Monday, December 27, 2010

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times...

2010 has been the weirdest year of my life.

It started out well enough. In fact, pretty great. My first book was published in December 2009, and it made a whole slew of e-bestseller lists in January 2010. One of the coolest things I've ever seen is the image of my half-naked Santa Claus book cover next to Stephen King's Under The Dome and Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. I spent the next six months working on my second book, and by July it was finished.

I was looking forward to celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary with my husband, and travelling to Jackson Hole for an awesome adventure vacation with the kids.

On August 3, 2010 everything changed.

I had a heart attack, at the ripe old age of 44. I had a bare metal stent inserted into my clogged artery. I spent a week in the hospital with a roommate who was 92 years old. My dream trip to Wyoming was cancelled. My anniversary celebration was postponed. My father fell ill a few nights after my heart attack and died a week later. He knew about my heart attack, but did not regain consciousness before his death, so he never found out I was okay. I really hate that. I pray that somehow he knows now. August 2010 had officially turned into the worst month of my life.

Facing your own mortality is complicated. I am handling it with humor, anger, disbelief, determination, hostility, melancholy, denial. Dealing with the physical recuperation (drugs, diet and exercise, fatigue, myriad doctor appointments, etc) has been far easier to handle than the emotional and mental process. I am still struggling with this part, and I'm not sure when, if ever, I will come to terms with why this happened. Why I got a second chance when others have not been so lucky. Who I am, why I am here, what my purpose is. Sound heavy? Yeah, well almost dying has the unfortunate side effect of making you introspective, even if you fight it.

So, as I face the close of this shocking year, I really have no answers. My will to live is strong. Strong enough to change unhealthy habits and restructure my life. My identity is up in the air. I feel as though I've pulled myself into a cocoon and am awaiting metamorphosis, unsure when I will emerge, and what exactly I will become. The person staring back at me in the mirror looks like a stranger. Fifty pounds lighter, with a starkness etched on her face, I don't recognize who she is.

All I know is I got a second chance. It's an incredible gift. It's more time with my husband, more time with my children, more time with my friends and family. Time to write more stories. Time to see an Orca in the wild? Sip mango margaritas while watching the sun set in Hawaii? Snuggle with my dog. Take a walk around the neighborhood and chat with good people. Simple things, adventurous things, everything.

I am looking forward to a fresh start. I am looking forward to leaving 2010 behind me. The good, the bad....I am ready for new.

I am ready to embrace 2011. Ready to embrace my second chance.

Not knowing what the future holds for me. Just thankful I have a future.

Bring it on.