Sunday, November 25, 2012

Live Like You're Dying?

As my close friends and family are aware, a little over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IIC T4b Malignant Melanoma.  Since the day I received that news, I've been through a lot, physically and emotionally.  From diagnosis to surgery to interferon (a form of chemo-therapy) to worry, worry and more worry, it's been a long journey to where I am today.  Today, I am in maintenance mode - whenever someone finds out that I've had cancer, they always ask, "so, are you in remission now?"  That is, unfortunately, a difficult question for me to answer.  Because I don't know the answer to it.  In the madness that ensued during the beginning stages of this journey for me, mistakes were made and having known nothing about this specific disease at the time, I just tried to go with the flow as much as I could handle...and in doing so, things were overlooked, and my diagnosis was never able to be (and still cannot be) completed.  Since I stopped receiving treatment in January 2011, I have consistently had negative scans and biopsies...which is good news...but not conclusive news.  So I don't know.  I don't know what the future will bring for me, with or without melanoma.  I know that mine is a high-risk case and that the likelihood that I'll have a recurrence within the first 5 years of being treated is very high.  Two years in, I'm comforted to know that I have a rock-solid support system in my amazing family, and friends who don't pretend to understand, but will hold my hand through trying times and have shown me boundless love.  I am tremendously blessed.

With that as a preface, lately I've been struggling with deciding which choices I should make for my life, with the lofty goals of general life fulfillment and happiness.  Should I be a little more reckless and take more risks, or should I take on more responsibilities, settle down, and take the careful route?  I remind myself every day of how short life truly is.  I had an awakening at 23 when I was forced to face and accept my own mortality and shelf that old concept of youth and invincibility.  The question now is: Should that affect the path I take moving forward?  Should I keep on keeping on the path of carefulness, planning for the future long haul; or should I readjust to a course that's a little more carefree and in-the-moment?  I'm sure the answer to my own question lies somewhere between the two.  But how does one find that balance?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Alternative Social Sites

A friend recently brought my attention to two social sites that I had not yet seen or heard anything about:
This could be the Facebook "alternative", in that it allows users to create a free profile, gather groups of "friends," (anyone they know who also subscribes to the site), and interact with them via the web. It provides users with similar capabilities - allows you to create events, invite specific "friends" within groups as you choose, post comments, participate in discussion boards, etc. Ning takes what started as a way for college kids to connect with one another and orient themselves to their new environment away from home (Facebook), and puts a business/marketing spin on it. Ning allows users to create networks within their networks (very "Google+" -esque) and send direct-to-email mailings to specific groups, run branded ads, sell merchandise directly to a specified group of users. It seems like a great way to communicate internally with coworkers, externally with clients and soon-to-be clients, and sell, sell, sell! It is a platform for building additional revenue and monitoring customer relationships. Being a new tool, I think Ning will face some difficulties breaking into the mainstream. People of all walks of life are comfortable with Facebook and other mainstream sites, and don't want to leave those calm waters to try something new. I'll be watching this one to see if it catches on.
The LinkedIn "alternative". It doesn't look like it's quite fully developed from the website (I can't get a feel for how it differs from LinkedIn), but I'm curious - has anyone been successful with, or tried this?

Check 'em out! Are there any other social "alternative" sites that you know of?