I was asked this once back when I was doing chemo, and today’s practice reminded me of it.
I push myself hard so that when all this is over, I can look back without regrets and know that I did everything I could to stay positive, keep moving forward and not give up.
At the end of this journey, I still need to be able to live with myself, and pushing hard is how I do it. I can’t wait for the day when I can look back and all of this will be a strong memory of a hard time.
I wish I could say I have always been this way, but that is not true.
More than a decade ago, I was a very messed up young adult in university. I was severely depressed, overweight, lacking in self-esteem and my life consisted of work, sleep, and school. I truly believed I was only worth the value that others placed on me, and that wasn’t much. I was at rock bottom and didn’t know where to turn. I reached a point where I could either give up, or decide to fight. So, I decided to fight and asked for help. I took a little bit of time for me and started turning my life around.
It was not easy and a very slow process, and one that is ongoing.
I don’t regret that time in my life, but I wouldn’t want to return to it. At the same time, that is the time in my life that taught me the value of myself, how to fight, how far I could push myself without giving up, the value of money, and how to make sure I took care of myself first–so that I was able to really help others. I learned when to ask for help, and when to give it. I learned how to be alone without being lonely, and the value of close friends. I learned how to motivate myself and that no one was responsible for my life and my goals but me. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be.
All are lessons I still need to remind myself today.
I learned to set goals for myself, but also that sometimes you have to accept that the path to those goals is not a straight one. I also learned that sometimes the things that seem the worse, turn out to be the best.
I wouldn’t be where I am now and able to dance so much if I hadn’t gone through that period in my life. I wouldn’t know how to push myself hard. I doubt I would be able to get though breast cancer so positively now if I hadn’t learned all those lessons earlier in life. Like everyone, I have had a lot of trials in my life, but overcoming them made me stronger.
Just as being treated for breast cancer now will make me a stronger person for the trials I will face in the future. Certainly, it has already made me a stronger and more determined dancer.
I don’t have to push so hard. I could have stopped dancing when I found out I needed chemo, and I did think about it. I talked it over with my doctors and Boss and a few dancing friends, but in the end I knew the best thing to help me get through this would be to take it one day at a time and try and dance as much as my health would allow.
I knew it would be hard. I knew there would be days I would want to give up. I knew things would get bad, and they have.
But I knew myself well enough to plan ahead. I started my ‘book of positives’ and stuck with it. I wrote myself an email for a friend to send back to me when I needed it.
I reminded myself to think of what this will feel like when it is a memory a year in the future, and I reminded myself how I wanted that memory to be shaped.
I want to be able to look back and know I did all I could. I will take solace that I was able to push myself as hard as I can. I will remain thankful and grateful to those who have been supporting me along the way.
That’s why I have to keep pushing hard.