Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
Making the choice to get busy living is often difficult for those with cancer, but the choice to start living your best life can be a good one. Each person must decide what that life looks like and when it’s time to start living it.
Walking through the bookstore, I perused the aisles. My goal was to find a good read. Passing through the fiction section led me to rows of motivational books. One title in particular caught my eye — Live Your Best Life Now. I stood in front of the shelves staring intently at the title. Live Your Best Life Now. It was as if the book was commanding me and asking a pertinent question at the same time. Was I living my best life? What was my best life?
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, my entire life had changed. Nothing was the same. I had no idea what the next day would hold and couldn’t fathom the rest of my life. But as I continued to stare at the spine of the book, I felt I’d received an epiphany. It was time. Time to get busy living a good life, a life of happiness, adventure and health, but not only living a good life, my best life.
When in the midst of battling cancer, it’s hard to see anything other than what’s immediately in front of you. It seems someone or something is always demanding attention. Visits to the doctor, scans and tests, go here, go there, do this, do that…all in an effort to stay alive. Those things can certainly contribute to a better life and they may even eventually lead to a best life, but the bottom line is it will take a lot of work.
Living your best life after cancer takes determination and effort, I’ve found. Every morning a decision has to be made. On days when I’m not feeling well I can choose to stay in bed most of the morning or all day if I want, but I make myself get up and get moving.
For the past few years, I’ve been going through the motions, doing just enough to get by. I certainly haven’t been living my best life.
I didn’t buy the book as I left the store that day, but I did remember the title- Live Your Best Life “Now. Now. Now.” That word kept resounding in my mind.
On the way home, I couldn’t help but think of all the time I’d wasted since completing treatment for cancer. Instead of choosing daily to improve myself, I’d been content to just be. I was happy to be alive, certainly, but I wasn’t truly living.
How could I make a paradigm shift? What could I do to make things better in my life?
The first thing I did was grab a piece of paper and a pen. At the top of the page, I wrote the heading “Ways to Live My Best Life.” Then I began brainstorming. What were things I could do to truly live the best life possible?
As I thought about that question, one of the first things that came to mind was the fact that I needed to find ways to make my life count. I could begin to help others. Number one on my list was to become intentional about helping others.
Not only did I begin to think of ways I could offer my services to my community, I also thought about ways I could better myself. I could take a class, learn a new language and do things I’d always wanted to do but had never accomplished. As I sat, my list began to grow.
When it was finished, I re-read the list, but the book title continued to pound my brain…Live Your Best Life Now. Now.
What was I waiting for? If I was going to make a change to my mundane existence, I was going to have to begin today. Instead of going through my daily routine of the same ol’ same ol’, it was time to turn things upside down.
I determined, in order to live my best life and do it right this very minute, it was up to me to take the first step.
Cancer had stolen my want to. It had turned me into a victim of circumstance. The pity party was officially over. Yes, I’d been through an awful lot over the past few years but that was then, this was now.
My choice to begin living my best life has been a good one. It’s amazing how little things prompt us to act. Who would’ve thought reading the spine of a book could affect a person so profoundly? But it was like a huge wakeup call — and one I needed badly.
It’s hard to wade through the world of cancer. When you’re in the middle the fight, the thoughts of living your best life aren’t at the forefront of the mind. The goal is to survive and get through. But when you come out on the other side, when treatment ends and one begins to feel better, the desire to regain what was lost grows stronger.
Making the choice to live your best life can be a good one. Each person must decide what that life looks like and when it’s time to start living it.
I’m thankful a simple book title prompted me into action. Maybe next time I visit the bookstore I’ll actually purchase the book and read it. I’m sure it contains some helpful information.
Motivation is the key. And in the words of Ralph Marston, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”