In a year

A lot can happen in a year. As I started to send out holiday goodies, I was reminded of this yet again. Several of my friends and family have moved within the past year. I then started to reflect on all of the changes that have occurred with my friends and family within the last year.  Several of these lovely people have lost loved ones this past year. This past year, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was diagnosed with  breast cancer last year. She had surgery and thought all was doing well. This most recent diagnosis was quite unexpected. Based on the aggressive nature of this particular kind of tumor, the doctors have given her a year to live. This prognosis was also quite unexpected and has been difficult to accept.

This is a sobering prognosis, one I hope to never receive. I always thought I’d live well into my 90’s like several of my grandparents have. When my oldest and I were younger, we joked that I needed to hold out for his 80th birthday. If I did, I would be 100 years old. If I am so fortunate to live that long, I will consider it a great blessing (provided my life continues in the joy it is currently). Considering my cheery family history of hypertension, heart disease, cancer and diabetes; I will be quite lucky to last that long. Granted, a poorly family medical history does not seal one’s fate to die of something unfortunate but it definitely makes you think about the future.

The five stages of grief come into play when we suffer loss. That loss is not exclusive to loss of a loved one. It could be a loss of a job, a relationship, our dreams, or an aspect of our health. To better understand others, I try to put myself in their shoes to try and understand how to better relate. Some situations are much too painful to imagine. There is not right or wrong way to grieve and everyone moves through the stages at their own pace.

I got to thinking what I would do if I was told I had a year to live. I would definitely struggle through the five stages of grief. Knowing me, bounce between anger and depression which would waste what precious time I had left. This scenario would probably be closer to my reality. For a brief moment lets just say I am indeed a whiz kid would move through the five stages with ease. Acceptance frees us. At acceptance, we no longer give a shit about our previously held fears.

What would I do if I’d been given my expiration date and was suddenly fearless?  I instantly thought of all the things which I have put on the back burner due to fear. I thought I was getting better at facing my fears but in reality, I am not much further in my process. The thought of singing in front of people who can actually hear me is terrifying. However, it is something I’ve wanted to do since I got bold (at age 35) and took voice lessons. Dancing and showing my vulnerability is also terrifying. I am an admirer of several professional dancers and I’d love to be able to express myself as they do. There would be no hiding behind the short people (think group pictures) as a dancer. I honestly would love to do a modeling shoot, despite my size and weight. All of these things are forms of art in which I’d like to use in expressing myself. I’d also like to show my art in a gallery. That last one feels like a very far fetched dream for now but it’s definitely on the “terrifying” list.

As I thought about all of these things I’d like to do before my precious, theoretical year was up; I wondered why I haven’t started toward some of these goals. Yes, big things can be intimidating. Big ideas might not seem realistic or feasible. If we are never shaken up, it is easy to become complacent and park our dreams on the back burner indefinitely.

I feel like that camping-on-the-back-burner phase is where I am right now in life. There has not been much interest in my art this past year. I struggle with getting my ideas on canvas. I’ve only written a few blogs this year and it feels like my life is in neutral. Life has lost a bit of it’s excitement. I’ve let fear hold my creativity back and I feel a bit grey inside. Do I need a dismal diagnosis to kick start my will to live fully? That seems a bit extreme to be quite honest. That cliche phrase, “life is short” is so very true. Over the past several years, I have been re-reminded multiple times.

I feel like I’ve written things about being fearless before and these thoughts are not that new. Like the name of my blog says, I write about whatever is kicking around my mind. Perhaps my recent thoughts mean I am finally ready to shift out of neutral.