A few years ago, I was preparing for a 6 months break to travel America in a rented RV together with my partner. I had that dream since I was a child and I kept postponing it from one year to another throughout my adult life waiting to finish various projects.
The project at that time was a third and final research year of an MSc course which stirred a lot of passion in me. Only that right on the day when the course was due to start my worst fears confirmed and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was unexpected, as I felt healthy and energetic, but despite my disbelief it was real. A very aggressive and rare type of breast cancer, combined with a genetic mutation and a poor treatment and survival prognostic that shattered my life instantly.
To tell you the entire story we need more than a blog post, but I will share the short version. That diagnostic can be a life sentence and, as I was only 45 at the time, I went through the shock, denial and despair without much external drama, but inside I froze.
I had to stop working and rushed the ending sessions with my clients before the treatment. I had to tell my peers, my supervisors, extended family and friends, and I had to move my life to the hospital. The chemotherapy, its side effects, the hair loss, the surgeries, the regular scans and investigations kept me busy for about 1 year.
It was tough, but at the end of that time a miracle happened. I was in a small category of women that had complete response to treatment and no spread to other organs, and I was fully cured. Of course the risk of reoccurence exists and there are no guarantees for any of us, but I was cancer free.
My initial feeling was a strong sense of serenity followed by confusion and an overall feeling of lack of direction.
At that junction, I went through another layer of self exploration to get some sense of who the new me was. Like most people going through such challenge in life, I found out that in many ways I was still the same person, but on some levels I changed, and my perspective in life was different.
Survivors of significant trauma need to rebuild their lives and adjust them to the reality of their new existence. I have done the same. I looked within and I asked my new self what gave me scope, what brought me joy, and what was my purpose in life.
At the end of that search, I concluded that I wanted pretty much the same things as before: to spend more time with my family and around my roots, to travel more and to continue to guide people make the best of their lives.
This is why I founded The Significant You as a platform to raise awareness, encourage self-exploration, reach understanding of self, others and the world, and gain clarity, personal growth and transformational healing.
In a world that changes so quickly and makes people follow trends, struggle to keep the pace with the crowds, and lose sense of themselves, I aim to use the The Significant You platform to encourage people reconnect with their real selves, discover who they really are and who they want to become, and guide them design and embrace lives they love living.
My story remains positive and America is still there, waiting for me to travel it. I wish I could revert the time and act on my dreams sooner… But I was only a great talker, encouraging others to live in the present moment, and sometimes failing to do what I preached myself.
Like me, many other people give up or postpone their dreams caught in the busyness of life. Every week in the UK alone 150 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Some come out of this terrible illness, whilst others wonder if they will still have time to fulfill their dreams.
Many other thousands will receive another cancer diagnosis or will suffer from other types of debilitating illnesses. They will put their lives on hold, postpone their projects and forget about their never accomplished dreams.
Inspired by them and my own experience, I am today even more determined to remind people that life happens right now, not tomorrow, not next week, and definitely not next year or in 5 years time.
So grab yourself from any angle you can, shake yourself greatly and awaken. It is time to live now, not tomorrow, next month or next year. Your dreams are waiting for you.