The other morning as I was driving from one errand to the next, I unexpectantly found myself in tears. I quickly scanned my body, physically and emotionally, wondering where this sudden burst of emotion came from. I reflected on what I was thinking about right before the waterworks and suddenly it all made sense.
You see, that day marked eleven years since I sat in that cold and sterile doctors office with my mom and dad and heard those words that I naively thought I'd never hear.
The tears that streamed down my cheeks weren't actually because I was sad, quite the contrary. Those were tears of joy and gratitude because I have had the opportunity to live. To be honest, I'm not sure I've ever truly experienced these kind of tears before. My whole body reverberated with joy and happiness as I felt the heat and warmth of those tears slide down my cheeks.
As I drove down Encinitas Boulevard, fully sobbing, I gave into this uncontrollable experience.
ELEVEN F-ING YEARS.
How did I get so lucky?
I shared a picture on my Instagram talking about how every day is an opportunity to wake up and remind yourself that you are, indeed, so very lucky because the truth is, we are all on borrowed time. My health and wellness, they mean everything to me and at any moment, during any doctors appointment, they can be taken away from me.
Today I treat my body like the temple it is so hopefully I never have to deal with cancer again. Each day is a new beginning, an opportunity to use those struggles to grow into the person I am and to help others. I GET to live life to the fullest. To make smart and healthy food choices to nourish a body that works very hard to support me in life. I workout and eat clean foods not for vanity reasons but because like all of you, I deserve to live a long, healthy and happy life. Or do my best trying.
I know it can sound cliche and it's thrown around a lot but ask someone who has almost had it all taken away from them or ask a person who is dying a slow death and I guarantee that each one will say the same thing, life IS a gift. ALL OF IT, every single moment, even the shit that happens in between the amazing and sweet moments.
There are two truths I know for certain; no one gets out alive and many are taken WAY too soon. When you put it that way, how are we all not waking up every single day, jumping out of bed and shouting "fuck yeah! I GET to do this again!"
I think the biggest lessons I've learned through cancer is that we are on borrowed time and no matter what is going on in my life, I have to find some kind of peace and happiness moment to moment. This isn't to say I am always able to live this way. I have to remind myself often by saying, "Smile and live Amanda. Stop taking this all so bloody seriously!" I usually have to say this to myself daily.
We all could probably stand to give credit where credit is due for where you are right now. Even the mundane and ordinary are pretty special moments when you compare it to the alternative. Even when things feel heavy and big and you wonder how you will make it through this next moment, think about it from the perspective of the dying. I'm sure they'd give anything to be in your shoes.
Slow down, lean into what you are experiencing and let the flow of life happen because you get a new day to fucking do this again. You get a new day, another opportunity, a second chance. Stop trying to force or control things. Let life happen and oh yeah, bloody smile already!
This is all leading you somewhere. I promise.
If one day I am told I have cancer again and that I only have a short amount of time to live, I truly hope that I can look back on the life I lived and say, "Well, this isn't the news I was hoping for but at least I F-ING LIVED."
I lived every day awake and conscious of where I currently am and where I want to go.
I lived every single day telling those I love just how much.
I lived every day not holding back.
I lived every day giving thanks for everything and I mean everything. Even the shit.
I lived every day making choices that were aligned with my values and what is in my heart and not because I felt like I had to in order to please others or it was the acceptable thing to do.
I lived every day with the hope that I could make one person smile.
I lived every day letting go of the petty bullshit, letting others off the hook, giving second chances, and letting go of grudges.
I lived every day loving so big that I felt unstoppable. That I felt as if my heart just may explode with love.
I lived every day remembering that I am on borrowed time.
I lived every day dancing my ass of in my living room not caring who sees or that I have two left feet.
I lived every day not giving a flying fuck what others thought of me because I followed what was in my heart and that my friends, that's where the GOOD stuff lives.
I lived every day as an example that no matter what happens, you can still find a reason to smile and laugh.
I lived every day giving thanks for the little things just as much as the big.
And, I lived every day with one intention, to live my truth and to live with integrity.
And sure, maybe I'll look back and see that I never climb that huge mountain or I never hiked the Pacific Crest Trail or jumped out of an airplane. Maybe I'll never write that New York Bestseller or visit all the countries I hoped to but despite it all, I will look back and be able to say with certainty and the greatest of conviction that I did, in fact, LIVE.
So I ask you this, right now, how are you going to live?