And I’ll find peace.
At the bottom of a real tall cold drink.
I’m chillin’ to some Skynyrd and some old Hank.
Lets get this thing started.
It’s my kinda party.
Whenever Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party comes on the radio a montage of party scenes flash through my mind. When I was little, I remember the best part of my birthday was always the cake (even though as an adult, I’m really not a fan of cake). The cake was always special because my mom made these elaborate cakes for my parties. My favorite was Lionheart, one of the carebear cousins, it was just awesome! I loved parties at Roller Magic, it was where everyone I knew had their birthday. We grew up in the eighties, wearing neon clothes and doing the limbo on our roller skates. We really knew how to party then. I laugh when I think about how Roller Magic was our party spot. I had a huge party for my thirteenth birthday at Turn Hall and it was a total disaster. The expression “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” comes to mind. I swear the Middle School years of anyone’s life should probably be stricken from record. I remember getting to put on birthday parties for little kids when I worked at McDonald’s (my first real job). I’d have to dress up silly and play party games with the kids. It was really more embarrassing than fun. High School parties were hit or miss. Some were fun, some were drama. All were under the watchful eye of my friend Mike, so I pretty much stayed out of trouble and not always by choice. College came and went as a blur of frat parties and house parties on the weekends when I didn’t have an over abundance of work to do. There were no parties in my twenties, only an occasional bar gathering or poker night. And now in my thirties, we have dinner parties with wine and hor d’oeuvres and are usually cleaning up by ten o’clock. Any other parties are usually of the birthday variety for our friends’ children or work related functions. It is funny how a concept can change over the course of one’s lifetime.
Now, my kinda party is low key and not really a party at all. I prefer to spend my days celebrating every day and living in the moment. I prefer to laugh and spend quality time with the people I love. That is in fact one way cancer changed my life. It reordered my priorities and it started doing that long before I was even diagnosed with it. When my friend Mike died from Melanoma a year ago September 21st, I realized that no one is guaranteed anything in this life. It made me realize how important it was to live life to the fullest, much like Mike always did. Maybe on some level he knew his time on earth would be shorter than expected. In some ways his death made me think of my own mortality and make some changes. I spent far too much time working and not enough time having fun (or partying). Now I make time for my friends; dinners out, laughs over bottles of wine, new adventures, etc. If the opportunity arises to catch up, I take it. I enjoy time spent with my family and make sure I see them more than just on holidays and special occasions. Life happens regardless of whether or not you choose to fully participate in it or not. I prefer to participate.
I recently saw a pin on Pintrest (I might be a slight Pintrest addict) that said “when life gives you lemons, add vodka, and call the girls”. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not saying that any bad experience can turn into a party, but it doesn’t have to turn into a string of bad days that eventually lead you to believe that you have a bad life either. This might sound crazy to some, but I’m not sorry that I was diagnosed with cancer. And I understand that people feel sorry for what I have to go through, but a pity party is definitely NOT my kind of party. This experience has been trying, I acknowledge that. But it has also been enlightening. I have never enjoyed life more than I do now. I appreciate it, I cherish it, I have fun in some way every single day. I don’t worry anymore about the things I can’t control. I choose to be happy. I choose to laugh every chance I get. Some people may think I take my situation lightly, I promise you that I know the seriousness of my situation. I know that right now my cancer is still considered curable, but at some point it could be terminal. I know all of that and I still choose to embrace this journey and have fun with it. That’s why I shaved my head into a multi-colored mohawk, why I write snarky entries about my experience, why I can laugh when my boyfriend kisses me goodnight and says “I love you Sinead O”Connor” because of my bald head. I wouldn’t want it any other way. So please know that my kinda party is one where we all celebrate life and laugh every opportunity we have. I’ll take laugh lines any day. In some ways cancer gave me a chance to see what life is really about and now my only real task is to get out there and enjoy it!