Today is my anniversary. Anniversaries and birthdays are much more important to me now. They remind me that every day is a gift to be celebrated, and I want to celebrate every minute. Six years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Conquering cancer has been the most difficult experience of my life and one I wouldn’t trade for anything. It took a while to come to that conclusion.

It is impossible to imagine how radically life can change when you hear the words, “You have cancer.” Six years ago I wouldn’t have said, “Cancer was a gift.” Those words still are not easy to say. But the truth remains; cancer blessed my life in more ways than I can count. While focusing on relationships has always been important to me, post-cancer, relationships are all important. Spending as little time possible on daily, mundane tasks like filing papers, cleaning house, or paying bills is of utmost importance to me so most of my time can be spent building relationships. My goal is to accomplish daily tasks quickly and efficiently in order to spend time with my family and friends. Being able to greet my husband and children at the door when they arrive home and take the time to hear about their day is paramount. Taking time to sit with friends on the deck on a beautiful day is significant to building those relationships. These goals make it even more important for me to be organized.

Having a plan for everything is the key. As your mother may have told you, “There should be a place for everything.” Even though things may not always be in place, simply having a plan will make the recovery less painful. A plan for handling incoming and outgoing mail, papers and bills is vital; spend less than 5 minutes sorting when it arrives instead of 60-90 minutes after it’s piled high. Making time to plan the week is essential. What needs to be done, what should be done and what could be done daily should be planned in advance. Then, when life throws a curve ball, I’m better prepared to make quick changes. Menu planning is also a time saver. Making time every one or two weeks to plan the menu creates the grocery list and saves time deciding what to cook reducing last minute trips to the store.

Some might think this seems a little OCD or like too much work. Nevertheless, the time spent planning gives me the freedom to focus energy on building relationships and memories with the people who are most important in my life instead of searching for the lost item or piece of paper. Today I am six years cancer free! I am going to spend time with my favorite people making memories. I pray you will do the same.

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