For the past week or more all I see are advertisements or news stories about Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year. I find it amusing how the holiday season has become so commercialized. Four years ago I was driving to work and while I listened to the radio, a commercial came on about the Christmas season. What I found interesting, was not only had Thanksgiving not rolled around, neither had Halloween! These past few months have not only been the most challenging months of my life, it’s given me a whole new perspective on how I view things. I realize that life isn’t about the material things we acquire or the amount of money we have, the gifts we give others during the holidays, it’s really all about family and the people we love. It’s how we choose to live life.
Four years later, I began seeing Christmas decorations the first week of October. The holiday season has taken on a whole new meaning. No longer is it about being thankful on thanksgiving or being surrounded by family on Christmas morning, it’s all about the material things. Being diagnosed with cancer comes with so many negative challenges but it also has a positive impact on a persons life. Cancer can really change a persons perspective on life. It is a realization of what’s really important. My friend in North Carolina send me a quote yesterday that she saw at a cancer unit. It said “you’re going to want to give up……DONT!!!” Fighting cancer is tough business but the silver lining is you become more aware of what’s important. More often than not, living and spending quality time with family is what becomes more important than waiting in line to buy the perfect gift on Black Friday. Family is what gives a person the inspiration to not give up!
I have a very humorous personality. I love to laugh. I especially love those who make me laugh and I love any comedian who is funny. I love Ellen Degeneres. She’s hysterical. Will Ferrell. Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler….the list goes on. If you’re funny you have a place in my book. I was watching Jimmy Kimmel last night. He’s a riot. His monologue was hilarious. He poked fun at everything including Thanksgiving and Black Friday. He said he felt it was inappropriate to make people work on Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that you should spend with your family. He went on to say that even more disturbing were the people who set up camps on a sidewalk on Thanksgiving to be the first in line for Black Friday. He had a stellar idea. Jimmy’s idea was that those who felt the need to camp out on a sidewalk over night in preparation for Black Friday, should open their homes to all the homeless people so they had a warm and cozy place to sleep. Now I have to admit, I found myself laughing but the truth is I laughed because it was true. That’s how silly we’ve all become. A homeless person would give anything not to sleep in a tent on a sidewalk, while we would be willing to do it for a “good deal”.
There are so many homeless people in San Francisco. My heart sinks and my stomach hurts every time I’m in the car and I see people passed out or I take my walks and I pass these people on the sidewalk. Some are homeless not by choice. They’ve experienced a job loss or a tragedy. Jimmy Kimmel’s joke last night was funny but if you think about it for a few minutes, it can really put things in to perspective.
Thursday will be another Thanksgiving I won’t be spending with my family. It sucks. I wish I was. These days Black Friday isn’t even on my list. Being surrounded by family is the only thing that I think about. I met with my radiation oncologist last Friday. I was surprised to hear that I will need 36 radiation treatments opposed to 30. He wanted me to start right away. I have opted to start the 7 week ordeal after Christmas. I’d like to go home for the holidays and spend the time with my family. Somehow, that’s more important to me than anything else including Black Friday. Today I have my planning appointment along with a cat scan to prepare for the 7 week ordeal. I have a long year ahead of me, not to mention 5 years of keeping my fingers crossed. I hate having cancer but in some ways I’m grateful for the experience and the new perspective it’s given me on how I view life. Everything I thought was important is no longer in the forefront. Living is along with the love of friends and family and the quality time we share as we go through this thing called life.
This Thanksgiving, focus on the things you have to be grateful for. Focus on the time you are lucky enough to share with your family. Everything else is just stuff. That includes that great deal you’re waiting in line for on that very popular day that has become the biggest day of the year…..Black Friday. And if you can’t resist the biggest shopping day of the year, then take Jimmy Kimmel’s advice. Open your home to the homeless 😄.