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Some things make me sad - the ones that matter make me happy

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Lynne D. Schwabe Lynne D. Schwabe
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Lynne D. Schwabe was owner of Schwabe-May of Charleston, ran her own marketing consulting firm and is a nationally recognized motivational speaker. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Women's Wear Daily, and has appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch. She is now director of development for the National Youth Science Foundation. She can be reached at schwabestatejournal@gmail.com.

When I went for my first yearly check up at Massachusetts General Hospital after having surgery for breast cancer, I was overwhelmed at the difference between my life and my surgical oncologist's.

It's true that she is a Harvard-educated doctor who has been on the cutting edge of cancer research for years. But I was thinking more on the level of what she does on a daily basis; she saves lives (mine included). Now, my day-to-day existance is nothing to sneer at. I happily raise money for significant science enrichment programs for students from all over the U.S. and throughout the world, which is no small deal. But, suddenly, talking to this brilliant woman, I was very aware that my life didn't involve curing cancer, brokering peace in the Middle East or inventing an inexpensive device to purify the world's water.

Amazingly simple things define my world.

There are things that give me pause:

 

  • Opening those increasingly frequent letters that begin, "Now that your skin is starting to sag."
  • Realizing that I don't know anyone in People magazine.
  • Having people only slightly younger than I am call me "Ma'am."
  • Working out like a maniac, only to have a trainer come up to me and say, "If you'd like to step up your workout…"
  • Dealing with not being able to see to apply eye makeup, with or without contacts.
  • Going to a lunch at which the main topic of conversation is about hearing aids.
  • Realizing that I am thinking "snuggling," while my date is clearly headed for a nap on the couch.
  • Getting up and realizing that everything hurts.
  • Being jealous because all the grandparents of my darling granddaughter live within driving distance, and I am five states away.
  • Losing 10 pounds.
  • Having my mechanic preface his conversation with me about my ailing car with, "I'm glad you're sitting down."

 

Equally basic things make me blissful:

  • Having an old boyfriend's wife still jealous of me.
  • Finding $20 in the pocket of a jacket.
  • Reading anything, even cereal boxes.
  • Trying on the skirt I wore last week and finding it an inch too big.
  • Skyping with my granddaughter and singing the "Hokey, Pokey."
  • Getting up and nothing hurts.
  • Being able to touch my toes, do downward facing dog or the sun salutation.
  • Preparing a really good dinner for friends.
  • Completing a five-mile hike.
  • Dreaming about the Hunky Guy.
  • Having someone actually listen to what I am saying.
  • Eating pepperoni rolls.

I suppose if I step up and actually cure cancer, broker world peace or invent the water purifying device that will make my day, too. Don't hold your breath! In the meantime, I'll be having fun, practicing my Hokey, Pokey.