January 8, 2016: "Writing Your Story"

January 8, 2016: “Writing Your Story”

The meeting started promptly at seven. I was the keynote speaker, but I was not set to start my PowerPoint until 7:40.

I wasn’t nervous at all. Mainly, I was thankful that I had not overslept, considering I had set my alarm for 5:30 that morning.

The women went around the room introducing themselves and explaining what they did for a living. The woman behind me cheerfully said that she worked in the insurance industry. Gulp. I slid down in my chair a few inches and tried not to think of the slide in my presentation that showed my strong dislike for having worked in the insurance industry myself for eighteen years.

It was my turn.

I tried to explain to this group of women I had just met that when a person is handed a diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer at the age of 42, everything changes.

Why had I worked in insurance for over 18 years? I certainly didn’t have this big dream to do so when I was a kid. “Hm. I think my life’s goal will be to listen to people complain about their auto rates all day long and blame me when their coverage lapses because they didn’t pay their bills. That sounds like fun.”

In fifth grade, I wanted to grow up and write books. Period.

Was I happy with my life before that cancer diagnosis? You bet. While I hated insurance, I loved my boss and my co-workers. I was married to a great guy and had three healthy children. And yet, there was something missing. Where was that passion I had back in school when my fifth grade teacher read such wonderful stories to the class? I wanted to be one of those authors so that I could inspire others with my own writing.

I guess there is nothing like a death sentence staring you in the face to make you get your butt in gear and accomplish your life’s mission.

That’s what I tried to explain to these women.

Of course, after I achieved my lifelong goal of publishing a book, I thought I would die soon thereafter. The doctors pretty much said so. But, I guess God had other plans. Go me.