How to move forward

Why I've decided to live from 'This Day Forward'

When my boyfriend Duncan proposed to me after 13 years together, I never thought I'd have to run 26.2miles to pick up the wedding ring. 

But then, being diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 wasn't exactly part of the life plan either.

Back in 2013, I was a girlfriend who wanted to be fiancée and start ticking off those landmark events that life tells us will make us happy. I thought life's big events were designed to balance out the many meaningless days and blur of busy to which we all are subjected.

Big events, however, do not a life make. When you're bald, weak and trapped in a chemo chair with toxic drugs coursing through your veins, you can't dream about one day in the future. You dream about the small things you can control - the smile that made you smile; the scent of a candle you'd saved for best; the sunshine on your face. 

Memories are for making every day, not once in a while.

Throughout treatment, I never feared death. What I feared was that I would rush back to my old ways and forget to live. 

If I was to remember the little things, I needed to make sure I was reminded of them every day. This Day Forward covers the stories and the strategies for success that have helped - and continue to help - me see all that is beautiful in the world. I hope that by sharing the things that make me smile, you'll find a way to add a bit of happiness to your day. 

This Day Forward is a name that works for me on two levels. Today is the only day you know you have. It's the only one you can control. It's the only one that matters. You have 24 hours to make it meaningful. You have 24 hours to bank a bit of happiness to carry with you for those moments that will try to knock you off course.

It's never too late to get started. You just have to start. 

And then, of course, there's the wedding that's been on hold for three years (and that famous vow: 'from this day forward'). When you try to make every day special, it's hard to look too far ahead. So, we have decided to get married in a way that celebrates the moments we find meaningful. That's why we're getting married at 7.30am on the famous Cutty Sark, before running the London Marathon (Duncan loves running and I started during chemo, which for someone with a hip full of metal from previous surgeries is no mean feat). That's why we're having a thank you party back onboard the ship to remind all our loved ones to make time for adventures and to live a life with purpose. And that's why we're trekking a part of the Great Wall of China for our honeymoon.

Charity, health, happiness, kindness, achievement, love and friendship - each and every day, not once in a while. That's what matters, and that's what This Day Forward is all about. 

In my 20s, I thought I'd be married with children by 30. Now, in my 30s, I see happiness in every page of my gratitude diary, in every smile from friends and family, in every moment that reminds me of all that is good in the world. 

Happiness is hard won... but rarely forgotten.