on birthdays {9/52}

When I was (a little bit) younger, used to be that I’d absolutely LOVE my birthday. I’d have a full on birthday week. All birthday, all the time. Party, party, party.

And then I got (a little bit) older, and birthdays started to take on a new meaning. It meant another year older, more wrinkles, more hair dye … you get it, right? Birthdays – ugh.

But this year, well, things are different. I’m re-evaluating my stance on birthdays.

Since this time last year, I’ve

Quite a year, right?

On February 8th, I did my last session of chemotherapy. I had a CT scan last week and won’t have the results of that until later in March, but by all accounts – dare I say it? – things look pretty damn good.

This year, I am quite grateful to see another birthday. I am beyond thankful to just be here.

J is for ...

Forty-three this year. You’ll likely never hear me admit to that again.

I struggled with this self-portrait. Is it a true representation of me at this time? Nope. That’s not my hair, my eyebrows are penciled in … hell, those aren’t even my eyelashes. The bags under my eyes? Yeah, those are mine.

The point is … this is the me I present to the world on a daily basis. I get up, get ready for work, put on my makeup and hair and off I go. The saying “look good, feel good” just couldn’t hold more truth and it’s one of the things that has gotten me through this little battle I’ve been waging. Confidence is a mighty sword and on days when I’ve felt it would be all too easy to give up, hide in a corner and feel sorry for myself, this little ritual has got me up, got me going and kept me moving forward.

So again, is this a true representation of me at this time?


It’s the me that’s kicked some pretty good ass all year and come out on the other side, still smiling.

Me, at 43.

Me, happy to say that yes, it’s my birthday.


2012! are you in?

Hosted at twoscoopz! You can visit or join the focus52 flickr group here. My own focus52 project can be found on flickr here or by clicking ‘my f52’ in the category list to the right.

  • Sue
    Posted at 16:49h, 04 March Reply

    You’re gorgeous! Not the hair, not the eyelashes, not the penciled in brows – What I see is determination, the willingness to fight through the tough times, the victory in those incredible eyes, the knowledge that life is fleeting and too precious to waste a moment of by feeling sorry and insecure. I see a woman who is brave and tough, but tender because she understands how fragile she can be if she were to lay down and give in. You’re beautiful because you are Jan, photographer extraordinaire, wife, mother, friend, and vanquisher of self-pity. And you know what, the hair, the eyelashes, the penciled in brows look good because they are on you… It could never be the other way around! Love you!!!

    • janice
      Posted at 16:54h, 04 March Reply

      Oh hell SuzyQ … you just made me cry.
      You always, ALWAYS say the exact perfect thing.
      It’s friends like YOU that get me though. I hope you know how much your friendship and your constant encouragement mean to me.
      Love you right back.

      • Sue
        Posted at 17:02h, 04 March Reply

        It comes from my heart, Jan, and flows through my fingertips … Its the best we can do in this digital world, but to know my truest feelings, you only need to read the words. :-) XOXOXOX

  • shelley young
    Posted at 16:53h, 04 March Reply

    Jan, this is my very favourite post of all your posts! You’ve come out on the other side of an absolutely terrifying and challenging year and you look fabulous! I can honestly say that when it was your birthday I thought how grateful I was that you were here celebrating another year of, well…..your fabulousness! Love you, girl. xo

    PS. You have a great gift for writing…I love your heartfelt yet matter of fact way of conveying your emotions. Your voice is wonderfully appealing. :)

    • janice
      Posted at 16:57h, 04 March Reply

      Thanks, my friend. Flatterer :p
      I’m happy to be celebrating too!
      What a relief, to say the least.

  • Marga
    Posted at 16:58h, 04 March Reply

    Janice, maby it is to late but better late then never, congratulations with your birthday. I do hope for you that you can celebrate your birthdays for at least 50 years to come. This is a very good picture of you.

    Kind regards,

    • janice
      Posted at 17:00h, 04 March Reply

      Never too late!
      Thank you, SO much :)

  • Jenn Ovenshire
    Posted at 17:18h, 04 March Reply

    You are such an inspiration to me, Jan! Every day I read your Facebook posts and you have such determination and strength that it just seeps through everything that you do. Happy Birthday again, I hope that every day of every year you can look in the mirror and see yourself as the beautiful, determined person that you are.

    • janice
      Posted at 18:51h, 04 March Reply

      awww … thanks girl.
      And YOU have been wonderful with your whole hair thing and donating. Wow.
      I have to say, I really prefer the new ‘do! It’s so becoming on you!

  • Alison
    Posted at 17:54h, 04 March Reply

    Beautiful, fabulous, wonderful, conquering you! So so many happy returns of the freaking year, and here’s to so very many more.
    xxoo – alison

    • janice
      Posted at 18:52h, 04 March Reply

      “so many happy returns of the freaking year” made me burst out laughing!!!
      Too funny. And so exactly right!

  • Kim Lattimore
    Posted at 18:15h, 04 March Reply

    Beautiful, fabulous and all of the words that can be used to describe the courage and inspiration you exude in this self portrait. Happy Birthday, and a thank you for this venue to share and encourage on another in the things we do.

    • janice
      Posted at 18:54h, 04 March Reply

      Thank you so much Kim!

  • Laurie
    Posted at 18:26h, 04 March Reply

    Happy birthday Jan. This is a beautiful picture of you, regardless. You’ve been through shit this past year and I apologize for being slow with understanding all of it. I have a good clue what you’ve been through as my sister went through it years ago. It’s scary, it’s hell, it’s ugly! God bless you and I thank him that I’ve met you. I look forward to spending this next year with you. By the way, I have eleven years on you. It scares me how fast time flies, wish I could do my 40’s again. I think they’re the best! Enjoy them, I know you will.

    • janice
      Posted at 18:55h, 04 March Reply

      40’s have certainly been a mixed bag so far! :)
      Thank you, Laurie xoxo

  • Courtenay
    Posted at 19:23h, 04 March Reply

    I wish I could hug you… :)

  • mosey (kim)
    Posted at 00:54h, 05 March Reply

    those are BAM! eyes right there. Determined, vulnerable, strong, tough as nails but kitten soft. I am so glad to know you, and know that are you coming out the other side of your cancer battle with unbelievable grace.

    • janice
      Posted at 20:50h, 05 March Reply

      Thanks Kim! ‘Bam!’ made me grin :D

  • kirstin
    Posted at 02:45h, 05 March Reply

    That’s one heck of a year you just got through!
    And still the humour….which I adore you for! x

    • janice
      Posted at 20:51h, 05 March Reply

      Always! You go crazy without it ;)

  • Anapiscis
    Posted at 02:58h, 05 March Reply

    It’s sure this year will be much better! Be happy!

  • marina sorr.
    Posted at 04:07h, 05 March Reply

    congratulations, Janice, for your courage and determination and strength! thank you so much for this post and for sharing your story here and your beautiful self. your sincerity and courage are a very precious gift and inspiration. I am keeping you in my thoughts and sending very warm wishes of health and love and joy and peace for this and many many years ahead!

    • janice
      Posted at 20:51h, 05 March Reply

      Thank you Marina. I appreciate that xoxo

  • trasiegu
    Posted at 06:07h, 05 March Reply

    Sorry for being late!
    [there is a spanish saying: its better late than never, right?]
    I hope to see you around for at least another 43!!!! Happy birthday!
    [I am very bad at writing things, I would like to have the gift of writing nice things and in a nice way, but I am not a writer, hahaha!]

    • janice
      Posted at 20:52h, 05 March Reply

      It’s perfect!

  • Tavia
    Posted at 08:01h, 05 March Reply

    Way to go Janice ♥ I have learned a lot from you, thank you! Have a fabulous birthday dahling!!!!!

    • janice
      Posted at 20:53h, 05 March Reply

      Thanks Tavia!
      And I am constantly entertained with you and Biggs. LOL!
      Seriously – that last one with the legs in the air? I need it poster size :)

  • Barbara
    Posted at 13:32h, 07 March Reply

    Jan, I’m so behind on things lately and feel bad I’m late in saying “Happy Birthday!!” But I wish it from the bottom of my heart (I think we should celebrate birthdays all year long, especially after 40, and twice as much after 50!) You are beautiful and so strong. Thanks for giving us this place to share the beauty we find in life, and in doing so, find even more, like people like you! I’m hoping things will slow down for me enough to link up again but my days just fly by and I’m always a step behind. But I’m going to try harder!

    • janice
      Posted at 12:47h, 10 March Reply

      Don’t beat yourself up! Jump in whenever you like :)

  • Jan
    Posted at 14:24h, 07 March Reply

    You seem to be such a beautiful person inside and that’s what counts. You’ve taken care of the other stuff (outside) and might I say …you look very pretty. I really need to find out where you bought your wig.

    • janice
      Posted at 13:05h, 10 March Reply

      At a shop here in Toronto :)

  • Gwen
    Posted at 23:45h, 08 March Reply

    You look wonderful! And you’re coming out on top, you really are. I have the feeling that you’ll be seeing plenty more birthdays, and they can still be all about you. I’m glad you took the time for this self portrait, it’s perfect.

    Thanks for the fun prompt. I didn’t get a chance to get my photos blogged or in the pool in time, but I had fun capturing my J kids before the week ended. :)

    • janice
      Posted at 13:04h, 10 March Reply

      Thanks so much, Gwen. I’m hoping so!

  • mony
    Posted at 11:57h, 09 March Reply

    you make forties look A M A Z I N G!!!
    wishing you the best wishes!
    sending you light and love

    • janice
      Posted at 12:52h, 10 March Reply

      GIRL!!! where have you BEEN???!!!

  • Alex
    Posted at 00:27h, 10 March Reply

    I am so happy you’re here this birthday. And you are gorgeous underneath all you present to us. Xoxoxox

    • janice
      Posted at 12:52h, 10 March Reply

      Thanks Alex

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