There is a poem that I learned in high school that I enjoy tremendously and has stuck with me for so many years.
It is by Robert Herrick called ‘To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.’ It begins, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is a flying; and the same flower that smiles today tomorrow will be dying."
When you are confronted with your mortality, and acknowledge the fragility of life, you have a choice to continue along the same path or to take a new path altogether.
Like many people in this community, I found my lump, out of the blue and with no prior family history of breast cancer. Subsequently, I learned it was indeed cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma. I did all I could to eradicate it — double mastectomy, many rounds of chemotherapy (red Devil! taxol the terrible!) and radiation.
Imagine cutting and zapping your body to rid yourself of this foreign cancerous invasion. To say it was extremely difficult would be an understatement.
What and Who Are Holding You Back?
Prior to my cancer diagnosis I colored within the lines, I didn’t take chances, and was afraid of risks. I’ve come to understand that I wasn’t truly living. I was merely existing. Both for others and under the expectation of others.
The realization hits and the questions arise:
What’s holding you back? Traditions? Your culture/upbringing?
Who’s holding you back? Family? Friends? Coworkers? Yourself?
I learned that regret is a heavy emotion. The what-ifs and paths not taken thoughts truly weighed me down. You see, when going through treatment I had plenty of time to think. And think. And think. I regret all the things and opportunities that I thought I’d get to eventually. You believe you have all the time in the world. Until you do not.
“That age is best which is the first, when youth and blood are warmer; but being spent, the worst, and worst time still succeed the former. Then be not coy, but use your time..”
Putting Myself Out There
Enter me, yours truly, modeling for the good people at AnaOno. Old me would have said a strong HELL NO to participating in a photoshoot of this nature.
But 2.0 me knows better. So I said YES. Even though I definitely googled "how to pose" and "how to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks." And maybe someone (not me, okay me) had to sneak a shot of liquid courage in the parking lot minutes before, but YA GIRL DID IT. The end result and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive!
A Commitment to Do All the Things
Dear reader, I have made a commitment to myself: Now is the time to do all the things. Eat all the foods. Take all the trips.
Being timid and small and reserved is a thing of the past. Now is the time to face all the challenges. Embrace fearlessness.
I cannot predict the future. I do not know if or when I will get that call that will forever change the course of my future. I’m doing my part. Preventative surgeries. Aromatase inhibitor meds for the next decade. Surveillance. Diet. Doctors. And so on and so on.
So, YOLO! You only live once!
Well, for me, I’m on my second life. Second chance to do life right.
No holds barred. Bright and bold. And I’m not throwing away my shot. Join me, won’t you?
Follow @trish_newyorkcity for more on how she's squeezing all of the life out of her second chance.