Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Are you the best version of yourself?


Quite the powerful question, isn't it?  I went to a lecture at Church and this was the question that the speaker, Matthew Kelly, posed to the audience.  As I sat there and pondered this question, the answer was a resounding "NO!"  How scary is that?  I didn't even have to think about it - it wasn't even debatable - I am no where near the best version of myself - what a sad state of ME I've become!

When I look in the mirror, I don't really LOOK anymore.  My face, hair, skin and body will forever show the effects of the chemo, radiation, and surgeries needed to survive breast and ovarian cancer.  When my hair grew back in, it was a totally new and yucky color and texture and the medications have taken their toll on my face and skin more than "fun in the sun" damage ever could have.  But alas, as my Mom would say, "it is what it is" so I suck it up.  

I don't really take the time I should to do my hair and make-up.  I don't dress as well as I used to and attention to detail is pretty much non-existent.  Mediocrity and "good enough" seem to suffice and that is so sad.  Because we all know when we put on our favorite jeans and our hair turns out just right, we feel we can take on the world!
Anxiety, fear, depression, sadness and grief have taken their toll and has robbed me of my once excessive energy,  never ending perkiness and abundant hope.  I know I can get it back but it is going to take a lot of courage, determination and dedication.  I have to CHOOSE to be a better version of me and it is hard to believe that I CHOSE to be who I have become.  A very harsh realization!

Here are a few of the ideas that Matthew Kelly presents in The Rhythm of Life...
"You were born to become the-best-version-of-yourself. This is your essential purpose. Embrace this one solitary truth and it will change your life more than anything you have ever learned. In every situation, ask yourself, Which of the options before me will help me become the-best-version-of-myself?"
"Everything is a choice. This is life's greatest truth and its hardest lesson. It is a great truth because it reminds us of our power. Not power over others, but the power to be ourselves and to live the life we have imagined. It is a hard lesson because it causes us to realize that we have chosen the life we are living right now."  
(WOW - seriously eye-opening!)
"The measure of your life will be the measure of your courage. Courage animates us, brings us to life, and makes everything else possible. Fear stops more people from doing something with their lives than lack of ability, contacts, resources, or any other single variable. Fear paralyzes the human spirit. Life takes courage."  (I can SO attest to this!)
"Energy is our most valuable resource, not time. The rhythm of life is a way of life that brings our legitimate needs, our deepest desires, and our unique talents into harmony with each other. The result: passion, purpose, and energy."
Kelly has a way of thinking and writing that cuts through the stifling clutter of our everyday lives and delivers a clarity that is both refreshing and liberating.  


UNLESS WE TALKING ABOUT A PIECE OF FURNITURE!  I read the blog BETTER/AFTER every day and am constantly amazed by the incredible transformations and I have even been featured a few times myself!  I will look at a piece of furniture and shudder at the ugliness of it and will painstakingly devote days to making it pretty.  And yet I won't do that for myself, WHY?  Am I not more worthy than a beat up chair?    WAKE UP CALL! 

My heels are cracking, my nails are chipping and the other day I even went out with a SCRUNCHIE in my hair!  Can you believe it?  A SCRUNCHIE!  And it was made of seersucker watermelon fabric.   SERIOUSLY?  That's the point I knew I'd hit rock bottom!  LMAO!

Today is Wednesday and one week from today will be Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  40 days of fasting, almsgiving, and reflection.  As a Catholic, Lent was always such a sacred time of year and I am using these 40 days to rededicate my time and energy to ME and my LIFE!

I was so happy doing the C25K (Couch to a 5K) 9 week program but then dummy me had a Yankee candle jar on the stairs and of course I tripped and fell onto it and ripped open my knee.  Then it was November and my running shoes started collecting dust.  I am going to start the C25k and I am going to finish it this time!  

When I am cozy on the couch with Pinterest or Facebook, I have fleeting thoughts of  "I could go for a run.  But its so cold outside.  Maybe tomorrow."  R U KIDDING ME?  You live in Chicago - of course it is cold outside - its freakin' JANUARY!    SERIOUSLY TRACY - WHEN DID YOU BECOME SUCH A WEENIE!  You have tons of North Face tights, Patagonia turtlenecks and WAY TOO MANY WICKING THINGS!  Put them on and get outside!  You know once you get outside and breathe in that crisp, cold air you will be invigorated.  The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step to LOG OFF and stop crying that your thighs have tripled in size since Christmas!  :-)

Last fall, I made it to week 7 and now I have to start all over again at week 1.  But it is ok because I love it and I look forward to losing the weight and feeling strong again.  Maybe I will be ready for a Mother's Day 5k in honor of my Mom.  Something to consider.  

Life has had some really rough spots for me... I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 31, then my Dad died, my brother committed suicide, I was in three car accidents none of which were my fault, my Mom was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and I was her caregiver for almost two years.  Then,  just over a year later I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer which caused me to lose normal use of my left arm (and of course I am left-handed), my 90 mph tennis serve and my ability to ever have children.... all before my 40th birthday!  Then I lost my job of over 13 years and coming out of my cancer check-up they had smashed my car windows and ransacked my car. And we won't even go into my train wreck of a love life.   Good thing I am still here to complain about it all.  :-) 

I'm not whining - really I'm not -  but some days its hard.  I miss my parents and brother.  I miss my pre-cancer life.  I miss those delightful days with absolutely no worries or anxiety.  I miss my breast.  I miss my old HAIR!  LOL!  These are things I cannot change - I simply have to accept them.  But I know life doesn't have to perfect to be wonderful and I still spend a good part of my day laughing - be it at myself, my DIY catastrophes or reruns of Big Bang Theory.   

My life needs to change in order to find true happiness again and but I know it can be done.  
I am going to work on my skin, my body, my health, my sleep habits, my clutter, my house, my money, my attitude, my diet, my computer time,  my BLOG and MY LIFE!  So let the makeovers begin!  

But I have a few more days to be be lazy and unmotivated.  I think I will go and get a Shamrock Shake and spend a few hours on Pinterest.  It is probably not a good sign that I can't wait for FAT TUESDAY, right?    LOL!  


  1. What a great post. I can't believe all that you've gone through... my heart aches for you. I admire you for putting your best foot forward to be the best person you can be! I think we all need to think about this sometimes. Just put your faith in God, and He will take care of everything!

  2. This is such a great post and I love you for being so honest on here! We had a sermon yesterday about changing the world as Christians, not just going to church and leaving it all there. It really inspired me to be a better person.

  3. Hello Megan & Hilary - thank you for your kind comments! Sometimes in the middle of the night when insomnia hits, I just seem to type away and the next morning it is like - was that a dream or did I really blog that? :-) I think this post was more for me than my followers - I needed to write it down so I can't ignore it anymore and I am honored that anyone stopped for a few seconds to read it. So THANK YOU! Only a few more hours until the zero hour of Ash Wednesday and my new approach and making better choices begins!