Friday, June 3, 2016

The case for living life NOW

Sheri is the woman sitting to the right of me (I'm wearing the pink T and white skirt). This photo was taken three years ago when I had flown out to Long Beach to attend my best friend Julie's dad's funeral. It was a weekend filled with all kinds of emotions: mourning, sadness and love. My hair was still short-- just growing back from my own cancer battle (multiple myeloma) and the two stem cell transplants (and massive chemo that went along with it). One evening, we moms took our kids to Knott's Berry Farm and while they were on the rides, we hung out. Sheri died yesterday from ovarian cancer.

This is Sheri about six months ago when we thought she would beat her cancer.

Profanity alert: FUCK YOU CANCER. You are evil and hateful and some day, we will BEAT YOUR FUCKING ASS INTO SUBMISSION.

My best friend Julie's sister-in-law, Sheri, died yesterday from ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed 15 months ago and fought a very hard battle. She did chemo, had surgery, got sepsis, almost died on the operating table. And each time, she fought back. It was a miracle. Perhaps she'd beat it. And then she didn't.

Truth: "Life is normal, until it's not." My life, too, was "normal" and then it wasn't. And since that day where my life took that dramatic, scary, awful turn, I never looked back. I ran to safety (my parents' home) and fought cancer and fought to build a new and better life. And each day, I swear to you, I do my best to LIVE. I treat people the best way I can. I really put myself out there to help others, even when it's not comfortable or convenient. I cut out people who are toxic. And I run towards... love, fun, peace, and meaning.

I am flying to Long Beach next week to hang with people who are more than "friends." They, too, are my beloved family. I want to be with them and mourn with them. I cannot be here living life like it's normal when it isn't. Not right now.

One thing I've learned is that life does carry on. Even in the darkest depths of grief and sorrow, life continues. People go out to eat, laugh, go to work, watch TV, pick up the kids... Everywhere around me, life is moving forward. Nothing stops when our world stops or ends. And sooner or later, we crawl out of our dark place and join the living because what is the option?

And that's where I travel, write, be with friends, and nap. The glorious, luxurious nap. I've started building time in for a nap nearly every day. I love "my time" in the afternoon, channel surfing until I fall asleep with the soft noise in the background. I read, I learn, I try to improve myself. I walk outdoors, sometimes alone, sometimes with my husband or a friend. I laugh and shop. Today, I am waiting for my friend Madi who will be here in a few minutes and we are walking along the beautiful trail behind our homes that follows the Jordan River. We reconnect, we embrace life until the moment we can't. And when that happens, all we have are the memories we created and the relationships we've made. The impressions we've made with others, and how we've made the world or someone's life a little better.

And that is the meaning of (my) life.

My latest via Divorced Moms is here. And now, my advice to you: TODAY do something you LOVE and something that MATTERS to you in a BIG way.

Peace and Love,


Find Joy & Happiness NOW. Life is Too Precious & Short to Wait
BY LIZZY SMITH for Divorced Moms                   
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June 02, 2016
635386079985881695Fotolia_64328844_XS.jpgI say this all the time because it is true: "We carry on with our lives until one day, one second, everything changes." Just.Like.That. One second and life will never be the same again. It can come with warning (“I’m unhappy, I want a divorce, and I’m moving out.”) or without (“You have cancer.”). It can be an unexpected death, the discovery of an affair, a devastating diagnosis, making the decision to cheat on your husband, or getting in an accident.

Today, I got the very sad news that my friend Sheri died. She was just 50 years old. Some 15 months ago, Sheri was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. She had surgery, radiation and chemo. For a time, we thought she would beat it. And then she took a turn for the worse about a month ago. This time, hope was fading until there was none left.

Life for me, too, was chugging along at an expected pace. I was working, married with kids, and had all the entrapments consistent with that life—a mortgage, a long commute, 15 days of vacation... And then, “You have cancer.” Just like that, nothing was ever the same again.

So today, while I mourn the passing of my friend, and while I know I’ll be shedding loads of tears, I turn to the biggest advice I can give anyone: LIVE. Life is so short and precious. If you are in a bad marriage, leave it. If your boyfriend is an asshole, ditch him. If you have friendships that aren’t healthy, end them. If you hate your job, your city, your house, or your life, start changing it. It can be incredibly hard and overwhelming. Where to begin? Baby steps, one day at a time. Try this:
  1. Write out what changes you want to make in your life
  2. Prioritize which changes are most important to you. Pick the ones that will make the biggest impact (i.e. divorce, sell the house, stop eating sugar). In fact, you might just want to pick one.
  3. Make sure the changes you write out are specific (sell the house) and actionable. Goals that are too broad usually never happen. For example, if your goal is to “get healthier,” be more specific. Fill in this blank, “I want to get healthier by_______________.” It could be eating five servings or fresh organic fruits and veggies each day, eating out at restaurants less than once per week, exercising a minimum of 30-minutes per day six days per week, and getting at least eight hours of sleep per night. Now that is something you can write out on a checklist, post on your bathroom mirror, and do! (If you’re committed enough.)
  4. Make out a detailed list on how to accomplish your goals and start (literally) checking them off.
Since this is for divorced women (or those considering a divorce), I’ll pick “Ditch My Guy” as an example. This could be your husband or boyfriend. Here are some things that should make your list:

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