[sidebar: after going to battle against the mean, nasty germies, I am officially back among the living]
It seems fitting that during October, which is breast cancer awareness month, that I had the opportunity to kick of this time of year with so many inspiring people who have chose (or been chosen) to fight against this disease. Today, I'll share the story of another one with you...
During our Tour de Pink experience, every night, we had a group dinner and the Ride organizers would use part of their brief talking time to share the story of a rider, or of our fight against breast cancer to serve as inspiration for the following day's ride. Saturday night, everyone was tired and mentally and physically trying to gear up for Sunday which would be our last "real" day of riding. Our hosts wisely asked Diana to speak.
Diana, like so many in the room, and on the ride, is a breast cancer survivor. She was very nervous to share her story and was very emotional about her experience. Her story, in fact, is still going on - later this year, Diana will have prophylactic procedures to help ensure that she can continue to live her life cancer free. As she spoke, her theme emerged: it was so hard for her to deal with breast cancer because she didn't even have a choice...she didn't seek out cancer; she had to fight; she couldn't take a break. I've met Diana a few brief times and her honesty really struck me. Its easy for me to sit in "my place in the world" and see her strength and see how brave she is in her fight and in her ability to share her story. Its also easy for me to sit where I sit and get bogged down by the day to day annoyances, nuisances, and issues that seem paramount to everything.
Now don't get me wrong - I am, and always have been, a HUGE proponent of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but a lot of times when we are down in the dumps about our own issues, its easy to forget to gain perspective (missing a flight does NOT equate to world hunger...just an example here people, I went grandiose for effect), its also easy to forget that we CAN get through it.
And that is why Diana is so special to me - she drove home that everything we do - well, most everything we do - is something we CHOOSE. Tired from a long bike ride? You chose to get on that bike. Angry at a co-worker? Well, you accepted the job and you chose to let him/her affect you. Feeling a bit of self-pity (and believe me people, I do this!) well you have chosen to wallow there for a bit - perhaps you need to - to move past whatever is bothering you. The choice options may not always be the most desireable - but there's always a choice. And of course, there will be things that life throws at us that we CAN'T choose - like cancer.
Diana now appears in my mind almost every day reminding me to remember there's a difference between what we choose and what we don't choose. And I need to own every choice I make - no matter how passive, and then, I need to make the best of that choice.
On Sunday - when the hills were painful, and I was tired, and I was hot...I choose to ride for Diana. I chose to own the experience, and I chose to love it. And I still do.
3 weeks ago