Well… here we are, 2017. Every new year seems to hold endless possibilities for people. For some, these possibilities, are terrifying. For others, the possibilities can be magical. Either way, there seems to be a universal consensus about this new year: uncertainty. This particular new year marks a political uncertainty with a tsunami-like force as new President Elect and the constant devastating wakes that follow his appointment land ashore, each day. Uncertainty like this is very scary, daunting, overwhelming etc. Conditions like this can can create a feeling of isolation and hopelessness. However, after living through the “shit-storm” (pun intended) of the past year; a constant terrifying uncertainty and all the unknowns that went along with fighting the battle of cancer, I am trying to see 2017 with a new perspective. I am vowing/trying/hoping to open myself up to the endless possibilities that everyday small changes and experiences can bring. I have pledged to view life through a new lens; with intentional focus, on the positive, the beauty and the possibilities in every day. I know, easier said than done (especially when it comes to politics!).
Having Kaycee headed full-throttle in to survivor-ship, YIPPEE!!!, and with recovery from his last surgery going much better now, we in the Taylor household are each trying to figure out what life looks like without cancer being our primary focus. Throughout all of last year my updates were titled “Cancer and … “. This year I decided to start a real blog, thanks to all the positive feedback from those who read this. When trying to name the blog I realized I did not want it to center around CANCER because, lets face it, cancer is frankly depressing… Real, but depressing.
I decided I am going to call it “Life and…“. Life, though it can be depressing at times, is what we are really all dealing with. Life can encompass, big hardships and small terrible moments. Ours was filled with just these things: cancer allows you to experiences the big and the small terrifying and difficult all at once. BUT life can also be filled with joy, laughter, tears, pensive moments, monumental decisions, journeys of discovery, well-intentioned mishaps and so much more.
This new blog is my way of telling the story of both good and bad, the easy and the hard. I want this new place to be somewhere I can share a verbal tapestry woven with the threads of my real life, being lived as honestly as I know how. I found such therapeutic benefits in writing “it” all down last year. You see, to me, life is phenomenal. It is not something that I take for granted…anymore. A lesson I am still learning after the last year. In this lesson I also discovered that life is something we should all be doing together, something we can all share, something we can celebrate or commiserate over. We are better together than we are alone, stronger as a group than one lonely voice. But we have to be honest.
The other day, at the very start of the day while I was busy taking attendance, I had a student come up to me extremely excited, “Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Taylor”, the boy squealed in a giddy high-pitched voice.
“Yes, honey what’s up?” I questioned without looking up.
“THE TREES HAVE LEAVES!!!!”, he exclaimed!
I stopped and slowly turned, puzzled at this declaration (he is 8 years old he knows that trees have leaves). What I saw was the brilliant innocence of pure discovery. You see the boy had his new-first-ever-pair of glasses. In theory, he knew tress had leaves but, visually, he had no idea the individual shape, size and color of each of these leaves until he was granted a new lens with which to view the world he was living in. His whole perspective changed in one swift moment. All day long he kept slipping his glasses down to his nose, delighted to compare his new clear view with his old unfocused one. I reveled in the beauty of watching him experience his new perspective. He was beaming with delight all day… all week, really.
What I found most fascinating about this was how quickly and happily he adapted. When faced with a new challenge or way of looking at things are we as adults ever as quick to accept change? Do we look at opportunities for new perspective with even a fraction of his innocent acceptance? Do we relish in the pure delight of having something new to focus on? Can we re-train ourselves to be as open and flexible as this little guy?
I know, I know I can hear the audible sighs of resignation as you read this… our adult changes in perspective usually pose bigger realities/challenges than the discovery of tress having individual leaves. But I ask, when was the last time you stopped to focus on all the little details individually, to help you accept the whole picture?
Last year my focus was only on the big picture, the end result: get Kaycee healthy and into survivorship. Now that we are there I need a new focus. I need to re-train my brain to see the small things that were forgotten over the last year, left behind in the devastation of the storm. I need to focus on the little details that support the big picture while we learn to celebrate, accept and adapt to our new life.
I am trying, some days successfully, others not so much, to examine each day with a clearer perspective. A perspective that looks at the smaller moments as a blessing, a gift, something to value. I want each leaf to be clear to me. I am hoping that through this intentionally focused viewpoint I can see, find, acknowledge, and understand the beauty in the whole tree. I want to live more presently in the moment so that life and all its challenges are equally celebrated parts of my narrative. So, I am putting on my “new glasses” and learning, again or anew, what each detail looks like.