2017 was a hell of a year. A year of starting again in so many ways. And a year of adventure. At this time last year my scar from my surgery was still open in 3 places (still with 5 months of healing ahead) and the crushing heat in a stifling summer was killing me, as were the incessant hot flushes of menopause. I was learning how to manoeuvre in my old world in the new and strangely empty body I had brought back from hospital.
We decided early on that we would make sure we did things in 2017. Not necessarily wildly ambitious things, but things that had been put off because we hadn’t prioritised them – holidays, family time, enjoyment. Like most families, we have a lot of juggling to do and so much got pushed to the side. We wanted to change that as a family, and individually.
So in 2017 we evened it up. Naomi took the little dude on a snowboarding trip to Japan in January which the little man still talks about! I was lucky enough to see Adele in concert in Sydney in March (thanks babe for the tickets!) and we saw Aladdin while we were down there!
We managed three camping trips thanks to the amazing efforts of my wonderful girlfriend who sets up and packs up on her own when I can’t help. We took a short family trip to New Zealand to visit friends and I learnt just how many questions a 5 year old can ask when I took him to Adelaide to see Matilda!
We took a wander through Somersby Falls, headed to Bathurst and Coffs Harbour to see family and attend weddings and I eventually returned to work. And of course, there was my adventure to the US and Canada.
It already feels like a lifetime ago even though it’s only been two months since my friend Jen and I got home. We road tripped between LA and San Francisco, skipped over to Canada to visit Niagara Falls and then spent 9 awesome days in NYC!
Never far from my mind though, was cancer. As the year wore on I thought about it less and less but so many times it was impossible to escape it. Sometimes because of the limitations it had imposed on me and the way it changed my life, and other times because of the reality that there were amazing things I did that I wouldn’t have done had I not been kicked in the arse by cancer.
Would I have decided to blow most of my savings on a solo trip to the US? Definitely not! Would I have been so gung-ho about the treewalk in the Redwood Forest in NZ? Probably not. Would I have been overjoyed and sometimes overwhelmed to be exhausted by walking up an extinct volcano, swimming in the ocean, riding my electric bike or crossing the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges on foot. Probably not.
Don’t get me wrong, walking the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge would be awesome no matter when you did it. But the fact that there was a chance I wouldn’t be here to do it makes it a whole lot sweeter.
So, what is ahead for 2018? For now there is no cancer and unlike last year, I’m not recovering. I’ve never been one for the ‘new year, new you’ trend but this year it’s kind of true. It’s a clean slate to colour how I choose. And it’s daunting.
For me at least, it’s true what they say – cancer changed my perspective on life. I think differently, my goals have shifted, my attitudes have changed (sadly not always for the better). Cancer might be the catalyst for change but certainly not the vehicle for it. It’s hard to make the big, meaningful changes you want to make in life with the commitments and responsibilities of the life you lived when you thought you’d have ‘forever’. Especially without sending your family bankrupt!
I have never started a new year feeling so uncertain about what the 12 months ahead would hold. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to really re-evaluate my direction and worry about what I want vs what is possible vs what I am capable of. It’s exciting and petrifying.
The best plan I’ve got for now is –
Live more, stress less.
Write more, procrastinate less.
Do things for me.
Have as much fun as possible with my little family.
Seems like a good start!