Tag Archive | cancer

Life 101

I’ve spent a big part of my life reflecting.

Whether it’s been about life, people, situations, news, or politics, I love when things get my brain thinking and churning. I’m much like my youngest son who has an inquisitive and curious mind. I’ve always wanted to know the “whys.”

But what I’ve learned about life is that sometimes there just aren’t any answers, and it used to devastate me and make me feel helpless. Questions like,”Why did my niece have a brain tumor when she was fifteen?”,”Why did my dad have to have a major and debilitating stroke at the age of 54?”, “Why did my birth parent’s abandon me when I was a small child?”, or “Why did my good friend have to die of cancer?”  There have been many questions in my life and I’ve just had to learn to let it all go and accept that sometimes there isn’t a good answer.

The alternative option of holding onto it was giving me health issues, filling me with depression, and causing a great deal of anxiety. But when I finally was able to embrace the unknown, I found that I was more at peace with myself and able to accept that for no good reason, life just sucks sometimes. It’s then up to us to figure out how to move on.

I guess that I would categorize myself as a “Student-of-Life,” ever-changing, ever-willing to learn something new, look in the mirror, and have an open mind. With a long career in management and working with people, I’ve also learned how to be a mentor and teacher at the same time. But while I’ve gained experience and knowledge, I don’t think the path of knowledge can ever be complete. The excitement that I get from learning new things and gaining new insights just never gets old.

Part of my learning has involved reading a lot about life lessons. Erma Bombeck’s “If I had to Live My Life Over” is wise and beautiful and I absolutely love it. http://www.kalimunro.com/If_I_Had_My_Life_To_Live_Over.html

42 Life Lessons by Regina Brett is also incredibly thought-provoking and honest. http://unbridledfreedom.com/42-life-lessons-by-regina-brett/

I’m not as prolific, wise, or celebrated as either of those two beautiful women, but along the way I’ve picked up some observations of my own.

  • Be Kind. It’s a simple playground truth but not one that many people remember. The funny thing is, it’s not that difficult. Hold the door open for someone,  use “Please” and  “Thank you” every single time,  give someone an unexpected compliment, say something genuinely nice to someone for no reason at all and don’t expect it in return. Be kind simply for the sake of doing it and because you can.
  • Stick up for Yourself. Don’t let people walk all over you and don’t allow people to treat you poorly. People will treat you the way you allow them to and you should only expect the best. Have courage and don’t be afraid to tell someone that the way they are treating you is unacceptable and be willing to walk away from them if they don’t get it. Sometimes they’ll come back and sometimes they won’t, but if they can’t treat you well, then do you want them in your life to begin with?
  • Laugh at yourself. A lot. Life is short and you’re not perfect. Having a sense of humor about yourself is important and healthy, as long as you’re not being mean about yourself. Often we are our own worse critic but love yourself and don’t take your flaws too seriously. Everyone has them.
  • Don’t ever put things before people.  I’ve spent time with people I’ve loved  who were sick or dying and they’ve never said  to me,”I wish I’d had more stuff.” Ever. They’d always wished they had more time with the people they loved. Period.
  • It’s not always about YOU. We all like to imagine that the world revolves around us, but… it doesn’t! Sometimes people are on their own journey and are suffering, fighting, divorcing, struggling, sometimes they are sick, or hurt, or angry about something that has nothing to do with you. Stop thinking that it does! We are a world full of narcissists who think that everything is about us when it has nothing to do with us! Sometimes you’re the main character and sometimes your just a footnote and it’s important to be able to identify which one you are and when.
  • Be willing to walk away. Not every relationship is meant to last forever. Some are and some aren’t. Some relationships teach us how to be better and some don’t teach us anything at all. Not every person we ever meet is meant to be in our lives for the duration of our lives, but they’re meant to be there for some of it. While letting go is incredibly painful and feels downright impossible, sometimes we don’t have a choice or we need to because the relationship hurts us more than it does anything else for us. The people that love us often hurt us the most and the worst. But that’s because they are fighting their own demons and that is something they have to do alone. All we can do is love them, but loving them doesn’t mean we don’t love ourselves. This means we may have to step away from them in order to survive, whether it’s temporarily or permanently.
  • Laugh at fart jokes. This is different obviously than laughing at yourself, but when children hear fart jokes they laugh, out loud, big hearty belly laughs that are honest and true. When we grow up, we don’t laugh at such things anymore, but I think that if we just let ourselves laugh at silly things like fart jokes and we can remember what its like to laugh when we were kids, we would be so much happier.  My kids will genuinely laugh every single time at the word “balls” and when they do, it’s impossible not to laugh with them. Life is too short not to find humor in silly things.
  • Be surprised. Let yourself live a life where you can still be surprised. And even if you’re not, pretend that you are. People love surprises and love to surprise others. The joy we give and receive from life’s little surprises is something that just can’t be replaced.
  • Listen more than talk. When you listen to your children with all of your attention you’ll notice that when they are talking they’re smiling the entire time (up until a certain age). When you listen well, you’re giving someone the gift of your love and attention which has more value than anything else you can give them.

My list isn’t that long and it’s not complete. I’ve learned so much but have so much more to learn. I love that life is such a beautiful maze of truth and understanding and that everyone gets there a completely different way. And I love that I’ll never get past Life 101 because life is ever-evolving and ever-changing. I love listening to and learning from other people. One of my favorite people to sit and listen to was my GiGi. She would’ve been 100 this year and when she was alive she told the best stories and was such a pleasure to talk to. I’ve thought about her so many times throughout the years and wished I could talk to her and learn from her kindness and experience and I’m always reminded of how much more there is still left to learn.

What have you learned throughout your lifetime? What have you lost and gained? What would you share with the world from your experience if you could? I’d be interested to see your comments here.

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I Run to You

I Run to You

I Run to You is not your typical love story. It’s a story about the power of love and choice, and what happens when one young woman decides to change her life completely.

Synopsis~

Alyssa Bennet had been living life on autopilot, never taking chances or the time to figure out what she wanted in life.   A broken family and lonely childhood had failed to show her the true meaning and depth of what love can be.

 

But all that changes on her 25th birthday.  

 

Alyssa suddenly realizes that it’s up to her to take charge and choose the direction of her life.

 

Landon Daniels, Alyssa’s best guy friend is always there for her whenever she needs him. But when the unthinkable happens and life takes a drastic turn, her relationship and feelings for Landon become too complicated to face. Alyssa is forced to rely heavily on the only two people she’s ever been able to trust, her best friend Anna and her beloved Nona. As they always have, they help Alyssa sort through the mess that has become her life. 

 

At her time of deepest despair, Alyssa finally begins to learn what true love really means. But her old feelings of inadequacy quickly creep back into her life making her doubt she can ever have happiness.

 

Will Alyssa be strong enough to face her fears and run toward the only man she’s ever loved, or will she destroy her chance completely? 

Buy Links:
Amazon~http://www.amazon.com/I-Run-You-Jennifer-Sivec-ebook/dp/B00KPK5EE2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1404914080&sr=8-2&keywords=jennifer+sivec

Barnes & Noble~http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-run-to-you-jennifer-sivec/1119886694?ean=2940149786183

Also available on IBooks.

Resilience

I love this Rose bush for so many reasons.

It’s set at the edge of my driveway and there’s a story behind it. A few years ago, I didn’t like where it was planted. I thought it was awkward and out of place so I decided to transplant it to a different section of the yard. I dug it up and moved it to where I thought it would look best.

The next spring, much to my chagrin, it sprouted back up in its original spot. The rose bush was coming up nicely in the area that I moved it to and I couldn’t figure out how it managed to grow back in its original spot, after I dug it up, roots and all.

I decided to leave it and see what happened. The first summer it grew up some, still gangly and out of place. Every time I left the driveway, I shook my head in annoyance that it was still where I didn’t want it to be.

But last summer it really took off and started to become something bigger than I ever imagined. And now, it’s a huge beautiful bush.

I’m amazed every time I look at it, at its resilience. When I reflect on its growth, I think of how my life has somehow rendered the same amount of strength and resilience.

I’ve also been uprooted many times, but somehow I’ve managed to stay rooted to the original place I started from. I don’t know how, but it’s happened.

I wrote about it in my book, reflecting the strength of human nature through my characters, Brynn, Rose, Adam. And I’m amazed at how human nature, nature in general, can somehow demonstrate such growth and beauty after being completely upended. Yet somehow we just journey through and manage to become more amazing and more resilient than we ever thought possible.

Whether its a cancer diagnosis, marriage difficulties, loss of loved ones, or difficult beginnings. We somehow find ourselves growing through even the most adverse conditions. It’s a lot to envision from a simple Rose bush, yet every time I look at it, I think of where I’ve begun and where I am now.

The Roses continue to grow and the bush gets bigger and more beautiful every day. There are hundreds of buds on it now, and I am happy every time I look at it. I think that we are the same and that over time, we grow and become more beautiful, more amazing, more than we ever imagine in spite of ourselves and our conditions.

I can’t wait to see how beautiful it will be in a few more years. And I I ever move, I’m taking it with me, uprooting it again. Hopefully it will grow back for whoever lives here after me, demonstrating its beauty and resilience once again.

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