This is the fifth post in a series titled, Today’s Reality. The series will chronicle my journey to remission from Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). My outlook as I begin this new phase in my life and blog series is living in the moment in mind, body, and spirit. I am not angry. I refuse to be sad. I am determined to live a long life with love and peace in my heart with the confidence of a better tomorrow filled with joy and humor.
2020 is nearing the end! We are all shrieking from the top of our lungs, “FINALLY!”
The transition from one year to the next seemingly ushers in a revival of the spirit. No matter what kind of year one is leaving behind, the new year tends to bring a sense of fresh opportunities to setting things right. This new year, 2021, hopefully will be no different in bringing a new course of rightness and purpose irrespective of 2020’s decisions, diagnosis’, deaths and drama. It is the hope of every new year, isn’t it?
In my last post, 2021: Words to Live By, I added three more words to my growing list of words to live by in the forthcoming year – mindfulness, creativity, and discernment. Along with those three words, I am going to take a sabbatical from those activities and platforms that push me away from living by my list of words.
The Good Place
One of my favorite Netflix binges this past fall was creator Michael Schur’s, The Good Place with familiar actors Ted Danson, Kristen Bell and new or unfamiliar actors (at least to me). My favorite character is Janet played by D’Arcy Carden. Creative plot with brilliant writing and each actor cast perfectly. It is a story of 4 undeserving humans that find themselves in the good place but are supposed to be in the bad place. The story is part fantasy, drama, and most especially funny, sprinkled with wisdom. The last episode of season 4 caught me totally off-guard. It was difficult for me to keep from sobbing. In my depression and without giving too much away of the ending, like each character, 2020 has me feeling ready too.
My cancer diagnosis, my daily chemotherapy, and simply my nature is causing me to succumb to the side effect of depression. I am a fighter, a survivor, and I tend to lean toward positivity; however, while my remission mission is still underway, I need to protect those personal innate instincts.
365 Fresh Starts
I am not going to think of 2021 as “another” fresh start, but rather 365 fresh starts. Each day begins with new possibilities that often tend to be more wasted time than valuable mindful moments.
Irrespective of electoral outcomes, vaccine development, and pandemic corner turning, there will always be good, bad, and even devastating things happening in the world. My natural born activist’s heart becomes too readily invested in what happens out there and much of it is out of my control. My survival and my sanity’s sake demand I do some retreating not into depression, but from those activities that cause me depression that drag down to the “Bad Place.”
In essence, I am reclaiming valuable time to hopefully doing things that bring me joy. Boundaries and barriers will be constructed to prevent toxic relationships of persons, places, or things.
Social Media, namely Facebook
The last four or so years have been like a pail of ice water to the face.
Family, friends, and colleagues overly exposed themselves on Facebook and so have I. Each morning I would scroll through my Facebook memories from past year posts and the memories would flood with varying emotions of nostalgia, embarrassment, anger, and a bit of humor. I seriously posted way too much on football, my dogs, and outdated opinions. EEK! I am really trying to grow as an ally in love toward diversity and inclusion for all.
2020 with its’ ‘fuckery’ has enlightened me to the best and worst of social media, namely Facebook. I am deactivating my personal Facebook page on December 24, 2020 throughout 2021 no matter what occurs in my life and perhaps permanently.
I know will miss family and friends’ posts from wedding engagements, pregnancy, and baby announcements, to posts about pets crossing the rainbow bridge and heaven receiving its’ newest angels. I will especially my friends who have brought me joy in their humor (Deb E., Kari S. to name a few) and those whose wisdom has helped me to become a better human being.
What I will not miss is the political posts and memes, the name calling, and the ugliness in people I thought knew to be otherwise. It okay to have differing opinions but still share common values, however, it is the common values that has become lost. I have grown these past couple of years, but not far enough past my own ugliness. Perhaps it is just me or perhaps it is as I imagine, all of us.
While I am retreating from my Facebook friends list, I am not retreating from family and friends. I will just connect the old-fashioned way to those whom I know to be true, who share my values, and who I believe are truly trying to grow as I am into better human beings. Yes, even some family will be held at a distance. Boundaries are becoming increasingly important to me in my remission mission in mind, body, and spirit.
Each fresh start
I will begin each fresh start in the good place embracing whatever cancer or the world wait for me. My activist heart will still be employed where it can be of benefit and not just noise. I will further explore my creative self, read all the books I left on the shelf while scrolling social media. Mindful of each moment to find JOY wherever I hear, feel, or see it. God’s peace will let me know when I am ready.
No fear, no tears, God is here!
While side effects are becoming fewer and further apart, depression is by far, including chemo-brain (short memory lapses) the most difficult. My oncology counselor says this is part of the landscape of cancer. But across this landscape I know there is hope because I am a fighter, a survivor, and surely an activist in positivity.
I am confident God is here!
My lab work continues to improve and stabilize, but my oncologist has braced me for the reality that my remission mission may not be reached as soon as I would like it to arrive. I am not to become discouraged; she tells me. So, I endure with patience and confidence surrounded by the love of family and friends I will now stay in contact the old-fashioned way by email, phone, and letter-writing.
One last bit of Owl Wisdom
No one needs to have cancer to make 365 fresh starts a trend. Heck! Start now! Why wait until the ball drops onto 2020?!
See you all in the good place!
The Blogging Owl
This series, Today’s Reality will also offer a spiritual perspective on my website, The Prayer Journals, as well as a literary perspective on my website, The Owl Poet. I hope you will also follow me on those blogs too!
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