Why I push so hard

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.

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