I was working six days a week at a candy store because it was the Christmas season. I was pushing the waves of loneliness that strike me this time of year aside because I worked… a lot. I was setting aside my true, yet kind of awful, feelings of jealousy and envy of what seemed to be everyone else who had a family and was living out their family traditions. I was preparing to have surgery, for my doctor to remove one of my ovaries, to hopefully get a solid answer as to what was happening to me, and to find out if I had cancer. You know, all the typical yuletide stuff.
Here I sit, a year later. Work is taking a very different form than years before as I am no longer at the candy store. I’m figuring out what I want to do when I grow up. I’m following the things that get me excited and bring joy to my life. This isn’t necessarily an easy time, but it is a good time. The waves of loneliness still come and go, but they seem to be a bit different this year and, frankly, I’m not letting them get the best of me. Because loneliness doesn’t deserve my best.
Surgery happened right after the first of the year and it was more tortuous to be at home resting for two weeks than anything else. My people rallied around me and cared for me in ways that I can’t count. We finally got some solid answers to what was happening with my body. There was and is no cancer. But there were signs of the possibility of cancer in the future, and I am not going out like that. I was in treatment for nine months with a successful outcome.
I dove into the world of dating with a vengeance. And, well, I sit here still single. Had some mild heart breaks but learned a lot about myself and just how resilient I am. My ideals about dating were also reinforced. I hate it. It’s one of the those catch-22’s and, well, I’m still doing it. Maybe one day I’ll have a great date.
Along with turning 40 a year and a half ago came an “I don’t care” attitude about most things that are somewhat inconsequential to the outcome of my life and the world. And let me tell you, this has been one of the most freeing things, pretty much, in my entire life. And the more things that go into that category, the better off I am. In releasing things that will have absolutely no bearing on the final outcome of my life, my anxiety has decreased tremendously, my appreciation for the things and people that will have a significant place in my life has increased and will continue to increase, and I’m really starting to discover joy again.
Several months back a friend called me out on my talk about making better choices in my life and making positive changes. “Why not do it now?,” he asked.
And I had no response. Because there was not any response that could in any shape or form answer that question to my satisfaction. Sure, I’m great at excuses. I’ve been doing that for decades. But in really getting to the heart of it, I was afraid of making changes in my life for no good reason. It was fake. The only thing that was stopping me was myself. So I stopped making excuses to myself. I stopped justifying all the things I thought were great reasons, because they were all lies. Then one day, I put on my shoes and began walking. And then a couple of days later I picked up the pace and began running. Then about two months later I found myself at a starting line for my first 5K. And now I find myself having said yes to training for a triathlon. And frequently asking myself, “Who am I?”
I bought pants a smaller size not too long ago, and now those are getting to big. I can’t really afford a new wardrobe, but what I really can’t afford is making excuses and lying to myself. All of those lies have been deemed inconsequential to my life and therefore they need to go. As the things that had occupied my life a year ago are being dismissed and kicked to the curb, really great things are filling their place. Peace, patience, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and maybe one day love will be added to that list.