I was privileged to attend a breast cancer survivor's weekend in Vermont this past April with a friend. It was amazing to be with a couple hundred people who were in all stages of survivorship. My friend and I rode the Amtrak train from Virginia to Vermont and the train ride was as much a part of the experience as the event. What a wonderful way to connect with a good friend, relax, be able to talk, read and see the scenery. Of course we were definitely tired of sitting by the time we arrived (both in Vermont and back home).
One of the speakers at the conference had us identify three areas of our life that we shouldn't let pass us by.
- Our Lottery List: things we want to accomplish within 30 years
- Our Lightning List: things we want to accomplish within 3 years
- Our Edge of the Bed List: things we want to accomplish in the last 3 months of our lives.
As survivors, most of us already felt like we spent some time on the "edge of the bed". When you are first diagnosed with cancer, the slap in the face of your mortality is startling. You are pretty sure you are very close to - if not actually on the edge of the bed. So to come up with at least 2-3 items from the edge of the bed is eye-opening.
I put two things on my edge of the bed list: 1) to come home earlier from work to spend time with my immediate family, 2) to spend more time in Iowa, the state where I grew up and where much of my family still lives. Now, these two things reveal some things about me: first and foremost that family is very central to who I am and what my life is about. But I had to chuckle when I ran across this list this week because if I were sitting on the edge of the bed with 3 weeks to live would I really be going to work? But I think the main point is what should I change now, because who really knows when those 3 weeks may be? I try very hard to give my all to the wonderful team I work with when at work, but I am also better at recognizing when it is time to go home and be present there. It makes me a better person when I am at work and helps me respect and appreciate the same desire my staff has to be with their families. I have let this slide a little bit in the last couple months (as often happens), so I will renew my goal of holistic health and work. I am going to get to go to Iowa in October to be with family for a couple days and we have family meal with my daughters and their significant others every Monday night.
So here's to being years away from the "edge of the bed", but living my life as if I were.
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