Friday, January 20, 2012

34



Well, another birthday has come and gone. You know, when I hit 30 a few years ago, I had a rough time with it initially. 30 seemed so old in my eyes. I guess I felt like I didn't have anymore excuses, I was in "real" adulthood now!

Then cancer happened. And life. And kids. Gradually, I embraced this age thing. Actually, I can now say I welcome it with open arms!

For me now, every birthday is a gift. Every year that passes that I'm still here is a blessing and miracle.

Whenever I see older persons now, I think, "Man, they are sure lucky that they are still alive!" I used to never even consider that I might not be around to see old age, to see my grandkids and great grandkids grow up. I guess you could call me a little ignorant, a little over-confident. Yeah, I thought I was invincible. Well, maybe not completely, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to stare at my mortality in the face everyday. I remember when I was first diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma and I had read the statistics. I thought to myself at the time, "I'll be lucky if I make it to my 34th birthday!"

Well, here I still am. Still alive. Still kicking. And not only that, but healthy and well again. My "new normal", I call it.

I still think about cancer a lot, but I can honestly say, that I don't think about it everyday anymore. Do you know how great that is? Most of my thoughts are centered on things that people my age and in my stage of life are thinking--their families, their kids, their everyday tasks and responsibilities, their hopes and dreams for the future, and all the craziness and caosis of life. It feels SO good to be back in that mode. I pray that it will continue.

Turning 34 this year is a milestone for me. If I had paid much attention to statistics, I might not be here--I was only given a 4% chance of living past 2 years! Thankfully, I don't pay attention to those numbers. I am not a number. I am a human being. And a STRONG human being at that. Actually a better word is POWERFUL. I know that I have been blessed with great strength, courage, determination, happiness, and lots of love in my life.

I am not bitter, resentful or angry that I got cancer. I don't sit around thinking that my life is pathetic and depressing. In fact, it is anything but that. I am grateful for the challenges I have faced. It has given me so much perspective on life. I am grateful that I have been able to help others along the way because that is what I have set out to do from the beginning. This journey wasn't ever about me. I have always known that. I know that God has a greater purpose for me in serving others. And I think a large part of that is helping others become healthier somehow. My whole life, my education, my career in health and fitness all led up to this. Getting cancer only fueled the fire more-- and my passion for influencing others to have good health.

So, what do I have to say about aging now? 34, bring it on! 35, can't wait! 40, oh you know I will make it there. 50, how beautiful! And 70, 80, how truly grand life has been!

4 comments:

The Path Traveled said...

Happy and joyfull Birthday, Christina! It's not just another year, it's a new beginning.

Sherena said...

I see getting older as a blessing. When I was 29 turning 30, I didn't want to celebrate my birthday - thinking I was old now, In December 2011 I was turned 39, and am proud to tell people my age. Live life to the fullest. Everyday we are here is a blessing. I want to be one of those "old" people holding hands with her husband, I want to be a grandparent. It is the simple things in life.

Happy Birthday Christina!!!!

(from another melanoma friend).

Nicholas Thornburg said...

Such an inspirational post. I remember looking at those same statistics when I found out an being devastated. We are more than numbers!

I can't imagine the day where I don't think about melanoma. That will be a beautiful day! I look forward to it!

Happy Birthday!

{amy} said...

What a beautiful perspective! Happy birthday!!