September is one of my favorite months of the year...
I love the beginning of the cooler weather, beautiful light and calmer pace that comes as summer winds down and fall begins. However, September will forever be changed for me. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September 2012.
Now, I associate it with the month of the year that changed my life forever. In those early days of diagnosis, I felt like I was in a haze. Despite what was happening to me, I felt like time almost stood still, and things were moving slowly around me. I can remember vividly the way I looked at things differently. I drove slowly (SO not like me). I looked at every leaf on the trees, every ripple on the water, every cloud in the sky with intention and appreciation for their beauty.
I felt like my life had come into full focus.
I was seeing everything more clearly and in some cases, seeing things I hadn’t paid much attention to before. I remember how differently I interacted with people. Everyone, from my husband to friends, loved ones, acquaintances, doctors, nurses and (maybe even more so) strangers. I slowed everything down and instead of my usual hurrying around, trying to fit a million things into my life. I took the time to chat a little longer, engage in a conversation with a complete stranger in a shop and always felt richer for the experience.
At a time when I might have been thrown into panic, I almost found myself at peace.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I was dealing with a new cancer diagnosis and I was shocked, terrified and afraid, but despite that, it offered me an awakening of sorts, and a strange sense of peace and calm.
I felt like I was moving through life in a different dimension than everyone else. I clearly remember thinking to myself…if I am fortunate enough to live through this experience, I want to remember this feeling and try to hold onto it for the rest of my life. I want to live the rest of my life feeling this way. Slowing down, appreciating the beauty in life and seeing the good in everything.
There are many days I have to remind myself of this promise I made to myself, as I try to fit too much in my day. As I have recovered and heal I admit that I have gotten back to a different pace. However, I reconcile this by acknowledging what a great idea it was to hold onto that feeling forever, but now that I am three years out from those early days of diagnosis, I have decided that it is OK to find a balance not to forget, but still to be able to live my new life fully and usefully. I can’t stay in a state of “slow” forever and achieve all the things I want to (which I’ll get to later). So I try to remember, appreciate and hold onto just enough of that feeling but not allow it to hold me back from living this wonderful new life.
I would encourage everyone to try to create a temporary “haze” for themselves.
Maybe its just for an hour, a day, a weekend or even a week! Don’t wait till you find yourself in a crisis and are forced to look at life as though it may be slipping away from you before you had fully embraced, appreciated and lived it.
Have you experienced your own Temporary Haze? If you’d like to share, we’d love to hear.