When I finished my cancer treatment, and I was seen at being “EOD” (meaning End of Disease); I became known as a survivor. I guess the medical staff has to put you in some sort of a category, a box as it were, and this is mine.
Honestly though, I really dislike being put into a box. I don’t fit. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit claustrophobic, but I need room to stretch and grow.
It’s wonderful to be a survivor, though. It’s a miracle, a gift. And when you survive something, it’s important and impactful; it shapes how you look at things from then on. It leaves a mark on you and others you are close to. It doesn’t matter how big or small it was. You’ve endured and come out on the other side.
While I’m truly grateful to be a survivor, I don’t want to get stuck there. I don’t want to feel like surviving was “it.” I’ve seen people get stuck after they’ve survived their situation. It becomes all they think about and they can’t see past it. It’s almost like it’s their new identity. A be all end all. That’s it. That’s who they are. They stop growing. They draw inward. Sometimes they pull away from the people who love them. It sad to be a survivor and then not be able to live.
I don’t want to just survive; I want to thrive!
To me, surviving is meant to be a limited thing, more of a steppingstone to something else. It’s a place to stop and take a breath, to be grateful for where you are and what you have gone through. A place where you decide what’s next. I see my surviving as a stop along my life journey, not the end of it.
So often it seems like people are remembered by the bad things that have happened in their lives and not the things they have accomplished. I want to go forward and be the great friend, awesome wife, the wonderful aunt, the gal with the yard of pretty flowers full of butterflies, the lady who teaches kids how to draw at the Arboretum. I want to be 95 and still inspiring people about nature. I want to be more.
That’s my vision of thriving, anyway. Thriving is pure joy.
There are so many ways to thrive; as many as there are people, plants, and animals on this earth. I think going forward my next several posts, I want to explore different ways we can thrive. What are the small things we can do each day or during the week to help us live our best life? If we’re sad, how do we reclaim our joy? If we’re stuck how to we get going again?
How do we learn to thrive?