Birthday wishes and life lessons

Today is my birthday. The start of a new year. An opportunity to refocus on life’s wishes and dreams. A day to enjoy my life. A thousand moments to feel gratitude. A time to reflect on life lessons learned and birthday wishes. As a three-time cancer survivor, birthdays are not something I take for granted.

Grateful for every day.

It’s been a whirlwind birthday week. I spent the earlier part of the week in Washington, DC for the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit & Lobby Day. I engaged with hundreds of other leader volunteers from across the country to learn how to be better cancer advocates. I met with our federal legislators to get their support for cancer fighting issues (click here to read my last blog about those issues).

Today, though, I’m taking some time to reflect and relax. I’m pausing in the whirlwind of life to absorb the gratitude, beauty of life and joy surrounding me as I celebrate another year on this planet. There is a lot to be thankful for and celebrate – I am a three-time cancer survivor. I’m healthy, strong, alive.

I’ve learned some life lessons and reflections over the years, especially the past year, and maybe even the past nine months as I faced my third cancer diagnosis and treatment. It’s been surreal as it’s be reality. Here are a few of those life lessons:

  • throwing your arms open to life can bring awesome adventures, laughs, new people, unexpected love and new possibilities.
  • if someone really wants to be with you, they’ll have courage to share those feelings and make it happen. Friends will make time for you too. Find your people.
  • sometimes the greatest decisions you make come from acts that took the greatest courage, determination, and faith.
  • to trust myself, acknowledge my self worth, and appreciate this awesome body’s strength and resilience.
  • I don’t want to look back and think I wish I would have said or done this.
  • to step out of my comfort zone to share my feelings, try new activities
  • although you may not like someone else’s decision, you must allow them to live their life, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
  • society will always tell you what you should be doing, whether relationships, cancer treatment, job, whatever. Don’t let that judgment stop you from finding happiness, adventures, and most importantly, love.
  • sometimes the darkest moments of life can bring opportunities and unexpected happiness.
  • focusing on being kind to and helping others brings great joy and satisfaction to your own life
  • if I can survive three cancers by 44, how I let something like dating, new activities, a new career or really anything throw me off balance or make me nervous?

I have a lot of wishes for this next year of life. And while I’ll keep the details with the universe, I’ll share that mostly I wish for an abundance of love, great health and joy….for myself and all of you. Thank you for all of your support and kindness through my life’s adventures. I am grateful for you.

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