Best Present Ever

This post is a little late in coming, but I celebrated another birthday this month. So, that’s now two birthdays that I have celebrated since my stage IV melanoma diagnosis last year. I wasn’t sure if I would make it to last year’s birthday, let alone this year’s, but it looks like the treatment is working and that I can look forward to many birthdays to come.

When it came time to blow out the candles on my cake, I wasn’t sure what to wish for. It seemed greedy to ask for anything more than good health and a future, so I thought about resolutions.

My actual birthday cake was much smaller than the one pictured here. It was just big enough for Lynn and me to each have two small slices. I was thinking back to last year when I was getting an infusion at Dana Farber in Boston. It was the day before my birthday and the nurses surprised me with a birthday cake. This was before I had diabetes. I’m not sure that they would have sent me home with birthday cake and sparkling apple cider if I had had diabetes back then. Still, I was extremely touched by their thoughtfulness. That might have been the best tasting birthday cake ever, although I’m sure that the circumstances contributed to my appreciation.

This year’s cake was very good, rich and chocolaty and certainly worth the temporary spike in my glucose levels. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any bigger. I’m learning that just enough is often the perfect amount. You think you want more, but you don’t really. It’s just a habit to want more when, if you stop and reflect, you have all you need. I’m beginning to sound a bit like Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz, but it’s true. I hesitate to say that I’m satisfied, because that implies that I don’t want to grow or change things in my life, but I am content, if that distinction makes any sense.

Each birthday marks the beginning of a new year, even if the calendar only changes by one day. Instead of making birthday wishes this year, I made birthday resolutions. One small one that I made was to wake up and get out of bed on time. Woody Allen once said “90% of success is just showing up.” I would go that further and state that 99% of success (however you define it) is getting out of bed. Unless you’re Marcel Proust, you’re not going to accomplish much until you get out of bed. Sleep is another one of those things where just enough is enough. You may think you want more, but you don’t really. Good-bye snooze alarm, hello morning! Total disclosure, I still use the snooze alarm because I don’t trust that I won’t fall back to sleep, but my goal each morning is to get out of bed before the second alarm sounds.

There are other things I resolved, but I figured I needed to set the groundwork first. Starting the day at a regular time and not feeling rushed in the morning is part of that groundwork. I read a book where the author advocates getting up at 5 a.m. every day. I’m not yet ready to get up that early, but I can see his point. He advises that if you can think of things you want to do with that extra time in the morning, those things will motivate you to get up and hit the floor running. My plan is to slowly move my wake-up time earlier and earlier, so I will have time for some of those things. For me, that would be exercise, meditation, writing. And that’s what I’m laying the groundwork for now. Baby steps.

I’ve also been working on procrastination, but that’s a topic for a future blog post (see what I did there?)

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