A wise person uttered these words to me this past week..."Give yourself permission to edit your life anytime you so choose". That struck a chord with me and really got me thinking. I think the most common response to "editing your life" is what needs to be taken away, what you need to get rid of. I will admit, my mind instantly went there too. I need less sugar, less chaos, and less tolerating relationships with people that aren't serving me well. The more I thought about it, though, I decided that while there are things I need to part with and change, the bigger question for me is, what needs to be added? It's easy for me to say I need to be done with something because it isn't working for me anymore, but what if I took the approach of it's not working because it's not serving me well, so how could it, or something else, serve me better? What is it that I'm after or yearning for? What relationships, experiences or emotions am I lacking and how can I start adding them to my life? I regularly watch the TV show "Million Little Things" on ABC. It has ignited a wave of emotions for me because one of the main characters has been dealing with her breast cancer recurrence. The range of emotions and experiences she portrays on the show resonates with me even when I wish it wouldn't. On the show, she has just won her second go around with the big "C" and is in (what I observe to be) the extremely vulnerable stage of trying to move forward. I'm still there so I completely get it. Even my nurse navigator told me that I'm currently in this really awkward stage of being done with treatment, but not completely in the post treatment world because I'm still in the middle of my clinical trial. Awkward....like, if that doesn't sum up the last year of my life I don't know what does. Anyway, the character "Maggie" said something so spot on last week. She said "I'm still tying to figure out who I am without cancer". Sigh...same. As far as I know, I am cancer free. I am not in what they consider active treatment and I know there is no way in the world I can just go back to who I once was. Now is my time to put my pieces back together, perhaps differently than before. Now is my time to edit.
So what do I want out of life? Second chances are sacred and I refuse to waste this opportunity that for some reason I was granted. So much has been taken from me that adding, rather than subtracting, seems like the right attitude and path to take. I know I want more love, more laughs, more experiences. My ultimate goal is that the next time I'm on my death bed, I smile and giggle at all of the experiences that fulfilled my soul and spirit. There will be no wishing I had done that or why didn't I pursue this...not this go around. I'm embracing the seasons and giving life to my impulses. I might be chasing my dreams, but it feels more like I'm creating them. I'm not afraid to acknowledge that the things I once wanted to do, embrace and be in my previous life, might not be the right direction for me now. We don't have to keep going with the same story that we starting reciting when we were 20 years old. I've heard from many people in the past year or so say how much I've changed. I take that as a compliment, even though I'm not quite so sure it was meant that way. Change makes some people uncomfortable. I used to be like that. Now I see change as an adventure and it gives way to this potential that I might never have known existed. Furthermore, I think editing life in this way can happen as often or not, as you see fit. Don't like the direction your relationship, job or endeavor is headed...Edit! I read an article yesterday about how to perform at your highest level. The article was geared at running, but it gave some really good life lessons as well. Peak performance, with running or just in life, is about getting the best out of yourself over and over again. It is a continuous practice of showing up for yourself, not just because you are always receiving inspiration, but by acting in anticipation of it. It is a combination of daily commitment, will and focused intention. What if we strive to achieve peak performance in how we pursue life! When life just happens to us, without much editing, commitment and focused intention, are we living the kind of life that is fulfilling? I realize my perspective on this is unique given my life experiences (experiences most people my age can't really relate to, as my therapist has helped me figure out), but I challenge you to go out on a limb and strive for whatever sets your heart and soul on fire! Let your passions guide you and give yourself permission to edit, add, delete, embrace or change anything you feel suits you at any given time. You just might stumble upon the kind of existence that makes you so full of gratitude and joy for another day on this planet. Edit my friend....you are so completely worth it. -M