Wake up every day with some kind of a smile; bike to work; try to maintain that smile despite inexplicably entitled and disgruntled customers; laugh with your coworkers; make your coworkers laugh; make a customer laugh; smile at the sunset; bike home; run 3-5 miles after an 8-hour day on your feet; make something delicious and kale-based for dinner; sleep like you live a gratifying life. Repeat.
How to be a bad-a** cancer survivor: do all the above while ignoring constant sinus infections, interminable GI distress, chronic fatigue from B-vitamin deficiencies. Most importantly, live every day and appreciate every day for its very existence.
As part of our lives, we encounter setbacks - some small, some more significant, but always, something that gives us pause. There are always situations and events that cause us to reevaluate our outlook and our approach to living. I have been sick for So Long. Without fail, just when I think I've kicked the immune deficiencies, that I am fully embracing my potential badassery, I regress. Just over five weeks ago, I ran 10 miles. I crushed 10 miles, running. Training for the Philadelphia Marathon, I felt so incredibly powerful, invincible once more. Two days later, my friends and I hiked La Plata Peak in Colorado's Sawatch Range. It was a burly hike, at roughly 7 miles round trip and 3400 ft. of elevation gain. There were sections I felt we were climbing practically vertically. Not really, but it was a stiff hike. Despite leaving the trailhead at 10:30 a.m., we powered through those 7 miles and made it back to the car just as the hail began to fall, around 5 p.m. We were all aware that attempting a 14-er that late in the day was a dangerous endeavor, and I consider us lucky that we avoided any crazy weather when the clouds were building all around us. But we did it! Crushed this mountain, and the next day, my appropriately crazy boyfriend and I did a bit of off-roading leading to a little trail we could have potentially followed to the top of another 14-er. We decided not to go through with the full hike, as it was even later in the day and still pretty sketchy weather. But he and I did do the first portion of the hike: roughly 1/2 mile and 1000 ft. vertical. Once again, incredibly steep. It was rough. The weekend was hard on both of us. But being as bad-a** as we are, we conquered mountains.
Following our outdoorsy extravaganza, both my boyfriend and I got sick. So much for invincibility. Now, five weeks later, he is recovering well, and my body has pretty much just stayed in this sickness trough. My marathon training has stagnated. There is a constant party in my gut. Not the awesome, aww yeah, we're having a great time! party, but the one where the frat house across the street is Blasting dubstep at 3 a.m. and drunk co-eds are shrieking in the streets while brahs exchange barbs and blows after way too much Natty Light. Nobody's happy, and nobody's sleeping.
I don't feel like a bad ass right now. I feel like a half-ass, and it is bothering me to no end. I was rejected from yet another job I should have been qualified for, rejected with absolutely nothing to go on besides they went with a candidate with "more experience." Period. Frustrating! These setbacks are incredibly frustrating.
I can't help but feel that I will be confined to a coffee shop forever, slinging lattes and grin-acing through the day, not actually helping anyone or living up to whatever potential I might have to be an influential member of society. I can't help but wonder if I will ever be able to train for a marathon or an ultramarathon and remain injury or sickness free, if it is even possible for me to conquer each and every mile.
I am pushing through every day. Pushing through because I love each and every day. I love that I can run, even if just a little bit, that I can make people laugh and laugh, myself, easily at so many things. My life does not have any more setbacks than anyone else's, in particular. Maybe some people have it easier... There are those who can straight up run marathons without training any substantial amount. Others have the right connections and social aptitude to have a fulfilling, engaging career. I know these individuals exist, though I can't help wondering if they truthfully smile at every sunrise, laugh uninhibitedly at the sheer, glorious magnitude of this world's beauty... Do they even know how lucky we are? We are Alive.
While I am disheartened, frustrated and upset that parts of my life are not what I wish they were, I am Overjoyed every, single freaking day that I am still here, that I am still lucky enough to live in love with life and the wonderful people in my life in this beautiful world. And physically, sure, I have a ways to go, but my perspective makes me a Bad Ass. Nothing will take that away from me; nobody's rejection can tamp my appreciation for cheese and cider and being outside surrounded by Awesome.
Setbacks, road blocks, giant, gaping dilemmas with seemingly no resolution - these things do not a Bad Ass break. Keep moving forward, keep laughing despite it all. There are always the little things, and maybe, just maybe, someday, the big things will work out positively. Meantime, I guess it's just going to be another slow marathon and a few more lattes to sling.
Thanks for checking in, checking back. What makes You a Bad Ass?