Before leukemia and a stem-cell transplant, I was fearless in trying new physical activities with the exception of ski diving. Skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting with class V rapids, strenuous hiking…the more challenging the better. That was my motto before leukemia and stem cell transplant. Now I find myself more fearful and cautious about trying the physical activities I used to love so much. But an inverse emotional position also has taken place. While I may be more tenative physically post-transplant, I am much more secure with who I am as a person and feel 100% comfortable with myself. Liken it to looking in the mirror and seeing yourself for the very first time. I liked myself before leukemia and stem-cell transplant, but I believe I’ve become a better version of the old self…more transparent, more generous with my time, kinder to myself, and a little less serious. If you were to ask me if I prefer my current self or the former self, my answer still is, “I don’t know”…ask me in 2 years.
There are a few things I’ve learned and relearned through this blood cancer ordeal that I’d like to share with you…
–It’s okay to be self-centered…it is not the same thing as being selfish. For me, being self-centered is knowing who you are and what you need to thrive…this is called self-care. It is my nature to care about my fellow human beings…I am a nurse after all, but learning to care for oneself is new for me. I can’t believe it had to take leukemia and stem cell transplant to learn this! Couldn’t there have been an easier way???
–Stop trying to please everyone, this is impossible, but pleasing yourself is not. Be happy with yourself and everything else in your life will fall into place.
–Live your life the way YOU envision, not some else’s vision.
–Always be nice, kind and compassionate.
–Follow your instincts…I read your instincts are called Godwinks, aka coincidences, telling you are on the right path for YOU.
–There is no honor in making yourself small or diminished unless you’re joking. But conversely, don’t exaggerate your gifts or skills…others will find out eventually.
–Have open and honest communication and dialog. I feel this is probably one of the hardest things for all of us to realize or do, but the outcome is a much better understanding of each other and what is important for those involved.
–You are responsible for making your own dreams come true. There will be people along the way who help you realize those dreams and goals, but you are the primary force.
–If others are consistently negative or controlling about how you wish to live your life, then maybe it’s time to let them go. You only have a finite amount of time on this planet unless you’re like me and get a second go at this thing called YOUR LIFE.
–For your own happiness, it is best to be yourself.
–What you want for your life is different than what others may want for you. Everyone’s path is different. It’s not okay to be self-less…meaning you lose your sense of self for the sake of another. So be self-centered and follow your own unique path.
–You may also discover that you’ve outgrown things, ideas, beliefs, and people…let them go.
–Volunteer and give back to society. It could be global or national charitable organizations, your local community or government. There are thousands of organizations & groups who need volunteers…ask around, search on the internet but just do it. The benefits are two-fold, to the organization and you.