In our rainy neck of the woods, November is a dark month. Daylight evaporates by 5pm and when the air isn’t chilly buns cold, we are pelted with rain which sometimes feels as though it may never end. While Vancouver is postcard-beautiful (from the outside, anyway) on a sun filled day, the constant wet weather can drown you. Guns n Roses basically got it right when Axl howled “cold November Rain”. November is the month my father-in-law died suddenly, 5 years ago. November is also my birthday month. Goth from the womb, I must’ve been born on a rainy day. I feel like a ghost this year. Like the last year went by both incredibly slow, during my painful days of chemo, and exceedingly fast – here I am, about to turn 39. That is a crazy number to me, only because I feel my 30s went by in a lightning flash. I don’t feel “39″, but I’m not sure what 39 is meant to feel like? To an older person, it’s a young number; to a teen, it’s ancient. I don’t think I feel fundamentally different than I did when I turned 29, although when I turned 29 I fretted away that I was getting old. And now, a decade went by like a weekend.
Having cancer has changed me, but maybe not as much as I thought it would. I don’t know if this is because sometimes, thinking of myself as a cancer survivor is surreal to me – I had cancer? Days, weeks, months went by, almost a year. Everyone is back to doing their daily things, and I’m expected to roll into living life once again too. The blog world continues to turn over constantly, seasonality marked by a flood of holiday recipes and flavours and I’m trying to care about it again but sometimes it’s overwhelming and too much. Cancer has made me slow down when my old self was a fast-moving, immediacy-thirsty person. Patience with myself, my abilities, and trying to get through some days without feeling slumped-over blue. A book helps. My mindful meditation podcast helps. The body heals – it wants us to survive, it does everything in its power to help us heal. The mind carries the scars.
As we age, do we ever feel different, or actually old? It’s an odd feeling to see the exterior of our physical selves grow, change, wrinkle, sag. Like I never imagined I would look down and my hands might look exactly as I remember my mom’s hands when I was a child – wrinkly knuckles and long fingers with an E.T.-ish quality (although I don’t recall my mom having hairy fingers like I do. DAD!!) You tend to imagine you’ll be 25 forever, or whatever the magical age is. I liked 31-33, personally. I look back at photos from that time period and my body is much more fit than I ever gave it credit for; my skin looks finely oiled, lipstick and bangs, pre-baby body. We women are duly hard on ourselves! So now my body looks quite different, but I stop to appreciate it. Like sometimes I just can’t believe I’m still alive. It’s a feeling I’m sure I’ll be processing til the end of my days. xo Lyndsay
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