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  • glossectomygirl

The Plan


I have always focused on my life plan. I’m a list maker. At age 8 I wanted to be an architect and though this sometimes fluctuated (photographer, physicist, marine biologist) I always circled back, and I ALWAYS had a plan.

During my late 40’s I started to realize that all by ‘big life plan’ items were being ticked off. Architect – check. Married – check. Start my own firm – check. Two kids – check. Design hotels – check. My kids were going to be entering college and its not like there weren’t things on my to do list, god knows, I always have things on the list. Just not ‘big life goals’. Good grief I pondered, should I be finding some more goals? Hmmm…is this what they call a mid-life crisis?


Along came Cancer. The diagnosis of adenoid cystic carcinoma at the base of my tongue was not in the plan. In fact, my plan clearly stated, ‘live to 100’. I read unpleasant statistics about survival rates. My doctor said don’t put too much stock in those because it’s a ‘rare’ cancer and the sampling groups aren’t large, yadda yadda. Sounds good, but hard for me to avoid hearing those stats once I have. This changes some of my fundamental way of thinking. As in, I am NOT going to live to 100 and I have to be really flippin’ grateful for every day I have as there may only be 5 years more of days.

SURE, nobody knows how long they have to live. However, when you literally stare down the barrel of death its just a different experience, one I surely couldn’t have understood in my soul prior.

I am two years out now with No Evidence of Disease. I am SOOO happy for every day. Happy for a walk in the sun. Happy for snuggling with my dog. Happy to sit in the same room as the people I love. It doesn’t take much for me to be happy.

This week, a post went up in my Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma facebook group asking how long people in it had ‘survived’ thus far. It was pretty awesome. ‘Lots’ of people saying 5 years, 10 years, 20+ years! Wow!!! Granted, the dead people can’t respond. It made me feel hopeful. I like to be a realist though and not be TOO hopeful, lest my hopes be dashed. This isn’t fatalist thinking to me, it’s measuring my expectations so that I can adjust accordingly.

Then it dawned on me. So, if I have 25 more years, instead of 5 more years…do I need to get a ‘big life plan’ again? Should I feel guilty about not working then? Does this mean I shouldn’t be so happy because I need to be ‘accomplishing more things’ now?

Here’s the thing. I’m happier now than ever before. I love not working, and I mean I LOVE it. I love waking up each day when my body says its time. I love digging ditches in my yard (relandscaping). I love letting my creativity out through needlework, pottery, decorating a cake! I don’t want that pressure again. I don’t want the constant nagging stress of work that ate away at me. I don’t want to feel like by 60 I have to ‘conquer the world’ or whatever.

I still have my lists, but only because I like lists 😊. I have micro-goals, because I wouldn’t be me without them. I hope that I can dodge the niggling performance guilt that I operated under for the first 50 years and continue to hold onto this gratefulness and joy in the everyday.


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2 Yorum

21 Mar



20 Mar

I love your plan! And I am eager to hear about whatever you choose, in the moment, or from a list (also being a huge fan of lists).

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