Things to know about me in 2017. #ManOnAMission
I'm Turning 40 This Year
That's right, the Big 4-0 is coming for me in October. This is the year that I thought would never come, because there were significant periods of time in my life when I felt like it was inevitable that my cancer would come back, or a secondary cancer would develop, that there wouldn't be a cure, and that I would die. That's still a possibility for me, just as it is for anybody, but I've learned not to be afraid. The glamorous life of young adult cancer survivors.
I don't need to do anything crazy for when I turn 40, I'd just like to make it to 40. Buy a BMW convertible? Already did that at 33 while going through chemotherapy, and I'm still driving it. Go jump out of an airplane, or lean over the side of the CN Tower? No thanks. I have plenty of friends that do things like that, but I finally managed to get fired by the last of my doctors from my cancer fight last year, and have absolutely no interest in collecting any new ones from getting injured from a stupid stunt, just for a thrill. I've had enough "thrills" in my life already. To be completely honest, especially after last year and all the other going ons in my 30's, I'd be ecstatic if this year were boring as fuck for a change. Maybe I'll get a tattoo.
I'm Not Going to Have a "MidLife Crisis" - Because I Already Have
I laugh, because I've already been there and done that on the whole midlife crisis thing. Am I crossing off enough boxes on my bucket list? Do I have a bucket list? Am I living the life that I want to live? Am I living a meaningful life, and doing things that matter to me? What legacy am I leaving? Am I leaving a legacy? Am I with who I want to be with? Fortunately, I've never had to ask myself that last one, but young adult cancer cast so much doubt on my life that all the other ones had already been asked, and course corrections already made long ago now. If one is familiar with Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development, many of the questions that arise from the "midlife crisis" are part of the middle adulthood stage, "Generativity vs Stagnation" (ages 40-65 years), but here I was in a full-on crisis mode facing these exact questions and conflicts while in my early to mid-30's, my formative post-cancer years.
It's funny how having cancer as a young adult accelerates and warps the concept of age and stages of life for us. I've always been considered very mature for my age, but cancer lit the afterburners as far as my personal development through these life stages. I'm well into that middle adulthood stage, and am at full afterburner heading for the next, and I'm only 39. Just because I'm soon to be six years out from my cancer diagnosis doesn't mean I can slow down. I'm not afraid anymore, but still have this burning desire to get through these life stages, and to accomplish what I'd like to accomplish in life. Most people my age still believe that they have much of their lives in front of them, and plenty of time. My life experience has taught me very painfully that this isn't necessarily so, and that our entire lives can change in one instant. Our time here is so precious, and days are not meant to be wasted. What are merely platitudes for many, are core values for me.
I Have Things I Want To Get Done
Here it is, my New Year's Resolutions list!
- "240 by 40": My pre-cancer weight back in 2011 was about 240 lbs, which was a good weight for me considering my height and large frame. Because of how the nasty chemotherapy drugs, steroids, and highly invasive surgeries affected me, I exited my cancer fight all the way up at 300 lbs, and have struggled to ever get below 260-270 again. The biggest wall has been chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, and chronic muscle fatigue issues that I've suffered from for years. Most of those issues have passed now. I can exercise as much as I need, and so there's no excuse anymore. 240 lbs by the time I turn 40, or bust. I'm going to be in the gym a lot, and watching every calorie I eat. Foodie posts will be few and far between this year. As a friend says, "I hate you, MyFitessPal app!" That'll be me. :)
- I have a lot of writing to do. So much of my writing plans were derailed by numerous painful events last year. I want to get back on track and finish what I started, a complete set of essays and writings on my life after cancer, and all of the challenges I've faced. It's impossible to write about one very painful period of life while in the midst of another. The mission of my writing and of this website is very important to me. It's my legacy, and something I'm going to leave for the world. My writing reaches hundreds of thousands per year, and the thousands of comments I've received in response has been amazing to see. There's so much work to be done here, and so this mission needs to continue. When I'm not at the gym, I'll probably be on my laptop a lot.
- I'm launching a special program for the Testicular Cancer community that will benefit TC fighters and survivors everywhere. I can't say who, what, where, when, or how just yet, but this is my baby that I've had in mind for awhile, and it's past time to bring it to life. Good things that are worth doing don't happen by themselves. This is Priority 1 for the start of 2017. You'll hear all about it in a few months.
- I'm helping to organize a first ever Testicular Cancer Survivorship Summit. I've teamed up with 41 and 13 year Testicular Cancer survivors Ron Bye, Scott Joy, and others, to organize a first ever International summit for testicular cancer fighters and survivors this year. It will have keynote speakers, break-out group discussions, plenty of time for networking and socializing, and VIP guests, coming this fall sometime. This isn't going to happen by itself either, and is going to require a lot of time, effort, and thought by many to make happen.
- I'm curtailing my use of social media. My wife will actually be the primary reader of our personal social media now. Between all of these goals, a day job, and an active family life that won't be slowing down either, I'm just not going to have very much time to read social media. It appears that the cumulative hour or so spent per day on social media in 2016, is the same hour I hadn't been able to find too often to make progress on other goals, so something's gotta give. I apologize in advance for important posts or life events that I might miss out on hearing about in a timely manner, and many happy birthday wishes. It's a shame that a meaningful post about someone's mother dying are lost between dozens of completely meaningless spam and meme posts by others. I hope Facebook makes Facebook great again by coming out with better AI and News Feed filtering tools, but that's on them, not me. I just don't have the time to read social media much anymore.
2017 Is Going to Kick Some Serious Ass
It has to. Especially after the epic fail and disaster that was 2016, there's no other choice but to make 2017 the most amazing year possible. My goals are ambitious, and the work ahead of me immense, but I believe in myself, and am only going to surround myself with people who are with me and believe in me, too. So let's do this, 2017! I'm all in! It's time to make this year happen. Booyah!
Edit: Literally the day after I posted this blog, I found out that this very website was being awarded as a Top Cancer Blog of 2016 by IHadCancer.com!!! Amazing. Did I not just say that 2017 was going to be a great year? This is just the beginning. ;-)