Closing the Door on 2013 – Tanya Gouthro

Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt
Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt
Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt
Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt

Leaving Cancer Behind in 2013

THUNDER BAY – Health, Living – It was 51 degrees below zero with the wind chill this morning. It’s the kind of day that makes you long for a fireplace and talk to your car as though it were a baby learning to walk for the first time when you first try to start it. We braved the cold this morning only to throw a pot of hot water in the air to watch it freeze (and it did). It is breathtakingly cold, and there is a stillness and a unique beauty that comes with a winter day like today. The ground is blanketed in white, and the sun sits low in the sky, casting beautiful long shadows wherever it can. Today makes me happy to be where I am.

The holidays can be a difficult time for many of us. These are weeks wrought with expectations, riddled with financial stresses and, for some of us, wracked with loneliness. There is another layer that I am finding is added to those stresses now, in this post-Cancer wilderness. It’s the ‘what-if-it’s-my-last’ element of my inner dialogue that has really changed the way I see these special occasions now. These five words, which, although I have tried to silence them and push them aside, continue to repeat themselves in my head and in my heart. I hear them when I look around the family dinner table. I hear them when I get a teary Christmas Eve hug from my sister.

Closing the door on 2013 (and locking it from the outside, just to be really sure it’s done.)

If its my last…

They whisper at me when family and friends tell me they love me just a little more often than they did pre-Cancer. I hear them when we clink glasses and toast to a new year. They scream at me when I say goodnight to my children on Christmas Night as they go off to their Dad’s to get tucked in there. Sometimes the words whisper, and others they howl, and they can be completely paralysing or they can incite some wonder and change.

Today I am working at focusing on wonder and change. This requires conscious, deliberate effort, and sometimes it works and sometimes I crumble. The wonder part seems to come naturally these days. My appreciation of the beauty surrounding me on days like today is as immediate and complete and poignant as old love. That comes easily to me.

Change, however, is not as simple or effortless for me. A New Year presents all of us with a proverbial clean slate. The possibilities are endless as an entire year stretches out in front of us full of potential. There are few of us who don’t want to rid ourselves of toxicity in our lives, whether these be substances or people. A life-changing illness can lend a sense of urgency to this task, for many reasons. I will be among those wanting to rid my life of toxic elements. Negativity and excess are two of many things I would like to remove from my life, and I hope to turn toward positivity and moderation in all things in the New Year.

I realized today that I have not purchased a calendar yet for 2014. Upon examination of that thought, it occurred to me there is part of me that feels that it would be bad luck to do so. That for some reason I shouldn’t assume that I will have all of those months to fill.

And so, my last task for 2013 is going to be to buy a nice calendar for 2014. You know, in the interest of positivity.

I am closing the door on 2013 today. Locking it tight, and thanking the universe that I am here to do so.

Happy New Year, everyone. May your calendars be full of positive change, and your days filled with wonder.


To learn more about Tanya, follow her blog at

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