“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/lifelist. Go 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.