Friday, August 23, 2013

Pill Popping, Text Language and Man Jewelry




All my chemo meds. Yeesh...
I got a call from my oncologist’s nurse yesterday. She was questioning my use of Ambien (a sleeping pill) Spanish Inquisition style. I had a 30 day supply that only lasted me 28 days. She was, in so many words, gravely concerned that I had turned into a pill-popping druggy. I launched into a lengthy explanation about how the nights when I was extremely sick from the chemo, I’d take another half-dose at 3 am to get me through to the morning, panicked words spilling from my mouth as I tried to make her understand. . . But then I remembered something. I’m over 30, I’m successful (compared to a homeless person), I am NOT a druggie and I don’t really have to explain myself to her.

At 22 years of age, a conversation like this would have had me all sweaty and scared, like I had been called into the principal’s office. I would have done everything I could to make sure that random nurse knew I wasn’t abusing my medication. 32-year-old me knows who I am and knows that the aforementioned conversation wasn’t worth my time.  And I told her that.
This got me thinking.  What is okay when you are twenty-something but not okay when you are thirty-something? What can you deal with when you are 20 but that same thing becomes un-deal-with-able when you cross that momentous line of being 30 years of age? Here’s my short list (because I think I could go on forever):
-          Anyone under the age of 80 calling me “hun” or “sweetheart”: Okay when you are 22, not okay when you are 32. And  boys, to you I am “Ma’am”, as in “yes, ma’am, I will hold the door open for you because I see you wrestling with two crazy children. Do you need help out to your car?”
-          Using text language: 20 and under? I chalk it up to immaturity and it being the cool thing to do. Fine. Anyone over 30 who texts me BRB, TY, or the letter U instead of you is not okay in my book. Plus, don’t we all have SIRI or the Windows equivalent now who writes our texts for us? Come on, our conversation is worth the extra three seconds. I deserve the whole “you”! Disclaimer: LOL is okay. We who are over 30 invented LOL. We are keeping it.
-          Sub-par service at a restaurant: At 22, if the food wasn’t perfect or if a waiter was sucky, I’d just shrug my shoulders and soldier on. But 30-me? You better bet I’m calling your backside over, waiter, to fix the food mistake. And if it is you, waiter, who is sucking, I’m old enough to feel obligated to call over your manager so you learn your lesson.
-          A lack of life insurance: “Don’t think about tomorrow, let’s live for today!” said every 20-year-old always. And that’s fun and romantic for a few years. But I think you can only carpe diem through life until you hit about 26, and then your back starts hurting. Shortly after that, you need to buy some life insurance… and have a job with health insurance…and have a car to buy some car insurance for.
-           Man jewelry: The cute surfer wearing a bunch of woven bracelets around each wrist? Fine. The dangerous looking young guy on the back of a motorcycle with gauged ears? Not my style, but understandable, young man, if are in your twenties. But ANY piece of man jewelry outside of a wedding ring on a guy over 30? Shut it down! By the way, gauged ear guy, your ears are gonna look KILLER when you are fifty.
So what is your take? What is no longer okay when you reach 30?
Also, does anyone else remember when this blog used to be about writing? I’ll get back on that.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All the Donuts in the World



It’s November, 2012.
My husband and I are lying on our bed after putting the kids to sleep.
I had a feeling.
“Big things are coming,” I say out loud, more to the ceiling fan than to my husband, who is already snoring.
“Big things,” I repeat. I couldn’t shake the portentous feeling.
And I was right. The next eight months have been Dickens-esque. It’s been one of those it-was-the-best-of- times-it-was-the-worst-of-times situations in the Bryant house. A cancer diagnosis, a publishing deal, emergency invitro, mastectomy surgery, our ten-year anniversary, buying a chiropractic practice, chemo, getting down to the change we had left in the house to buy that week’s groceries (who knew it was so expensive to buy a chiropractic practice???), miracles the likes of which I never thought I’d have the privilege to see... Like I said, the best of times, worst of times.   
So now that the chemo is done, now that the practice is bought, now that my shelves have food on them again, what have I learned?
- Trials either break you or make you unbreakable. You get to choose.
- Family is the biggest blessing of life. And if you’ve been nice, they’ll stick around when you need them.
- It is really important to have food storage. Life gets lean sometimes. The extra cans of spaghetti sauce will come in handy.
- Let art imitate life. My novel’s characters know a lot more about suffering now that I do too. I’m a better writer after going through this last year. You can’t teach that kind of life experience.   
- Chemo is so all-encompassing, it can even make things like donuts, chocolate and frozen yogurt taste bad. And for a food-enthusiast like myself, that’s a big deal.
- If God leads you to it, He’ll get you through it. You never have to do anything alone.  
Before we know it, it will be November, 2013. And while I’m hoping for a more best-of-times situation for 2014, I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. Not even for all the donuts in the world. And for me, that’s saying a lot.