Living in the moment. For now.

Me, without a care in the world. Ah, to be young again...
Me, without a care in the world. Ah, to be young again…

For as long as I can remember, I have been an obsessive planner. I love to make plans, to organize, to prepare. And I’m quite good at it, too. Long-term goals, schedules. These are things I like. A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants girl, I am not.

With my cancer diagnosis, a lot of things came crashing down around me, and one of them was my ability to plan for the future. You might say that for everyone, cancer or no cancer, life is unpredictable and full of uncertainties. And you would be correct. None of us knows what the future holds, or what tomorrow holds, for that matter. However, in my case, things are a bit more unpredictable than they might be for the average 28 year-old. Or at least, I am more familiar with the fragility of life and forced to confront it in a way most young people do not have to.

Before, there were plans. Plans for family, houses, jobs, vacations. Regular things that regular people hope for and work toward and often take for granted. I was headed down a particular path, and things were going quite swimmingly. I had a very bright future, one which I took as a given. And why wouldn’t I? I was young, healthy, and had a lot going for me. I even remember thinking to myself, Life is going so well, I hope nothing bad happens. And then something bad happened. And I stopped making plans and thinking about the future, for the first time in my life. As someone who is not so great at the whole live-in-the-moment thing, I was suddenly thrust into that mode of thinking, without much choice.

People say things like when you have your own kids someday or when you’re retired someday and I nod and smile, allowing them to imagine such narratives, but I no longer let myself actually envision those scenarios anymore. I can’t. This doesn’t mean I don’t believe I have a future, or that I don’t wish to have many wonderful years ahead of me. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a positive attitude, or that I’ve given up. It means I have cancer. And it’s scary shit. And it’s unbelievably, excruciatingly difficult to acknowledge that there is the possibility that my plans for the future will be cut short. So for me, at this moment, it is just easier not to think about it at all. I can think about today and I can think about next week. I can plan for my treatments and organize my medical schedule for the next several months. That, I can do. But anything beyond that, I can’t plan for right now. I can’t see it. I hope that at some point, I will be a planner again. That I will allow myself to dream of all the things I used to and view them as real possibilities, within my grasp.

I don’t know what next year will hold for me. Or the year after that. I won’t be making any plans just yet.

But I will hope.

At least I haven’t lost my ability to do that.


12 thoughts on “Living in the moment. For now.

  1. Hi Steph,
    Although we haven’t met, I’ve been hearing and reading about your couragous fight through your blog and from Cindy O. I’m the owner and baker at The Cookie Bandit Company, and I hope that with each of those flower cookies they brought you a little sunshine and smile to you. And a few extra calories, but who’s counting. I love reading your blog, your sass and conviction and strength is contagious. If you want more, just let me know! Keep up the fight and never give up hope. Your one stunning girl!! especially when you were younger!
    Jill Hayman-The Cookie Bandit

  2. Awww Steph… I actually find this post to be inspiring even though it is sad. You’re right, being able to live in the moment is beautiful and liberating when you can experience what is happening right now instead of putting yourself in a place that doesn’t exist (ie the future). You have so many people that care and are rooting for you. Really love your honesty and love you! Never give up hope. If you’re here on this earth right now, then you are here because you have a unique and essential purpose… and that is reason to always have hope ā¤ I'm here if you ever want to talk. xo

  3. Don’t ever give up hope. I follow your blogs every week and want to think you for your honesty. You sound like a strong woman and your attitude is very inspiring. Everyone is routing for you!

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