Sunday, January 4, 2015

Resolving the Resolutions

"When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner you live." - Stuart Scott

Stuart Scott died early on January 4, but he beat cancer. Scott continued to live his life as a partner, father, and ESPN anchor, despite his struggles with the disease. His words resonated even before I was diagnosed with breast cancer last August.

When you have a life-threatening condition. Scott told us, you don't want to leave everything behind and travel. You want normal. You want your day-to-day life. He fought for seven years to live his normal life. Making long-term goals doesn't always make sense because none of us is guaranteed a long term. 

We are now in the season for long-term goal-setting, the New Year's resolution. I have resolved to look at them in a different way. 

On New Year's Eve 2013, I had big plans for 2014. I had struggled with diverticulitis that year that eventually resulted in surgery on my colon. I was feeling better than I had in a long time. I was going to focus on my work and on my health.

Instead, I found my job in jeopardy and I was battling breast cancer. I was a different woman on New Year's Eve 2014, one whose priorities are definitely different. It doesn't make sense to make plans for the next 12 months, when undoubtedly I'll be different again.

I may rip a page from the 12-Step Program - One day at a time. I could concentrate on how I keep myself healthy just today, how to make a difference for my family, my colleagues, and my students just today. Those goals might mean different things a week from now, a month from now, or a year from now.

Trainer and motivational speaker Chalene Johnson ( advocates re-writing 10 life goals every week. The ones that recur are surely important to you. She also says there will be one or two that, once achieved, will allow the others to fall into place. Being healthy and cancer-free winds up at the top of my list every week, and it will allow me to achieve my other goals.

These kinds of resolutions will allow me to beat cancer in the way I live and how I view the world. When the ball drops on 2015, I will be different. Two things will be certain: Don't mess with me and I am capable of everything. 

Rest in peace, Stuart Scott. My prayers are with your family, your friends and colleagues, and your fans.