Celebrating Life’s Victories


American Cancer Society's 100th Birthday

The surprise is half the battle.  Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle.  Let’s think about what’s the whole battle.” -David Mamet

Lately I have been doing a lot of introspective type thinking, both about past achievements and about where I want to go from here.  Then last week a friend asked what I have learned so far about being 40.  In years past I would have been consumed with wanting more – more money, more things, more time, more accolades.  At 40 I understand that I am exactly where I should be at this moment.  After all, who knows what lies ahead?  There are so many aspects of life that are out of our control.  Life can change in an instant, so why not enjoy each moment while we can?

With age we not only find wisdom, but we also find strength in our accomplishments and the opportunity to let go of that which no longer serves us.  Our life lists may change.  It is not a matter of giving in or giving up.  It is about knowing how to enjoy the journey.

Turning 40 has given me the opportunity to look again at both my accomplishments to date and aspirations moving forward.  Sometimes we are so focused on wanting more that we forget to celebrate what we have and what we have accomplished. We should celebrate our family, our health, our contributions at work, the homes we have created and the milestones we have reached.

Last week I wrote about finding out that an acquaintance lost his battle with cancer.  Upon hearing the news my six year old asked, “Mom, does cancer always win the battle?”  To answer his question I explained that it depends on which type of cancer a person has and how early the doctors find it.  Though I do not want him to live in fear, I am not a believer in sugar-coating or avoiding difficult topics with my kids.

After answering his question I quietly thought about everyone I knew who passed from cancer, and the few people I know who are battling it now.   Though I know that cancer does not always win the battle, I sure as hell hope that in the near future we can also say that it no longer wins the war.

Yet there was a time when cancer always won the battle – a time when we lost almost every patient. The progress made in the past 100 years is remarkable and many cancer patients go on to celebrate more birthdays and cross more items off of their life lists.

On May 22, 2013, the American Cancer Society is celebrating its 100th birthday.  As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society’s own 100th birthday is a time to amplify our efforts and lead the loudest, fiercest, most unified assault on cancer they have ever made.  Let’s join them, not only as they celebrate their achievements to date but as they move forward in making sure that cancer does not always win the war.  You can celebrate your own accomplishments and create a life list on the  American Cancer Society at http://cancer.org/lifelistGo ahead and add your accomplishments and aspirations as well as your hope for the future of cancer.

Then celebrate life’s victories, both the battles and the war.

Create a life list



  1. Beautifully written, Jessica. I love this initiative by the ACS.. Creating a life list is such a great way to celebrate the life we are given to live at this moment. We never know what is ahead and yes – living in fear is not an option :)

  2. I am so very sorry to hear about your acquaintance and NO cancer does NOT have to win, every time, DAMMIT!!! Thanks for posting this and I am very honored to be on your team :)

  3. Ugh. Cancer has won too many times in my experience too. I feel your son’s pain. Thanks for bringing attention to this campaign.

  4. Jess I am so sorry about your friend. Tell your son I have 2 friends who won the war. Thanks for sharing such a personal post.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I think we all know someone who has had cancer, have to keep fighting!!

  6. so sorry for your loss.
    I have been talking to W about cancer a lot these days and in my opinion cancer never wins because we are continuously fighting it – even after our loved ones have moved on. xo

  7. Great post Jessica! I hope when I turn 40 I look at it with such grace. This is a wonderful cause you’re involved in – cancer does NOT have to win!

  8. It’s so hard to lose perspective and not be thankful for what we DO have every day. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Cancer sucks and I am so sorry for you loss. what a beautiful post!

  10. Well written! At 33, I survived a serious stroke, so I always take life as NOT a given. Cancer claimed my favorite aunt, after she battled it for decades (go, Aunt Ro!), and cancer claimed my elderly mother, but Alzheimers had taken her long before that. I look back and am thankful every day for another chance to love, and share, and help, and be with my family…life is too short!

  11. It is such a difficult conversation to have with a little one, but can be such a defining one in many ways. Thanks for putting this campaign out there. It sure an important one….

  12. Jessica — This is an amazing post. You are a gifted writer and this just spoke to me in so many ways. I love that you are celebrating life’s victories. They are well worth the celebration.

  13. This is a great idea. I turned 40 in November and I don’t think I have the perspective I should have at this stage in my life. Great thoughts!

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