I've been a little down lately. (you might have noticed)
After the third person said to me "it's that time of year..." (referring to Elul, the Jewish month of reflection and introspection), I decided to wait a month, and see what happens.
Meanwhile, I suspect, there is more to these feelings than that.
My mood reflects the change of season. The sky is darker, and I can already feel my winter head cold.... (it arrives in the fall, and checks out in the spring)
More significantly, I was diagnosed with cancer in the summer.
I am now marking one year since my diagnosis of metastasis. (and three years since my initial diagnosis)
For me, Rosh HaShanah does not simply signify the passing of a Jewish year. For me, Rosh HaShanah marks another year of survival.
I just survived my first year with metastatic cancer.
Since only 20% of women dianosed with metastatic cancer survive the first 5 years, I feel like these first years are the most significant.
I am 20%* along the road of successfully beating the odds. (as you know, I fully intend to beat the odds!)
Btw, my approach to these statistic is strongly influenced by Stephen Jay Gould's essay, The Median is Not the Message. (I highly recommend that you read his essay. Read it now. I'll wait...)
I used to say that "I intend on living 'till I'm 90," until a friend asked me why I was cutting myself short (referring to the Jewish tradition that our life span is 120 years). I accepted her tikun (correction), and now plan on living until 120! (hence the 78 more years to go...)
Meanwhile, though I do not live my life as if I am living on the edge, I have begun to think a bit more seriously about what I really want to accomplish.
Verbalizing my intentions, gives them more weight, more meaning.
It signifies a certain level of commitment.
Perhaps that is why, in the past, I have not made any lists.
So, here, for the first time, you have it: my new year's resolutions.
What I want to have achieved by next year:
1. clean/fix up my home (a bigger task than most of you imagine!)
2. spend more time with my kids (and my husband)
3. be more patient with my kids (and my husband)
4. manage my time better
5. host a women's Megillah reading in my home
6. lose 2-5 kilos (4½ - 11 pounds)
7. speak to groups about living with cancer
What I want to achieve in the next few years:
1. write a book
2. go to Disneyworld/Universal studios with my kids
3. visit Japan
None of us ever knows how long we will live. Anything can happen to any one of us, at any time.
Living in the shadow of death, puts things in a different perspective.
There are things that I want to do.
The end of that sentence just hangs in the air.
So, let's bring it out in the open.
There are things I want to do before I die.
Not to worry, as far as I know, I'm not dying yet
(I'm not dead yet!)
So, next year, when I've beaten 40%* of the odds, we'll review this post, and evaluate just how successful I was at achieving this years goals.
Then, I will decide whether or not to make another list...
Wishing you all a K'tiva V'Chatima Tovah (you should be inscribed and sealed in the book of life) and a Shanah Tovah U'Mtukah (a good and sweet year).
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
* I know these statistics don't work that way. But you get the idea....
Pillar of Light - film on Rav Ovadia (video)
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