525,600 Minutes, how do you measure, measure a year?

“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear.
five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure,
Measure a year?

In daylights?
In sunsets?
In midnights?
In cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man??”

When I was 14 or 15, one of my best friends would sing this song to me nonstop, blasting the catchy melody through the CD player in my formative years. At that time, I had never seen a Broadway, was a year or two out from falling in love with New York City and the most traumatic thing I experienced back then was some school bullying. Little did I know that nearly 20 years after the timeless Broadway classic RENT debuted, I would finally come to understand the lyrics to this song.

2017 was the worst and best year of my life. It was the most trying yet fulfilling. It was most painful with a side of healing. It brought so much love yet evoked so much sadness. It was traumatic but ever so beautiful. It was a year of so much juxtaposition that at the end of it all, I am sitting in a beach cabana admiring the incredible aqua waves, in absolute numbing disbelief of the last five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.

In those 525,600 minutes, I went to hell and back. Some were the slowest moments of my life and I thought I was going to drown in the darkness. Yet others were filled with so much joy that they made my heart hurt in the best way possible. Those moments always pass in the blink of an eye, but I managed to collect an insane amount of them. Hindsight is always 20/20 and as I reflect back on this past year, the memories are surreal. I remember each trying moment vividly but yet it feels like it all happened to someone else. Proof of the last year however, is etched in me. The scars, the hair regrowth, the ongoing daily battles of both mental and physical side effects. It’s all still there, like a shadow. But I’m alive. I survived.

My pink boxing gloves are well-worn from battles with some of the ugliest things a person can experience. However, I strive to continue making something inspiringly beautiful out of those experiences to share with the world. This New Year’s Eve, I’m thankful for the dawn of a new year and dare to be hopeful towards the future.

To my loving parents, who selflessly carried me through.

To my incredible friends, who flew in from all over the world just to make sure I was and never felt alone through treatment.

To the best company in the world. I really am here for way more than the free food.

To the best breasties/survivor community – together, we absolutely can and will.

In Laughter

In Love

In Tears

In Hugs

In Pain

In Scars

In Fear

In Darkness

In Sunrises

In Sunsets

In Waves splashed

In Toasts

In Friendships

In Success

In Faith

In Prayers

In Hope

In Recovery

In ABSOLUTE AWE

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes.

That is how I measure, measure a year.

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