37

Today is my birthday. I turned 37, which is kind of hilarious to me because for the last 6-8 months or so I thought I was already 37, and had to be convinced that today was not in fact my 38th birthday. I know that as a woman in the later half of her thirties, society says I’m supposed to feel shame about my age but fuck that. Every year of my thirties has been better than the one that came before. I feel stronger, more capable, happier, more settled, smarter, better with every year that passes. I walked past Poppy while I was wearing workout leggings earlier today and she reached out, smacked my butt, and said, “these biscuits look delicious!” (Well, “these biscuits yook deeee-yicious” to be accurate.) That is the energy I’m carrying into my next year.

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Waiting

My surgeon told me to expect the pathology report within one to two weeks after my surgery. Tomorrow marks four weeks since my surgery and I still don't have my results. 

Patience is not one of my strengths. When I want to know something, I want to know now. I don't want to wait, I find no comfort in "no news is good news," and trusting the system is something that's been slowly squeezed from me almost five years into this cancer thing. 

May will mark five years since my diagnosis. Five years is a huge milestone in the cancer world. For a lot of types of cancer, fives years means the risk of recurrence drops drastically and life expectancy raises significantly. Five years is a bfd. 

The logical part of me knows that having a recurrence now would be terrible, but so would having a recurrence at six years, or ten years, or twenty. A recurrence means cancer and cancer is terrible (even if it's a good cancer DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED). 

But the emotional part of me wants to get to five years. It feels like we've been working for it since the day I was diagnosed. I say "we" and not "I" because it's been a group effort. My family, my friends, people who used to be acquaintances, strangers on the internet, so many people have played a role in my recovery. I couldn't even attempt to list the numerous ways people have supported me and loved me as I've flailed my way through this. Not reaching my five year mark feels like I'm failing them as much as my body fails me. (I know, I know. But this is not the logical part of me, okay? It is the stay-up-all-night-the-night-before-surgery-and-watch-my-babies-sleep part of me.) 

And so I wait. Practicing patience, or at the very least, honing my fortitude until I finally get the results from my surgery. Laser eyes and positive vibes welcomed and appreciated.

Manulife #LifeReady Instagram Contest

Last week I wrote about what being #LifeReady means for me and my family.

This week, Manulife is hosting an Instagram challenge (and giving away cash money!). Canadians, this one is for you.

It's easy. Share a picture on Instagram of something you're saving for / dreaming of and use the hashtag #LifeReady (and make sure you're following @Manulife). That's it! There's $2,800 up for grabs! Full contest terms and conditions can be found here.

If you haven't taken the Financial Readiness Quiz yet, pop on over. It takes just a couple minutes to complete and you don't have to submit any personal information. It's a useful tool to check where you are in terms of being #LifeReady and what areas could use a little attention.

Manulife's #LifeReady Instagram ends tomorrow, November 6th, so get cracking!

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How #LifeReady is Your Family?

This post is sponsored by 360ACCESS on behalf of Manulife. The opinions are my own.

I had a pretty epic meltdown when I was pregnant with Grady. Shawn and I had some retirement savings. We had a (tiny) savings account. But we also had a large mortgage and a baby on the way. I definitely did not feel like part of the 28% of Canadians who consider themselves financially ready for life's changes.

Talking about life insurance and wills and guardianship in your late 20s is not fun or even remotely comfortable but it was necessary to bring a modicum of peace to my pregnancy hormone-addled brain. We did some research; felt like imposters playing "grownup" while discussing things like annuities and dividends and premiums with our advisor; and purchased life insurance policies that made sense for us and our growing family, hoping that we would never need to use them but knowing that their existence would provide some comfort.

Fast forward a year. I had just turned 30. I had a one-year-old. And I had cancer. I wasn't deathly ill. I wasn't camped out on death's doorstep. But I was facing multiple surgeries and treatment. Our "just in case" life insurance policies became an immense source of relief during a tumultuous time. Life felt out of control apart from one key area: my family's financial future should anything happen to me during treatment. Spoiler alert: I did not die. Shawn did not need to cash in my life insurance policy. But it was there. It was a huge wakeup call for me. Preparing for the "what ifs" and "just in cases" doesn't make me a pessimist. It makes me #LifeReady.

I'm not saying that one act of financial maturity has me feeling more financially savvy than I did four years ago. I took the Manulife Financial Readiness Quiz and scored a Readiness Level 3 which means I've definitely got room for improvement (which isn't a surprise to me). I find it somewhat reassuring to know that I'm not alone and there are plenty of resources available to me to learn how to prepare so my family thrives financially. If you're interested to find out how your financial readiness stacks up, the quiz took less than two minutes to fill out and doesn't require any personal financial information. It showed me where I'm weaker (investments) and where my strengths are (financial stress - who knew?) and a breakdown of areas where I can improve.

Shawn and I want to travel with our family. We want to celebrate birthdays and holidays without feeing pinched financially. We want to contribute to post-secondary education and weddings and down payments on first homes. All of this requires planning and preparation.

Genoa, Italy. Pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-children, when I had the funds to fly to beautiful places to gawk at the stunning architecture. We want to experience this with our family but it won't just fall into our laps. Brick by brick, dollar by dollar, we need to build a stable foundation for our family's financial future. We need to get #LifeReady.

Genoa, Italy. Pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-children, when I had the funds to fly to beautiful places to gawk at the stunning architecture. We want to experience this with our family but it won't just fall into our laps. Brick by brick, dollar by dollar, we need to build a stable foundation for our family's financial future. We need to get #LifeReady.

@Manulife is having a Twitter party tomorrow, October 28th at 9:00pmEST to chat about being #LifeReady. RSVP here and join us on Twitter for your chance to win over $2,500 in cash prizes.