“It’s still all about attitude”
As I prepared to write this week’s blog, I stumbled upon my blog from the first week in May, in which I addressed the need for a positive outlook. That was four days before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Moving out of what my sorority sister, Cindy Hobbs Janecka, called “Cancerland” in her book about her own breast cancer diagnosis, I am struck with how grateful I am that Dave and I were able to remain grateful throughout the process. I am not suggesting I was grateful to be diagnosed with cancer, but I am so grateful for: God, Dave’s support, the support of so many family and friends, a wicked sense of humor, amazing doctors, and, yes, parts that will remain perky well into my 80s.
Here is a look back at that post right before my diagnosis:
May 3, 2015
Dave and I are going to Cabo San Lucas in May and we are both in need of dropping two or three pounds. Perhaps the winter encouraged us to store up fat in case we got snowed in (no need to remind me we live in Tucson, AZ, thank you very much). No matter. We were ready to get in bikini shape.
We decided to try the Military Diet for three days. Basically the diet consists of eating tiny portions of very few, very low-caloric foods for three days. Dave said, “You are half my size. Shouldn’t I eat two eggs when you are eating one?” I just smiled and said, “Just think. You will likely lose double the weight I will lose.” I think he said, “That sounds great,” but I am not certain. J The goal of the diet is to jumpstart you in some better habits, not necessarily to eat this way all the time.
After contemplating this big life-changing event (as if we were going to move to Spain without the dogs for a year), we decided to begin this morning. They say you can drink all the water you want (yea!), so I began the day with a bottle of water instead of my regular packet of hot chocolate. Dave quipped, “Be careful. Your body might not know how to react to you drinking water. Go easy.” Oh brother. We then looked at our menu for breakfast and saw we could have one slice of toast and a half a grapefruit. As we spooned in the first bites of juicy grapefruit, Dave mocked, “Oh this might be too much for me. I’m already feeling full.” “Scoff all you like”, I said as I rolled my eyes. “I have to admit. I am really enjoying the taste of the grapefruit. The combo of sweet and sour is really nice.” Dave said, “I think it is all about your attitude.” We agreed that if you look at the grapefruit in an appreciative way, it makes all the difference in the world. No, it might not be as scrumptious and decadent as a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito, but if we kept eating those, we knew we would be on the short road to “no swimsuit for you” land. After breakfast, we went to play 9 holes of golf before coming back home to make our lunch, which consisted of one piece of toast and 4 oz. of tuna. Remarkably, a can of tuna is 7 ounces. How could they do that to us? We either open two cans and have leftovers or we only split one can. I asked Dave if we should open two cans, and he said, “No, let’s get wild and crazy and just split one can. Just think---we’ll lose more weight.” Good grief. More eye rolling from me. We both laughed and said we actually tasted the tuna more than we usually do. We could appreciate it more when it was such a small portion.
I began thinking, again, about our outlooks on life and our jobs. When we stop taking the good things in our lives for granted and try to look at the good in things, we actually alter our environment.
As I said last week, I just finished reading a Corwin publication called “Deliberate Optimism” by Silver, Berckemeyer, and Baenen. One of my favorite lines is:
“This negativity helps no one, and as one of our authors likes to say, ‘We are done with that.’ “
The authors talk about how to be deliberately optimistic in our work in education and they tell the story of how an “outstanding principal we know walks into the school cafeteria every day and shouts, ‘Whose school is this?’ The students and teachers respond loudly, ‘Our school!’ Building optimism means believing in our philosophy, ‘Our School, Our Team, Our Kids!’” I love this!! I might even use this line for tonight’s dinner. “Whose 3 oz. steak is this?” I might shout to Dave. “My steak! And I love my five Saltine crackers, too!”
Let’s keep remembering how to reclaim the joy in everything we do.