Last year, when I turned 24, I made myself a promise: Say ‘Yes.’ to everything. To dates and parties and concerts and camping and festivals and museum exhibitions and spontaneous airline tickets and haphazardly planned weekends away. To long lunches and late nights and early mornings and the blurry, unintelligible hours in between. To new friends and old friends and boyfriends becoming just-friends and just-friends becoming…um, nope, not boyfriends, actually… ;-)
I didn’t realize how alive I could be.
[additionally, I didn’t know how tired I would be.]
And it wasn’t all grand adventures — it was as much internal as external. Saying yes to being needed; being available emotionally and physically when emotionally and physically needed (or wanted). Also, saying yes to feeling and needing and — often the harder bit for me — expressing what I’m feeling and needing (or wanting).
I didn’t realize how much I could feel. How much I could love or how deep I could hurt; how very hard I could laugh or how my whole body could hum with emotion.
[again, I didn’t know how tired I would be.]
I know I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been documenting or photographing or making lists or perfecting new recipes but I promise, I have absolutely been living.
While I've greatly (and liberally) enjoyed the ability to make ill-timed and largely inappropriate cancer jokes over the past 6 years, I am proud to say I am officially in remission! To those of you who laughed, cried and, on more than one occasion, laughed in the middle of crying with me through it all, being able to spend more time with you is the greatest gift my health will ever afford. Humbled, happy and shedding big, fat, embarrassing tears in front of various co-workers I really don't know all that well, thank you — from the deepest depths of this cancer-free body.
I was 18 when I was diagnosed with cancer. This year I learned I was officially clear. Remission. I cried at my desk. I jumped for joy. I called my mom and heard her smile through the phone. I rejoined the living. The world works in mysteriously intentional ways; I can’t help but think there’s a reason it didn’t happen until this year.
I haven’t really had time to process what my ‘Year of Yes’ has meant. More honestly, I haven’t taken much time to process, but there is one thought I’ve had regularly since last September: It all adds up to something. We are always in the process of becoming. The shitty low-paying jobs. The year spent with three jobs (all low-paying…). The four years with him. Dropping out of grad school. Accepting that job, you know — the one I really wanted. Leaving him. Choosing me. It’s all something. It all becomes you/us/me; even when it’s just the teensiest, tiniest, littlest part of you/us/me.
Thank you for all your birthday wishes. Thank you for still stopping by on the irregular occasion that I post. For my 25th birthday, I wish us all a grand adventure and another year of ‘Yes.’
[additionally, a few nights of sound sleep.]