What life’s misadventures taught me about blunderful resilience

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that life is awesome. It’s full of things like paper monsters, flaming tennis balls, epic toboggan races and surprise birthday parties that make you grateful to still be here.

And if I’ve learned anything else, it’s that life is awful. 

It’s full of stinging nettles and wolves lurking in the shadows. Mushy cauliflower and Bill Clinton’s security detail. Frying pans to the kneecap and BB gun pellets in the eye. And yes, it’s also full of things like cancer. 

But those tough times can also be opportunities for learning and growth. Indeed, I’ve learned more from adversity and tripping over my two feet than I ever have from a textbook. 

When I found out I had cancer and a 50/50 shot at surviving, I fell to pieces. I felt utterly outmatched and unprepared for the journey Dr. Merker said lay ahead of me.

But what I didn’t realize at the time was that a lifetime of simply blunderful experiences had equipped me with a slew of tools to help me overcome this obstacle.

Patience. Teamwork. Adaptability. Self-care. Putting in the extra effort. Like a collector of misadventure merit badges, I had acquired many important skills from life’s awesome and absurd moments — from peeing my pants in kindergarten to duct-taping a duffel bag to my brother’s back to getting launched from a shopping cart as it crashed into a fire hydrant. 

Thanks in no small part to those lessons, I am now a hundred per cent cancer-free. And although my journey with leukemia was a gruelling one, it taught me a lot about what it takes to get through life’s trials and tribulations.

I learned that life isn’t about trying to avoid the monsters and mayhem lurking around every corner. Because no matter who you are, there will be times when you’re faced with challenges you have no choice but to tackle head on.

No, the key is equipping yourself with the right tools, honing the right skills and surrounding yourself with the right team — so that you’re as prepared as you can be when those inevitable obstacles do try to get in your way.

Because in the end, it’s not the size of the problem that matters. It’s how we face it and who we face it with that makes all the difference in the world.

The End 🙂

Get the book!

Did you know? This resource is also available as a print book called “Simply Blunderful: A cancer survivor’s illustrated guide to flaming tennis balls, camping catastrophes and the many obstacles life throws our way.” Click here to learn more and order your copy.

click on a chapter below

Chapter 1 — The coin flip: What a cancer diagnosis taught me about life exploding into a bazillion pieces

Chapter 2 — The slip-up: What a puddle of puke taught me about asking for help

Chapter 3 — The Great Burning: What a million paper monsters taught me about things going up in smoke

Chapter 4 — The crayon candle: What the lamest science project ever taught me about putting in the extra effort

Chapter 5 — The Christmas concert: What starring as a tree taught me about finding my voice

Chapter 6 — The “Super Something:” What blood and glue fumes taught me about vulnerability

Chapter 7 — The dare: What wearing a clay helmet taught me about bad habits

Chapter 8 — The cannonball: What Meghan in the mud taught me about letting go

Chapter 9 — The fireball: What a flaming tennis ball taught me about nurturing imagination

Chapter 10 — The frying pan: What towel-snapping taboos taught me about pushing your luck

Chapter 11 — The haybale: What a tough day in the barn taught me about having someone to watch your back

Chapter 12 — The babysitting gig: What banshee babies and buttered butts taught me about failing forward

Chapter 13 — The sledgehammer: What a construction job taught me about using the right tools

Chapter 14 — The cement truck: What a misguided act of heroism taught me about good intentions

Chapter 15 — The valet: What a parking disaster taught me about overconfidence

Chapter 16 — The growl: What a wolf in the woods taught me about knowledge and responsibility

Chapter 17 — The shortcut: What a hike through stinging nettles taught me about cutting corners

Chapter 18 — The backpack: What a giant duffel bag taught me about band-aid solutions

Chapter 19 — The big freeze: What camping in a snowstorm taught me about knowing when to quit

Chapter 20 — The snowy gauntlet: What an idiotic bet taught me about redefining success

Chapter 21 — The Christmas tree: What a holiday hunt taught me about overkill

Chapter 22 — The BB gun: What my dad getting shot in the eye taught me about owning up to our mistakes

Chapter 23 — The toboggan hill: What sledding battles taught me about approaching problems from different angles

Chapter 24 — The train: What a trip to the big city taught me about self-sabotage

Chapter 25 — The mushy cauliflower: What dinner in France taught me about the power of words

Chapter 26 — The shopping cart: What an unusual ride to the bar taught me about control

Chapter 27 — The butt clay: What a muddy gully battle taught me about karma

Chapter 28 — The president: What Bill Clinton getting in my way taught me about adaptability

Chapter 29 — The Taipei middle way: What a hostile hostel taught me about moderation

Chapter 30 — The refugee camp: What volunteering in Ghana taught me about digging deeper

Chapter 31 — The bus ride: What a long drive through the mountains taught me about patience

Chapter 32 — The barn: What a Christmas sleepover taught me about keeping your fires stoked

Chapter 33 — The list: What farts and sandwiches taught me about gratitude

Chapter 34 — The birthday: What a surprise celebration in the hospital taught me about self-care

Chapter 35 — The goodbye: What a man named Frank taught me about luck

Chapter 36 — The bloody transformation: What going from negative to positive taught me about change

Chapter 37 — The school of hard knocks: What life’s misadventures taught me about blunderful resilience