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All IN or all OUT

Dawn in a lavender fieldWhen asked to write my blog a couple of months ago, I’m like, “Yeah, I can do that, no problem!” A few days before deadline and a friendly reminder in my email, I wondered, “Why I didn’t do it right away?” When thinking about it, I realized I’m one of those people that think, “Why do that now when I still have time and can do it later?”

I’m an all IN–get it done or an all OUT–maybe later kind of gal.

Prior to December 23, 2013 I never said no, rushed through my day, focused on others and my boys. The twins are now almost 24 years old, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer that December day, they were still in high school and ran circles around us and our lives. Yes, that is the season for craziness, but I never found a balance. When your doctor calls and says that your biopsy results show malignant, fast-growing breast cancer, your heart stops and spins. Crap! Am I going to die? How much time do I have left? How do I tell my kids, my family, my friends?

Okay, breathe–I can get through this. For the first time in my life I had to take care of ME. Do what needs to be done immediately and get the cancer out and do treatment. Phew! I’m all IN for that. Got that done.

Next, take a look at my overall health. Yeah, I’m all OUT, was my first thought. That would mean I have to eat better, exercise and get my blood pressure under control. That seemed like a lot of work on ME.

Slowly, with the motivation of not wanting to be on blood pressure medications and not wanting cancer to come back, I decided to hire a wonderful personal trainer and get a membership at a fitness center. Baby steps, right?

The next big thing for me was to say NO to people. It’s okay, you don’t have to feel bad about that. It takes some getting used to, but now that I’ve said the word a few times, it’s not so bad, after all.

I do live my life to the fullest, or as some people say, “100 percent.” It can be all IN moments where I’m doing things I enjoy with the people in my life that bring me JOY. It can be all OUT moments where I just say NO and throw on my comfy clothes, lock my bedroom door and don’t talk to me. This does bring me joy, not guilt. Anyone that knows me I love going to music concerts. I know now what makes me happy: it’s the all IN, get as close to the front of the concert as you can; and it’s a totally OUT for the nose bleed sections. It’s the littlest things that you realize about yourself and the littlest changes you can make to create joy.

Find balance and life comes together very nicely. Go from being too busy, life spinning like crazy and take a deep breath every now and then and refocus. It may take a day, a week or a month to find that balance, but be all IN and just do it!

The picture I have sent is a moment that reminds me to stop and smell the lavender. It was taken in Door County and it was time away from a busy summer managing a resort. I was taking time to leave the resort and go somewhere else, and take in the moments of life with my wonderful husband—who was by my side when life made a quick turn with a cancer diagnosis. Making the decision to be all IN at Door County and be all OUT at our resort was the best one because it all came together and made for a very memorable time away.

From a first-time blogger who is an all IN or an all OUT kind of gal—

Dawn Ward
Balsam Lake, WI