Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I woke up this morning and I was thirty

I am 30. Yes...this is the first time I write this out.
I am ready to face the 30s. A deep breath as I enter this third decade of my life.
For those of you that missed me in my 2os I thought I'd provide a brief snippet of some of the things that made my 20s memorable.
In my 20s I...

  • graduated college
  • wore a bridesmaid dress...three times
  • had my heart broken too many times
  • have had 17 roommates (if we include college roommates as well)
  • drown my sorrows in about an estimated 500 bowls of ice cream (collectively folks)
  • was issued 2 speeding tickets in the course of one month
  • passed up 3 job opportunities
  • rode through the Lake District on horseback
  • was fired from a waitressing job by certified mail
  • managed to kiss the Blarney Stone, a few strangers and 3 guys with the name Joe
  • saw Sting in concert
  • have initated several dance-offs
  • accidently flashed someone
  • studied in England
  • slept under the stars, under a coffee table and in a 5 star hotel bed
  • had someone fight for my honor
  • had a Mai Tai in Hawaii
  • sailed, raced and crewed J-24s on Lake Ontario
  • climbed a couple mini mountains, parasailed and did more than a few things that scared me
  • was nearly knocked out by an airborne golf ball twice...once as a cart girl and once as a TV intern (don't ask)
  • threw a surprise party
  • was given a surprise party
  • wrote for a national magazine
  • reached the 22 mark of U.S. states I have travelled to
  • had my own radio show
  • worried about receiving an FCC warning memo (please see above)
  • wrote my own column for a year
  • performed on stage with a band
  • rolled down a hill for fun
  • travelled in Europe...twice
  • saw whales breaching in the Pacific
  • got sick on the tea-cups at Disney
  • survived cancer twice

Wow...that was quite a decade. On to the thirties...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Age ain't nothin but a number, right?

I haven't written. I apologize. I have a secret. Okay it's a secret I am putting on a website that conceiveably could be viewed by millions and millions of people. That is- if millions actually read my blog. Secret is out. I'm turning 30. It's kind of like a disease but not...its kind of like eating a dirt sandwich when a mobster with brass knuckles is forcing it down your throat.
A-haw gfawww haw ghhhauuggcccaaa.
That's the sound of me choking down my dirt sandwich. Today is the last day in my twenties.
I do not go gently into this good new decade. I feel like at times I am thinking "rage rage against the fading of the twenties."

My wonderful sister made things much sweeter for me this weekend. She threw me a surprise birthday party. I will share some pictures as soon as I am given them. I did not have my camera with me. Now you know it was a surprise. No camera.

So in the same way I fear this acceptance of it is necessary. I am going to feel good about this I swear. If anything I should be happy to wave goodbye to the last part of my twenties that was particularly traumatic. Yes, yes I recognize the need to embrace this. Yet before I do that I am going to struggle a little under the meaty hand of Tony Soprano.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Young adults have some cawfee tawk

I am looking forward to this Tuesday...I'm getting together with three other strangers for coffee. No, I'm not playing my own version of the dating game with three innocuous bachelors. Although that's a really great idea. Dating is afterall such a pain.

Three fellow local young adult cancer survivors who I have been corresponding with over email will meet me for a little coffee and some long overdue dialogue. Don't get me wrong, I've received lots of support through various organizations. I have met so many awesome survivors here locally and become involved in their causes. Never have I been denied support or been turned away from anything for being too young. But something was missing. I wanted to find people who know what it's like to be young and who don't just reminisce about it. I wanted to find people who know what it's like to be young and deal with cancer.

On a homo sapien cellular level cancer may look the same within our bodies. Yet socially, economically, soci-economically, politically, socio-politically and beyond cancer is a whole different ball game for young adults. The unique effects and corresponding approaches have until recently been overlooked. Thank God that is changing. If I hadn't stumbled across the website, logged into chat room one Monday night and talked to a guy named Matthew Zachary I might have never thought this could be done. The idea that we children of the 80s and 90s can have something that's our own when it comes to cancer was a pioneering idea that I really liked.
If you know of anyone in the Rochester NY area 20-40 and a cancer survivor willing to join our now forming chapter of I2Y email me. But before you do that check out I'm Too Young For This yourself. It 's given me the confidence to do something I feel strongly about...bringing young cancer survivors together. It starts with four people in a coffee shop. To Be Continued...

Fare thee well Halloween

Last night I joined some friends in Brighton for a Halloween party. Granted Halloween was really Wednesday, but being the working folks we are Friday fit the bill. I adopted my twenty five dollar approach to costuming this year. Twenty five dollars is a budget that kind of puts you in that okay I'm not creative enough to use only the contents of my closet category...but hey I'm not going to blow 100 acrorns to buy one of those costume in a bag deals. Nor am I foolhardy enough to rent a costume that was probably inhabited by some sweaty unknown to me person. Hello MRSA?!! It is a consideration these days.

This year I was a butterfly. I apologize in advance for not having a good picture of my costume. My friends promised to share their pics. I mean really, don't you hate to be the one asking "will you take one on mine too?" as some poor stiff snaps the same pose shot after shot on 7 different cameras?
So this one I took of myself after the evening was over. I will admit I am not good at doing these arm over the head shots. Okay, here's your proof. And no, I am not the sleeping butterfly. And yes, this is all you will ever see of my bedroom because 1.) this is not one of those blogs. 2.) it's a mess right now

My costume was not really thoroughly researched. First of all I can't even pinpoint my species, I am either a Monarch or a Viceroy. And something tells me if we were to compare butterfly years* (butterflies only live a few weeks) to human years I'd still be in the larvae stage. Ewww...not so cool a costume.

However there are a few fun advantages to building a costume around a set of $15 butterfly wings.

1.) Add head to toe black and you're good to go

2.) The suitable accessories, long red wig and eyelashes were something a short haired and sparse lashed gal could not resist. Hmm..technically another 15 bucks for accessories

3.)Nothing says spectacle at the gas pump like a red headed cat burglar with colorful, gauzy and definitely not flame retardant wire framed things attached to her back. Hope you had a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Approaching foreign territory

Have you ever thought about your approach to something?
Come again?
approach: the Oxford American Dictionary, for instance, defines the word for this context as...
a method of doing or tackling something.

I will say that everyone has a different approach toward life challenges. Take for instance, cancer. Never had I seen this illustrated so well until tonight. I sat watching Crazy Sexy Cancer with some Gilda's Club members. I am the minority, the young adult in this group.

For those of you who don't know Kris Carr's amazing documentary is unmistakably young, fresh and reminiscent of the youthful approach to cancer. She is funny, bold, irreverant and she profiles other young women who are of a like mindset. Sometimes they swear. A few times they say things like @*%* cancer. These women are honest and sometimes they sound more like comediennes in their smackdown of the big C. Hello tumor humor. Kris Carr speaks for young women and young adults in general because she understands a common ethos, part of how many of us who are young deal with cancer.

I realized as I heard a few nervous twitters and a few gasps that some of the women around me were taken aback. Generationally, cancer is different. In the twenty or thirty year age gap between where I sit and where they sit... it's different. This approach, this attitude and this kind of fresh look at cancer seems revolutionary to some of them. I guess I should step back and say hey, wow, you know, it is revolutionary. It's how many young adults face their fight, with fervor and with gusto. Yet it's new and it's groundbreaking- somehow foreign to our parents' generation. They grew up in an age where cancer was taboo, ugly and something to be whispered about. Now suddenly it's not. New pathways. New thinking. New approaches to cancer.

As the movie played on and they watched a little more you could see them warming to it. Those in that room who were conservative or conditioned to be unassuming and polite seemed to be seeing a different light. Before I knew it they were saying "Wow" out loud and in the right places laughing robustly. Were they slowly seeing how this youthful approach was liberating? Did they see it's okay to be a little brazen, a little silly and a little rebellious? Did they see that we don't have to treat cancer with kid gloves...or conservatively or with reservation? Perhaps so...I really believe that Crazy, Sexy, Cancer was saying more to them than they expected. Maybe in some small way they went home a little different.

Young adults are not the minority in other areas of life. The bars, the coffee shops, the corporate world... these places are just teaming with us young adults. But in cancer we are the minority. Overall cancer activities weren't really designed with us in mind. Most of us haven't learned to play kinasta or crochet afghans so we passed over the fliers about some of the social hours, the get-together, the opportunity for cancer bonding. To find our peers we had to deal with our cancer and find our survival companions over the internet.

No question: in this cancer journey we are the minority. Yet, watching Kris Carr last night perhaps these older survivors finally understood. Our voices, our journeys are not to be ignored. We may be the minority but it is the resonant voice of the young adult that is really speaking to everyone: our approaches toward cancer might become theirs as well. It is quite possible that this could happen or maybe already has.

Some day in an infusion room you might see a brave and resilient retiree sporting a shirt that says "Eyebrows are so last year." And she might smile at the young twenty-something nurse whose locks she admires. And they'll both smile because they are both empowered.
Tenderly ironic. Maybe we youngins' have something to teach older cancer survivors afterall.
But they should not forget where they are learning it.