2020 the Year of Unexpected Challenges and Beautiful Surprises

Everyone is so eager for 2020 end. Why? Why do you want to forget the lessons you learned this year? Why do you want to forget the good things that happened this year?  Why are you so eager to start 2021?

When I think about 2020, it reminds me of 1994. In 1994, everything was normal until my cancer diagnosis, and for the next 2.5 years, my life changed. In 2020, everything was normal until the pandemic hit, and life changed. I survived 1994, much like I did 2020, by living cautiously, staying hopeful, and trusting God. I don’t ever want to forget what I went through in 1994, it made me stronger, and honestly, I think it helped get me through 2020. You should never forget the struggles in your life; you should look at them and think I survived and am a better person because of it. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how to react.

I realize for many, this is the first time you are facing something so unknown, but take it from me. Living in fear is not living. Stop living in fear, stop worrying about what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right. Sure covid can kill you but so can cancer, heart disease, or a car accident. All 4 of these things are unpredictable, and you never know if and when you might experience them, so you have to live your life. When I was sick, I couldn’t focus on the fact that 20% of kids who get leukemia die. I had to focus on the 80% who survived.

One thing I have learned in life is that you have to take the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the ups with the downs. You will never truly appreciate the good without the bad. You can’t have a rainbow without the rain. Life is more fun when you learn to dance in the storm.

I for one think 2020 was a great year. I turned 40, celebrated my 26th cancerversary, had a pre-covid trip to Disney with my family, published my book Faith, Hope and Cancer, got to celebrate my grandma’s 100th birthday, and I got to see Linda, a very special nurse, on her birthday as well.

Was 2020 easy…No. I was cooped up in the RV (less than 450sqtf) for 2 months, had a hard time finding basic food, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper. There were days I reached my breaking point. I had to say goodbye to my grandma and Linda (a very special nurse) when they died two weeks apart, and I didn’t get to spend as much time with family and friends. But I chose to focus on the positives; I decided to focus on what 2020 taught us. It taught us how to be flexible and adapt to change, to appreciate our loved ones, kindness matters, and sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree.

When I look back on 2020, I will always remember the good with the bad. I will remember it as the year of unexpected challenges and beautiful surprises.

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