The Power of Pivot

I remember when I was young and indestructible. There were only a few things to worry about like grades, the next great date, and of course getting that driver’s license. After a time, I went on to college and graduate school. At some point, I began to consider the advantages of something called a career.

Sure, enough things worked out and no matter how I looked at life, “IT” was all under control. I remember an older guy, who was just 5 years from retirement saying to me, "It’s nice to be your age, no real body aches, and very few real issues." I really did not know how to respond other than nod my head and agree.

The reality of constant change

As life evolved, strange things began to happen. There was a realization that no matter how strong or resilient I was, many things were not under my control. I came to discover the reality of constant change. Now there were many choices. I could do something, ignore it, or hope it would go away. There was always the easy route – make a few minor adjustments and ignore a new or emerging reality.

COVID came along and with it the turmoil that comes whenever we face unknown threats. Most folks tell me they feel as if the world is now insane. Who knows it may be true? I can fight it or accept it. Now add in a dose of blood cancer and don’t we all find ourselves looking over our shoulders and second-guessing almost every aspect of our lives.

As blood cancer survivors we often find ourselves looking back for ways to correct our past misdeeds and faults. Sadly, none of us are perfect and on top of that, we live in a rapidly evolving imperfect world. Yikes!

Letting go of fear

Life after cancer begins, with a recognition of self and the realization that you can choose to look at your new world differently and choose to take small steps in a new direction. I know for example I am still the same person I was at 30 and yet the 77-year-old man in the mirror looking back looks quite different.

I am not perfect but then again who is? Today if things are not great due to cancer, it is not better to learn how to pivot and accept the change? Equally, when things are going well, I do not question where am. Good days say to me I am on the right path and it's ok.

Life will beat you down if you only focus on the past and the negativity in our lives. Cancer changed my direction. I have chosen not to live in fear of the future. Cancer will most likely cause many setbacks. My plan for now is to pivot at each juncture and hopefully make the needed changes that will allow me to exit this world as gracefully as possible.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well: “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

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