#Delhi2013 – A Year of Homelessness Gives Birth to A Big Dream
As a kid, did you dream about your perfect life? The perfect husband (or wife) who had no emotional baggage or issues of his/her own, the curly haired (always polite) children, and the backyard rivalling any Home and Garden magazine spread? I know I did. But, here’s what I have learned in the space between my childhood daydreams and today:
Perfect doesn’t exist (at least not in the way stories and movies would have us believe).
If I had the life I had always dreamt of, I would not wake up in the morning wondering why 8am feels like 5am and I would not need to dig through my foggy mind to remember what city I am in before I stumbled, bleary eyed, to a coffee shop to settle in for a full Saturday of work.
Instead, I would wake up next to a man who unconditionally loves and supports me. Or more realistically, at the ripe age of 33, I would have woken up hours ago to the patter of little feet across the hardwood of our bedroom floor. By now, we would be immersed in the chaos of Saturday morning cartoons and pancake breakfasts.
Instead, I’m single, homeless, and a cancer survivor.
Powerful words, I know. But, for those of you who have read A Fresh Chapter for awhile, you know those words only tell a fraction of the story. I’m also a world traveler, an international volunteer, a hope revolutionary, a storyteller, and a big dreamer.
If I have learned anything in the almost 3 years since cancer banged his fist against my door, it is that even when you end up with a life far different from what you wanted, you always have the opportunity to create a new dream.
Over the past year, my Big Hairy Audacious Dream of building the Fresh Chapter Foundation has meant sleeping in 70+ beds in 50+ cities around the world. It has meant packing and unpacking a suitcase what feels like a million times, relying on the generosity of sponsors, friends and family, and watching the numbers in my retirement savings account sink instead of rise.
BUT…every single day, I am reminded of the power dreams have to create a ripple effect of possibility. This morning, instead of snuggling with a husband and wiping spilled milk off a kitchen table, I cried all over my computer in a downtown Toronto Starbucks. I’m sure strangers thought I had just broken up with a boyfriend, but these were happy tears.
Happy, OMG I am living my purpose, tears because a #Delhi2013 hopeful who had kept her cancer a secret for 2 years has decided to go public, in case her story helps someone feel less alone. Because another #Delhi2013 hopeful wrote to tell me about his metastatic cancer and why a trip like this will help him fulfill a lifelong dream of giving back, even if he doesn’t know how much time he has left here on earth.
I bet you would have boo-hooed all over your laptop too…
The last year on the road has shown me the beauty and richness of turning crushing heartbreak and adversity into a new story. It has made me believe that every day we have the chance to create new dreams; to believe in new possibilities; and to live in a way that inspires other people and gives them hope.
So, if you know a cancer survivor who might be able to find his/her dreaming spirit by joining us for #Delhi2013, will you please pass on this post: #Delhi2013: Are You One of the 12?. Tomorrow (Sunday) at midnight PST is the deadline for survivors to post or share videos about why they want to join us on the adventure of a lifetime.
It seems somehow fitting that I will be celebrating a year of homelessness by seeing how a little dream of mine has taken on its own life and become a Big Hairy Audacious Shared Dream.
To me – this full circle moment feels pretty damn close to perfect.