Things I Learned In 2011
I am not invincible. Like so many other 25-year-olds, I thought I was immune to all bad things. Injury and illness were far off in my future, I had youth and health on my side. Well, youth won’t keep you out of the hospital. I spent one month of 2011 living in one.
How to ask for help. I’ve always been stubborn and independent. I took a lot of pride in being self-sufficient about certain things. For me, asking for and receiving help quietly are hard to do. But being able to do so makes life so much easier.
I’m stronger than I thought. Not because of the things that have happened to me, but because of how I’ve chosen to deal with them.
When it comes to TV and movies, lighthearted is the way to go. If I’m going to escape into something, I want it to be enjoyable.
Life goes on. No matter how devastating something is, I still have to wake up the next day and go on with my life.
The saying “you can never go home again” is not true. In 2011, I moved back home after seven years of being away. And I actually love being back. For years, I challenged myself to go outside of my comfort zone because I thought it was good for me, but that doesn’t make me happy. Being comfortable in my environment does.
Shaved poodles are kind of frightening. Poor Archie had a rough year too.
I used to take my fitness for granted. Not everyone can run, strength train, do yoga, or even move their body with ease. I can’t believe I never acknowledged how lucky I was to live pain-free before, and instead spent too much time wanting to be in better shape. Pfft.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can improve my quality of life. In 2010, I chased my dreams and found work I loved. Work I spent 14 hours a day doing and still struggled to pay my bills with. In 2011, I settled down and accepted an 8-4 desk job with a better paycheck. It doesn’t sound as fancy as chasing my dreams, but it’s a lot more satisfying in completely different ways. I really enjoy having a life outside of work rather than have work be my life.
Pets are good for your health. Getting a dog during treatment was one of the best decisions I ever made. There were concerns in the beginning he might put me at risk of illness because dogs aren’t “clean.” But my family and I work at making sure he’s always sanitized, and I will argue to the death that dogs can do amazing things for your mood and spirit. Buster kept me strong in other ways by putting a smile on my face every single day.
Happiness isn’t something that needs to be chased down or found. Oftentimes it can come to me wherever I am in the world just by opening myself up to it.
Having all the free time in the world is only an advantage when you feel well enough to do something with that time. Being unable to leave bed for days at a time is mind-numbingly boring. For those of you who complain about having too much to do, being stuck doing nothing can be just as bad.
You can, and should, french toast just about anything.
It is so, so important I find ways to feel proud of myself outside of what I am physically capable of doing. Being fit is great, but it shouldn’t be my only source of self worth. I don’t love my legs because of what they do for me, I love my legs because they are mine. I need hobbies that don’t just rely on the abilities of my body, because I can lose those abilities in a second.
I can’t let the opinions of others dictate how I deal with things. Anyone who has been ill, injured, or hell, pregnant, knows that some people feel like they are suddenly allowed to give unsolicited advice. Just because so-and-so went through a similar ordeal does not mean I’m going to go through my own ordeal in the same way. Some days I actually felt guilty for feeling so sick after chemo because I heard of others who didn’t. Or I felt like a wuss when I still couldn’t lift 10lbs months after my arm surgery. In reality, I am the only one who sets the bar with how I deal with my own unique situation.
Memorable Posts From 2011:
I started 2011 in January feeling sick. I had a 10-day fever in the first couple weeks. On February 11, I shattered my elbow and had reconstructive surgery. For months I struggled with a slow and frustrating recovery while learning how to live my life now being physically limited. Just as I started a new job and scheduled a follow-up surgery to hopefully fix my arm for good, I was diagnosed with cancer on June 22. I’ve been sick and weak every day since. I had what will hopefully be my last cancer treatment on December 21, and will take what will hopefully be my last cancer related drug on December 31.
2011 has hands down been the hardest, most challenging year of my life. I have grown and learned a lot. A lot of which I can appreciate, none of which I really cared to deal with so early in life.
I would just like to give a big “fuck you” to 2011. I am happy to see this shit year end. I’m not naive enough to believe that it will all be over when the clock strikes midnight. But I’m really fucking happy to shake 2011 off and face 2012 with a renewed sense of optimism and energy.
So here’s to a great New Year!!