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The Pitcher at the table

You’ve gotta find a way to keep the glass half full.

That’s what I realized recently, as I reflected on the end of the 2022 year and all that it was, as well as wasn’t.

Truth be told, I’m a glass half full or (at times) over poured glass kinda girl. I’m not sure why or how and quite honestly as I grow older and experience different personality types in most cases I think it’s just how we are built.

Oh sure, life isn’t perfect and I have plenty of down moments. Those are the moments made for those who know me best and can process the vulnerability and simply let me vent.

Before expanding further on said “glass,” I feel it’s important to dispel the myth.

Recently at the conclusion of an interview, the person I had met and I were having some candid conversation about life in general and blessings. Her words to me (as someone I had just met) offered me new perspective. As she proudly spoke of a struggling single mom she had just helped, she followed it with acknowledging yours truly with a comment of, “well you are an accomplished, successful woman, which I understand. Sometimes we need to help those who are struggling.”

Now, this wasn’t said with venom or disdain, as it might be read. It was a simple, innocent comment said in passing. However inaccurate it may be, in fairness it was her perception of the person who had arrived to interview her.

Some may not know this, but those of us in print journalism are not rollin’ in the ‘Benjamins.’ Quite to the contrary, I recently shared with a friend that I often think of my career as one of service. Most of us do it for the love of varying things: storytelling, the chase, the community or a bit of all of the above. If you cross someone in print doing it for the love of money, well please drop my name because that’s someone I’d like to network with.

So, for those who may have a similar or varied perception of this recount, from what I share in these pages or what you have heard, let me offer some additional insight.

I am (and have been) a single mom for close to 12 years. Like many others in our community, there is no knight in shining armor paving the way for myself and my two teens. From March of 2020 to present day, I continue to battle a diagnosis of Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Since that diagnosis, weeks before the shutdown of the pandemic (might I add), there have been plenty of things in my life which have not gone as I might have hoped. I mean, cancer should be enough, right? But that’s not life.

Additionally, if you’ve followed this column space you know I’m a runner and running, crazy as it may seem, brings me the greatest joy. In 2020 I was to run the Chicago Marathon; a bucket list item and my sixth full marathon to date.

Since my diagnosis I had to defer my entry and as of this year I had to give that up completely as I won’t be well enough to train. Now to some that’s no big deal, but to me it is. A dream postponed ‘til who knows when. Similar to a dream vacation never realized because of financial setback or loss of a loved one.

Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, goods and bads.

I’ve always believed that we gain our greatest lessons during the hard times or in athlete terms, we learn more from the losses than the wins. Facts.

Looking back on my version of 2022, yeah it’s not so great quite honestly, but for me – it’s everything. 

There weren’t a lot of “goals” accomplished for yours truly in 2022. It was truly a year of survival and as a cancer fighting warrior raising two teens, I’m here to tell you, hallelujah and amen for survival!

That being said, if someone sat me down and asked how would you sum up this past year, the word which comes most to mind is “joy” closely followed by “heartache.” Welcome to life.

The thing about a half full glass, which I feel not enough of us talk about, is we recognize simply that; it’s half full. We see what’s missing, we understand void, we ‘feel’ just like everyone else. Yet in spite of it all we celebrate, embrace joy and remain grateful for what is there, what is left, what fills our glass.

So yes, in 2022 I continued a journey with cancer. My medical team continues to grow and for those who love me, so too does the worry.

But ya know what – we had one heck of a year. 

The year of 2022 allowed some great memories with some really special people. Road trips to San Francisco to see the doctor or receive treatment with some of my most favorite people. Celebrations of hurdles cleared. My kids went back to school full time without masks and our offices were able to reopen without plastic between us and the community. Several of our offices relocated as well, which gave us each a fresh new start under our, not so new name, of 209 Multimedia.

We were able to put our feet in the sand a few times as a family and document it for preservation. And while we may not have made it on a plane, that plan’s to come in 2023, no doubt. The kids and I will travel again and more memories will be made.

Mostly we were able to feel joy and love, as well as give it, because at the end of the day when we find ourselves faced with heartache what better medicine is there?

Oh, sure, I see you pessimists shaking your head and I wish you good luck. Because you see, at the end of it all, it all boils down to something I began preaching to my children when they were toddlers. It’s about choice.

You can choose to see the weed as a weed or you can choose to see the blossom which stems from it.

I’m grateful for the blossoms, even when surrounded by weeds. So, here’s to a year which brought a few unexpected and new weeds and the blossoms which grew as a result.

Isn’t life funny? The reality is simple. Whether you view the glass as half full or half empty, the fact still remains … you’re blessed to have a glass. Better yet, as a friend recently shared with me when having this “glass” discussion, “For you it seems, it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or empty. You always have a pitcher at the table!”

Cheers to it all: the glass, the pitcher and the months to come for an epic 2023.