, I just feel scared that what I say is going to come across as patronising polly-waffle so I keep my mouth shut. So this challenge, in some ways, is for my amazing friends.

Now, here's the conundrum. One of my amazing friends has set herself 100 things that she wants to do this year (and she's already achieved three.) So I want to get off my lazy, fat butt this year and challenge myself too. I can't come up with 100 things as that just makes my brain implode, so here are 14 (in no particular order):

  1. Exercise a minimum of five days a week (except when on holidays);
  2. Get at least half way to my healthy weight range by the end of the year (bad family health history is a good motivator) without 'dieting', just being observant of what I eat;
  3. Visit non-Canberra family once a month (this one is hard, I don't have a big family and I don't know many of them that I do have);
  4. Meet up with friends for a face to face chat at least once a fortnight;
  5. Text someone once a week to tell them how great they are;
  6. Advocate for Melanoma patients, including getting the word out about what a dread disease it is and how it can be prevented and treated;
  7. Continue on with both knitting and crochet;
  8. Create and cook new recipes;
  9. Allow me 30 minutes of me time per day;
  10. Not post anything negative, cynical or regurgitated on social media;
  11. Focus on using Energy Coaching Skills;
  12. De-clutter the lounge room;
  13. Get to one quarter (or even one third) of a deposit for an investment property; and finally
  14. Let go of the things I cannot control.
So, I have put it out there and now I have to work on it. (Although spending the last week on holidays in WA probably didn't help 1, 2, 12 or 13.)

Here's hoping!

What are your goals this year?

Monday, 4 June 2012

A Little Bit of Perspective

When some ask me what has been happening during the last nine months of my life, following my [attempt at being concise] summary, most people respond: "Oh, you've had a rough time." I must admit, physically and in some places emotionally, yeah, it's been rough. I am still in one of those rough bits. Thankfully, I have been blessed with being able to see the silver linings in there, although often they appear to be lead, or at the best, Fools' Gold. These silver linings, I realise, outweigh the rough bits.

Taking the lead from a friend more courageous than I, I put out there, into the arena of cyber space, what has happened in the last nine months so that you may reflect:
  1. One of my two best friends, close in age to me was diagnosed with terminal melanoma. While juggling work and home, my husband and I assisted with his palliative care for three months. We had the blessing of seeing some make the best of these times, while we saw others who struggled with the concept of their own mortality and chose to support from a distance. I cannot judge those who made choices different to mine, we all must walk a different path and the only path I can alter is my own. Within five months of our friend's prognosis my husband was assisting our friend's mother organise his funeral in another state, while I assisted in organising the concurrent memorial service here. At the memorial service I realised how we often affect more people than we may ever realise. I learnt to value the importance of those around me and to realise that many material things I want and things I do to obtain these, are superfluous, they are "stuff", they are NOT as important as the relationships I build. I was reminded that, as bad as my situation may be and how self-piteous I may want to feel, the world does not centre around me - as much as wish it would, for there are many in situations worse than I.
  2. A second friend, my age, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. This friend lives on the other side of the continent and I felt incompetent to assist them. I felt that the messages and calls I made were puny, insignificant and not quite enough to help in the big picture. My amazing sister, a resilient and wise woman, reminded me that there are only certain things I can control. She allowed me to find the peace to let go of the things I could not control and rejoice in the positives that I could see in the situation, such as the fact that I have been able to keep in contact with this physically distanced friend. My sister also reminded me that being supportive is, sometimes, the best that we can do.
  3. I changed jobs. Okay, so this is not really a biggie, but it was the third change to happen. I went from safe, known, comfortable, small fish pond to unknown, different, moderate sized lake. I felt out of my comfort zone, lost, at times emotionally and professionally insecure and even incompetent. Thankfully, I had a lifeline, a colleague from a previous work place who supported me and reminded that my contributions were valuable and that I am good at my job, even when I don't feel like it. I was, again, reminded that the relationships I build are what are important. I was reminded that kindness, even in its smallest form of a smile or hello, can put a positive spin on someone else's day and it doesn't cost me anything. I was reminded that what I do, while it may not be commented upon, can positively affect others.
4.    I went to hospital - for almost a month. During this month (1 May - 1 June), I suffered physical pain beyond what I have ever previously experienced. Physical pain which was complicated by the removal of an emotional hope and the fact that the very painkillers which were supposed to be assisting in my recovery were actually exacerbating my pain and creating further medical issues, to the point that painkillers were withdrawn from me. For something that had been scheduled as day surgery, I ended up spending 22 days (over a period of 32 days) in hospital. I, when literally at my lowest ebb, thought I was going to die. This experience gave me new insight into what terminally ill patients must go through, while I had the consolation that I should get better, they do not. Frustration at my inability to both do anything about the situation and even to cope with the situation affected me physically and emotionally. Strength came from unexpected places, calls and messages from people I had not seen in months and, in some cases, years reached me. People did positive things around me that I had not expected. I realised that I was not alone in my experiences and that I have an AMAZING group of people around me, whom I am honoured to call friends.
Throughout this period, I have been blessed, humbled, pleasantly surprised. I have witnessed change, growth, support and love. I have been reminded that it is not what I experience that defines me, but how I respond to that experience. I have been reminded that my experiences are not unique and that others experience things similar, that I am not alone.
To my amazing friends and family, I say thank you. Thank you for accepting me as I am, with my inconsistencies, flaws, self-doubts and irritating habits. Thank you for trusting me and sharing your stories with me. Thank you for making me realise that I am not alone and that help does not come always from the place I expect. Thank you for reminding me that tomorrow is another day to be lived and that no matter how large my Black Dog maybe, you will be there to help me, to ground me and to live life with me.
My greatest lesson has been this: When my eyes are open, even when I am in a place I would rather not be, I am truly able to see the blessings I have for I am not alone. Please, feel free to remind me of what I have.

I hope you too, may see at least one blessing in every day you have.