This week I learned a friend I have known since grade school has breast cancer, and is having a double mastectomy. This news has rather shaken me to the ground. In my minds eye, we are still 11 and riding our new 10-speeds around town, going down to the movie theater to watch campy movies, and just starting what we’ll do for the next few years – boy watching. The memory of this time is clear and full of the innocence we both had. Oh, how our lives have changed since — high school, moving, marriage, children, divorce and the realities of life we never thought we would have to endure. Our lives diverged, as all childhood friendships do. She moved away, and later, so did I. We have been in touch with each other, via letters, phone calls, email and, most recently, Facebook, through the years. And though our lives have changed so much, we’ve always been connected, in one way or another. Years in-between talking passed, and yet one phone call and it has always been as if we just spoke the day before.
The news of the cancer was eye opening. It comes in the midst of realization that my life must change drastically. The news was a slap upside the head, saying “Get your head out of your ass, grab the bull by the horns, climb on and take the ride.” I have been in this process since my move in May, when I realized that my life was not what I wanted at all. Since then, I have made new choices, friendships have changed and grown; I no longer allow my family to sit in judgement of my life; I have changed my job to a more stable and long term one, and have started to come out from under the rock I have been living since the divorice.
But life changes go fast and now, with this news, comes that feeling that the immortality (or at least a really long life), I was sure of when I was 20 is really just fleeting. I don’t despair the future, but reality is slapped upon the mirror, not letting me see anything except what is within. It’s been showing itself to me like this for the past few months with a clarity that has elucidated my own desires, needs and wants.
I know that I must change certain things — my “love” life has been crumbling away with no sign of giving me what I need; my child is 16 now and becoming more and more grown up..more of a stranger to me; and the fact life just seems more and more of a struggle than a joy is heavy on my mind.
I know what I want –
- -a better relationship with my son
- -a relationship with my the man in my life that is not one sided
- -a job that is fulfilling (and pays well!)
- – time for myself that is not full of the 10,000 things going on in my head that I cannot change or fix, but full of time to express and create.
I know that all of the things I want are my own responsibility. No one can make me happy – I must do that myself. No one can fix what is wrong – only I can do that. I am the one who must make the real choices – the simple and easy choices, and those incredibly hard life changing choices.
I’ve had these two quotes on my mind for some time now:
“My will shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.” ~ Elaine Maxwell
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” “Only I hold the key to my destiny.” These two lines are how I must live my life. Fear of the unknown can no longer hold me back. I get to make the choices, I get to make the decisions. No one else.