Which means: jazz on the radio, garlic and rosemary sockeye, white sweet potato roasties, and, now, organic hot chocolate. There is a mini Christmas tree glowing in the fireplace-space of my apartment, nestled beneath a large glass jar stuffed with some more glowey Christmas lights. You cannot have too many Christmas lights glowing all around. Standing in the corner, right next to my jam-packed bookshelf, are a pair of lime green and black and orange (?!) crazy, ridiculous powder skis that, every time I look at them, make me think of my crazy, ridiculous boyfriend powder skier. (I look at those skis a lot.) There is a 1950s-era fully functional record player across the room, hanging out beneath our vintage disco ball. It's time to bust out the Beach Boys Christmas album! which we do have.
I am blessed. I am grateful and lucky and beyond amazed every day that I am here, living this life. A blog I was reading earlier today contained this statement: "Life can change, powerfully, in six years." She was referring to having been diagnosed with celiac disease six years earlier. Six years ago, for me, I was diagnosed with cancer. Life changed, powerfully, in the course of one week. Six years ago, I had no idea what the next months, weeks of my life would bring. I knew only that I had to do everything possible to stay alive, to go back to school the next year.
I don't think there is anything in this world that can prepare you for a life-shaking, paradigm-shattering event. Doesn't matter if it is celiac or cancer or lupus or the birth of a child or whatever. Other people say things like, "I couldn't do what you've done." But that isn't true. If you want it badly enough, you will do whatever it takes to adapt to this new challenge. Even though I used it once, I really don't like the term "new normal." Can anyone define for me "old normal?" Is it normal to sleep 4 or 5 hours a night, depend on caffeine and processed foods to sustain us during the day, use alcohol or substances as a means of relaxation? Don't tell me that is normal; don't even try. We are all so individualized. The glory of our lives is that we have the freedom to choose how we want to approach our days. We really can choose our attitudes. There is no science to confirm or deny that my (mostly) positive attitude helped me beat cancer, but I am cancer-free six years later despite still consuming mass quantities of sugar.
It's funny: most high school and college kids have a plan for their lives; they have at least a vague idea of where they'll be in five years' time. When I was a senior in college, five years ago, I had no remote vision of my future. I was still entrenched in the reality that I might not live to see the next semester. Everything has gone in a completely different direction than I would have thought. I always thought my younger brother would live in Colorado, not me. I would have said, "Oh wow, that's super cool! But so unlikely!" if someone had told me by 2013 I'd have completed two marathons, Chicago and Boston. I'd have climbed in Wyoming and Utah and Colorado, photographed the President and countless bands, friends, mountain bikers. Worked at Starbucks. Still worked at Starbucks... If someone had told me that in five years time, I would decide to go back to school for science. Like, for real. Science. Who does science??
And yet here I am, six years later, doing science. Doing science because I want to know what happened to my body and how I can fix it nutritionally. I, too, was diagnosed with celiac, but it popped up as a result of the immunodeficiency caused by chemo. Chronic inflammation, sinusitis: things that I can control with diet and exercise, things I so badly want to help others understand and control with diet and exercise. "I couldn't do what you've done..." What, couldn't eliminate gluten because it was a life or death situation? Of course you could! And discover quinoa and quinoa flour and garlic rosemary sockeye and white sweet potatoes! Life is worth figuring out how to make it work. It might even end up infinitely better than what you imagined.
In the meantime, so much for running and blogging about it. I haven't been running almost as much as I haven't been writing. I have been running a little bit, but not enough and with no motivation behind it. I think I need something to work towards. I'm not one of those people who can just Run. I need to train, even if it's half-hearted. I need a reason to haul out of bed when it's dark and cold when I would much prefer to sleep a little longer. So, if anyone wants to suggest a spring/early summer race, OR, if someone wants to train with me, please let me know!
There are so many beautiful things in this world, in my life. Again, so much to be grateful for. I am normal (hah) and lose sight of that perspective sometimes, but I also always come right back to it. It's been six years, and I am still kicking, and kicking it in Colorado, no less! I have my very own pair of gnarly skis! I have a plan and a vision for my future. It's an incredible one, too. I have No Idea how any of it will work out, but it is there, at least. It is something to work towards while still living every day and appreciating everything I have. We are all so lucky to be here. I only ask that you consider everything you're blessed with, realize that nothing is permanent and it is all we can do to appreciate what we have right now. Thank you for tuning in, hopefully I'll be back sooner. There has been a lot on my mind lately; maybe I'll share some more of it.
Trying to run more; thinking less about the small stuff. Love!