My life got complicated in late 2014 when I received a metastatic cancer diagnosis, and that one thing certainly led to another! For one, that diagnosis did not go along with my goal to live to be 100+ years old, healthy and sane! Nor did it fit into my busy schedule and full life. It got in the way of a lot of plans. It was also damn scary!
An acute or chronic disease will complicate anyone’s life. No one plans to be sick or plans for the time it takes to get or stay healthy. That diagnosis complicated my life and my husband’s, and my sons’ lives too. We all had to learn a new normal.
It prompted a 3 month leave from work…just when a reorganization was happening, and a new role was on the horizon for me. That was complicated.
It spawned a full overhaul of my diet and lifestyle as I searched for anything and everything that would keep me healthy. That was complicated. It led me to more soul searching and, on a quest, to find the meaning in the diagnosis. That was complicated. Making so many changes at once left me feeling a bit out of sorts, like I wasn’t myself anymore. I was becoming someone else.
I felt this for the first time when I went to a holiday party just a few weeks into my new lifestyle and found that there was no food there that I could eat. Does cheese have to be added to everything? I didn’t even look at the dessert table because I knew it was all about refined sugar. I also wasn’t drinking alcohol, and so I found myself feeling bored, and worst of all, feeling boring! It was strange to me to not be the life of the party, but since I’d given up drinking alcohol, I didn’t feel like I was much fun anymore. I went home early feeling like a stranger to myself.
“There's no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another.” E. B. White
This new me showed up in other ways too. Usually around my new choices of food, decision not to drink alcohol, and even in how I would spend my time – preferring to stay home more.
I also started to embrace my inner hippie as I purchased crystals and stones and delved into metaphysical ideas. My friends have gotten used to the new me and while I still feel a lot like the me I’ve always been, I also feel like a new me. I guess it’s a new improved version of me!
On the other hand, this complication, that is, diagnosis, did give me permission to simplify, to slow down, to set boundaries, to find inner peace. It allowed me to take time away from being busy, and focus on simpler things. I took time to just be. I was able to get clear on my priorities, on what really mattered. The new me that was emerging was calm and peaceful, and more interested in health and wellbeing – mine and everyone else’s.
So, you see, something that complicates life, and may even change you, can also inspire you to simplify and improve your life. A scary diagnosis is not the only way to do it, and certainly is not one that I would recommend, but when faced with a complication, I recommend looking for ways to simplify…and keep your dreams alive. Making it to 100+ years healthy and sane is still going to happen for me!
Written with love by our very own, Coach Karla Mans Giroux