Long time no talk blog. There have been plenty of Short Thoughts happening, but alas, very little time to actually jot them down on the innernetz.
I’m taking it down a notch. I want to keep writing, but I’m not sure I can be so full of advice, insight and LOLs as I started out. So for the meantime, I’m going to share exactly what this blog started out as I guess – my thoughts! And one day I’ll get my shiz together and start spilling out #lifelessons again.
It’s a sunny spring Sunday – one I’d normally take complete advantage of. I’d be hanging out washing (oh the smell of that sun-dried laundry!), getting the house cleaned and lying in my hammock thumbing through my stack of wedding magazines (OMG! YEP! But another time for that…). But on this particular Sunday, I’m sitting in bed with the curtains closed, Antiques Roadshow on the TV and my man snoring quietly beside me, all before the sun has even considered going down.
I have had the most deliriously exhausting and exhilarating weekend of the year. Weekends like this happen rarely, thankfully, because they drain so much energy and emotion from me that since I got home at midday, I’ve managed to sleep and eat leftover Indian takeaway – and I’m actually impressed at my ability to work the microwave in this state.
Hope. The one word that sums up my weekend.
If you’ve never heard of Relay For Life, it is an event where people come together in teams and take part in an overnight relay; they keep their baton circling the track for 18 hours to represent the journey of someone living with cancer. From the darkness of diagnosis and the battle they face, to the new light at dawn representing hope and recovery.
This was my second year as Chairmanager of our committee and myself, along with my incredible Wonthaggi family, have spent the past six months planning for the event. It’s a huge project and to be honest, the closer we get to the big weekend, the more overwhelmed I feel and start doubting if I can actually make it through the night; promising myself I’m going to take a step back next year. But then suddenly I spend two days surrounded by the biggest ball of emotions I’ve experienced yet and I can’t wait to do it all over again.
The whole event is a rollercoaster. One of my jobs is to put together a photo tribute during a candlelight ceremony; a montage of photos from past events, cancer survivors and loved ones we have lost. There’s one photo included of my dear Poppy and I when I was a baby. He’s holding me up in the air and it’s one of my most favourite and treasured photos. I was a blubbering mess putting together the slideshow and still feeling fragile the morning, burst into tears halfway through practising my opening speech.
My Pop lost his battle to cancer 12 years ago. He never got to meet my youngest cousins. He didn’t see me graduate high school or university. He won’t be at our engagement party, or at our wedding. When I was 15, those milestones felt so far away, but now I’m living them and not having him here is just as hard as when we lost him all those years ago.
So this why I relay. I don’t ever want anyone to miss birthdays, Christmases, weddings, anniversaries and graduations. Heck, I don’t want them to miss a lazy weekend picnic for no good reason at all! This year, we raised just over $44,000 for cancer research and support services, so knowing we’re funding research that is finding breakthroughs in cancer treatments is worth every second of effort, every tear, every yawn, every ache we feel after walking the track for hours on end (or from napping in a camping chair at 3am!).
I came back from my break around 4.30am today expecting to find a few hundred tired people trying to get through the cold and wondering how they were going to last another five plus hours. Instead, I found people holding a disco inside their tent (lights and all!), the same people still power walking around the track from when I had snuck off for a snooze hours beforehand, children playing games, eating Milo and trying their best to pull an all-nighter, and people sitting around their campsites laughing, sharing stories and keeping one another awake with dad jokes and packets of jelly lollies.
I am so, so proud of our community and our committee for the amazing event they just put on. And you know, I haven’t said this out loud before, but I’m pretty damn proud of myself for being a big part of it. Sometimes I look at my life and worry I don’t do enough for the world – for humanity – and of course I can always do more. But I’m also doing pretty alright.