Lately I find myself thinking a lot about the future. Given the current slump that I am in, this ranges from two days from now all the way to 30 years from now. I have been thinking about my two best friend’s weddings, both of which are this year and even my wedding that has been planned for next year. I have been thinking about some of my future plans and goals and the things that I want to accomplish in my life time. As well as the idea of growing old together with John, having children and everything that accompanies that.
Lately a lot of people (I am talking about people that I greatly admire and trust here) have been telling me that full recovery is not only probable but possible, even for me. That although right now I can’t even begin to see things ever getting even a little better that they will. That I won’t always remain so stuck, desperate and hopeless trapped in the horrible grips of my eating disorder. That a better, happier, healthier life is possible and is waiting for me if I oblige. People have shared their stories of struggle and triumph with me, ranging from those who are new to recovery to those that consider themselves recovered and have reached the freedom of the other side. They have taken their time to pass off some of their confidence along with their support and encouragement and for that I am truly grateful.
Although I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future, right now it’s really hard to imagine. I feel like I am living in the moment and not in a good way. Some nights I go to bed and just pray that tomorrow won’t be as bad as today or that maybe it will get a little easier, only to be reminded that it’s probably going to get a lot harder first. I long for the end result, but don’t even want to begin to think about the amount of work it will take to get there. And so I remain stuck.
Reminiscing of great times that I have had in the past and future plans are the things that keep me going. Looking back on pictures, especially of me with children, working at camps and coaching, always puts a smile on my face. Remembering the amazing volunteer work that I have had the opportunity to be apart of, especially with the American Cancer Society, makes me feel like my life hasn’t been wasted. One day, I want to continue to work with and help children and be able to contribute more to the non-profit sector of the world. I want to be the role model that has the time, patience and energy to give relentlessly. I want to have a family of my own to love unconditionally. I have dreams a mile long and ambitions that are miles wide and really do hope that one day I can achieve them all.
One day I want to write a book. Although I have no idea exactly what it will be about or if it will ever get published, it’s going to happen. Two of my smaller lifetime goals have been to appear on jeopardy and be apart of an acapella singing group. I want to become an Ironman and specifically do the race in Kona. One of my best friends and I have talked about starting our own non-profit organization one day and I truly want to make this happen. I want to help John train for a 5k and eventually be able to do a triathlon together. Along with teach as many kids as possible how to swim and the value of participating in sports. I want to be a voice for those who have temporarily lost theirs, whether it is those who suffer from cancer, eating disorders or just unjust things in this world. I want to make a difference. I want to live authentically, honestly and practice what I preach.
Although I can lie to myself all day long, I know that none of this will ever be achieved in the depths of my eating disorder. I know I can’t be or do any of those things that I have mentioned above if I am not alive or am too sick. If I am lucky I can push through and accomplish some of them, but probably at a great expense.
I have never been an overly religious person yet I do believe in God and believe that everyone has a purpose. I feel that we are all put on this earth for a reason, even if we are never completely sure what the reason is. Although I have no idea what my purpose may be, I know that it isn’t to live a life consumed with my eating disorder, shame and self-hatred. I know that I am not meant to lie, manipulate and hurt those around me. In fact, those things are all completely against my values, personality and everything that I believe in. I have had the gift of meeting some of the most amazing, inspiring, strong and resilient people on my journey through both cancer and my eating disorder. Not to mention the lives that I have been apart of through all of my jobs, schooling and volunteer opportunities. Although I sometimes struggle to see my worth in this world, I know that I have been blessed and would really be doing a disservice to myself and those around me if I completely gave up.
Remembering the past and hanging on to the future will only get me so far on this journey. But right now it’s those things that make me even begin to believe what those around me are telling me. That one day, I will live the life that I was meant to live.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures:
John and I on our first picnic together: