I need to write this as a reminder to myself. Sort of a written promise not to compromise… not to give up and not to lose track of what’s important. I have lost track of what’s important, and THAT bothers me.
I feel like in the recent months I’ve been living my life with my head down. I’m only looking at my feet… watching them slowly shuffle down the sidewalk. I haven’t bothered to look up to see where I’m going. You know what’s really shitty about that? I’m not that kind of person. I’ve been a person that has a task, but looks way down the road… even standing on my tippy toes and using my hand as a sun visor so I can see further, just to make sure when I finish my task it will be beneficial to the big picture. I like to plan as far ahead as possible and ensure each step takes me in the right direction.
Its like when you’re driving down the freeway and see rain in the distance. You’re driving in perfectly sunny weather but you can see that a storm is a few miles off. You think to yourself, “am I going to be driving that far? Yes I am. I’ll be on this freeway for another 30 minutes and surely I’ll be in that weather.” You look at your back windows, make sure they’re rolled up, try to remember if you have a coat and umbrella in that trunk. Check the sunroof. Glance at your wipers. Everything seems in order here.
Stop and think about that. I’ll wait.
Are you still driving? Yes. Did it take any more effort to plan ahead? No. You’re still driving just as you would have done even if you didn’t look ahead. But now you’re that much more ready for the storm. Your task at hand is the same but you’ve made minor changes to ensure success in the future. But you have to know where you’re going to make those decisions.
Walking through life with our heads pointed at our toes is easy, and if you think about it, so is looking forward. But you need to look forward.
But knowing what direction you’re moving is different than knowing where your destination is. You can’t get to the moon by aiming “up”. And shooting for the sky will only disappoint you when you realize the “sky” is just a direction. You need a goal. It has to be ingrained in your head like GPS coordinates.
So lets bring this topic full circle and back to why I brought it up. I think I might have mentioned once or twice that… well, cancer sucks. And I mean that literally and figuratively.
Cancer sucks the life out of you. Happiness, energy, motivation, that feel-good feeling. All of them whither away. I stopped looking at my life on a macroscopic level and started looking at my days in microscopic form. How do I feel this hour? How am I feeling now? Am I happy? Do I need to throw up? How am I feeling now? I was like the fucking Verizon guy but instead of “can you hear me?” it was “how am I feeling?”.
The big picture blurred away and blended in with the horizon. In my mind it didn’t exist anymore. I only cared about the “now”.
Until… now (you gotta admit that’s pretty funny… irony at its best)
I can’t tell you why or how, but over the last few days I’ve started to look up again. I don’t know if its because I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with my treatment, getting out of the house more, the fact I’m starting to feel better in general, or something else I’m completely aloof to… but something has changed.
That’s why I’ve changed my mind. The statement “cancer sucks” isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to those who don’t let it win. Let’s refrain from defining what cancer does and say, “cancer can suck… but only if you let it”.
Yes there are days it will suck the energy out of you, it will suck the motivation out of you, and it will suck the happiness out of you. Cancer will even literally suck the life out of some people. People will lose the battle. But lets honor them by not looking at our toes but by looking forward to where we are headed.
So today, cancer sucks. But way out there, on the very edge of what I can see in my future, it does not suck. And that’s where I’m headed. So I need to make changes to my today so that tomorrow I’m closer to where I want to be, and not somewhere I hate.
Making that decision isn’t easy. Shallow words and empty promises have no roots. They won’t weather a storm, they won’t last and they’re a waste of your time. You have to really want it. You have to NEED it.
Have you ever been pulled under by a wave; twisted, turned and pushed into the dark of the ocean? I have… many, many times (I think it comes from being born and raised in California). Once the wave has passed there is a quick moment of silence… followed by panic. At this exact moment your mind locks on to a single goal… “air”. Nothing will stop you. Your goal has become the single most important goal ever defined in your life. The salt water you were so worried about getting in your eyes is now nothing. Your eyes are wide open, pupils dilated and searching for a small glimmer of light. The seaweed you avoided touching earlier is no longer a threat; you press your foot through it to find the solid ocean floor and press yourself up to the surface. Kicking your feet with every ounce of energy, your muscles burning from the lack of oxygen you struggle to the surface.
In the end, when we reach our goal… that first breath… it is the single most refreshing breath we’ve ever tasted. Every goal in our life needs to share that same dedication.
Whether it be happiness, success, health, fame, fortune or whatever else you’ve set your sights on… want it like you want to breathe. It cannot be an option.
Right now my goal is to be happy and healthy. I want to smile more often. I want to be outside and smell the fresh air. I want to eat right and live right and do whatever it takes so that 10, 20, 40 years from now I’m still happy and healthy. I want to be successful in my career, which means I need to get back to work (which will only happen when I’m healthy again). Every accomplished goal is a building block for the next goal.
So right now… uncross your feet and take your hand off your chin and think about your goals. Sift out the unimportant, egotistical nonsense and focus on the goals that matter. Take a deep breath and prepare for the next wave. I can’t tell you when its coming, but your goal isn’t an option.