A happy life indeed

February 12, 2010 at 10:07 am 1 comment

I was talking to someone a several days ago and was asked “how are you holding up”?

Now, first, I don’t like that question.  Please don’t anyone ask that kind of question of me in those words. It is leading and assumes I am not doing well and I am not ‘holding up’.

So, I answered honestly, “I am doing well actually.  There are good moments and tough ones.  Just like anyone else. I am lucky that I am in a place now where I really am happy with my life and that helps me”.

The response I received, “How can you say you are happy with your life? What is happy about it? You have cancer”.

I was shocked speechless by this response.  Yes, I have cancer.  I don’t know the outcome but as far as I am concerned, it is not a death sentence.  The word scares everyone but we know of so many examples in our own worlds and in the public of persons who have faced far worse diagnoses than myself and are living quite wonderfully full lives.  That too will be me.  I didn’t appreciate my life being twiddled down to one word, as if this the whole of who I am.  I have described this before as a journey, a different one that I may have picked for myself, but one I must travel nonetheless. Last night, I was having dinner with Cathy and I described it a bypass. I can’t go on the interstate of life the easy way, I need to take the bypass but I will be right back on that main highway soon enough.

People who know me in Omaha know the me I have worked hard on rebuilding. The person I see in the mirror who I like and believe in. They do not know the defensive, negative, hot-tempered person I once was. I am sure we can all look back at our youth and now see how immature we were. And I know some of this is the case, but I also know that I was someone I didn’t like even as I was getting close to my 30’s, or as I call them,  the adult years.  Maybe we all look at who we are as we move through life and at certain points, take stock and decide our next path. Maybe we continue as we have been, maybe we take a different fork in the road. I know that in my early 30’s, I no longer wanted to hate myself and sought therapy to help me change my behaviors.  My soul was thirsty and restless and it was my time. And through much learning about myself (though my therapist always said I knew all the things about myself that I didn’t like and was already incredibly reflective), I finally learned better strategies of coping and being through her help. And for anyone who thinks therapy is easy, it isn’t. And for anyone embarrassed for me because I was in therapy, don’t be.  It was a huge act of courage and belief in myself to say that despite my knowledge of who I was, I needed help in making a change.

I’m still not quite there and will always be a work in progress, but I hope you see before you a person who is grounded, happy in life, and someone who doesn’t suck the energy out of the room when I walk in.  And to that person I had that conversation with, I am not defined by any one thing, not even cancer.  If you want to give me a label, I would prefer Learner. Bibliophile. Animal lover. Positivist. Student of life. Graduate student. Professor. Coach. Mentor. Teacher. Mom (yes, to 2 cats). A loud laugher. A dork. A movie fan.  A lover of snow. An 80’s music fan. These are labels I embrace!


Entry filed under: Books, humor, Miscellania, movies, pets, Relationships, school, summer reading list, thoughts, well-being, Who is?.

Ahh so naive Round 2 – ding!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Don  |  February 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

    What a joy it is to read what you write! It is wonderfully cheerful and positive. I agree with you about cancer not being a death sentence. I do know several close friends who are survivors, and will be glad to count you as one too.


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