Happy NOW Year

I wish I could take credit for my catchy title, but truthfully, I stole – er, I mean, borrowed it from a Facebook post.  It instantly struck a chord with me.  Living in the now is something I strive to do, but find  difficult for various reasons.  I struggle with focusing too much on the past or looking too far in the future in terms of my health (being that I’m a cancer survivor and someone also living with active Lupus).  I recall attending a support group at Gilda’s Club when I was going through chemo and the topic came up about  ways to cope with fears and anxiety.  The group leader talked about how important it is to focus on the present as a way to diffuse panic and worry associated with cancer or any other of life’s challenges.  She had us do an exercise where we closed our eyes and focused in on our environment.  We had to describe the temperature of the room, the texture of our chairs, etc.  It helped to ground us and get our minds off of scary things in the past and possible scarier things in the future. We just had to focus on right then, nothing else. When I returned to work after a 6 month absence, I immediately taped up a handwritten note that reads “Be Here Now” next to my computer.  It’s still there two and a half years later.

One of my goals for 2015 is to make the most out of the “now.”  I want to do as much as I can with the second chance I’ve been given and not get stuck in the past or ruin the present with future fears.  But I don’t want to get complacent either and forget my experience with having cancer, because I need to do all that I can every day to reduce my risk of recurrence.  I also have to work hard to live as healthy and happily as I can with Lupus, which is also a daily struggle.  It’s scary to know that I have something that other people have died from (Lupus), but empowering to know that I also survived something that other people have not (breast cancer).  So, I will continue to work on finding a balance between remembering the past, but not getting stuck in it, looking forward to the future without fearing it, and making the most of the present.  Happy NOW year, everyone!

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