You gotta find a way to keep the glass half full.
That’s what I realized most recently, as I reflected on 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 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, it was fairly her perception of the person who had arrived to interview her.
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.
For those who have followed this space you know I’m a runner and running brings me the greatest joy. In 2020 I was to run the Chicago Marathon – a bucket list item. Since my diagnosis I had to defer and as of this year I had to give that up completely as I won’t be well enough to train. Perhaps to some that’s no big deal, 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 the doctor with some of my most favorite people. Celebrations of hurdles cleared. My kids went back to school full time without masks and our office was able to reopen without Plexiglas between us and the community.
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 plans to come in 2023; no doubt.
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. Happy New Year. Here’s to another year of more joy and less heartache. Cheers!
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.