How Do You Measure a Year?


 From an extramarital affair to cancer, the last 525,600 minutes of John Taylor’s life have been tough. But he’s going to remember it by all of the love that grew.

This month is very reflective for me. I’m looking back at the last 12 months of my life in great detail. Heartbreak, sorrow, shock, anger, sadness, fear. All words that come to mind when thinking about the last 525,600 minutes.

From an affair that nearly killed my marriage and caused me to leave my job, through a summer of tough reconcilliation and rebuilding, and into a fall full of sadness and uncertainty with my cancer diagnoses. Now we have made it through winter and into spring. A year has passed and as I look back, I try to figure out how to measure the last 12 months.

I measure it not in mistakes made, but lessons learned. I have learned how to be a better husband. I have learned how to be more understanding, more honest, and more devoted. I have learned to put my wife ahead of myself. Together we have learned the strength and power of forgiveness. We have learned the power of honest dialogue. We have become a stronger, more unified couple. We have rediscovered a love that has always existed, and is stronger than any enemy of our marriage.

I don’t measure the last year in tears, fears, sadness, and anger. I measure it in the true friendships that were by my side during one of the toughest times in my life. I measure the success against all pain and uncertainties. I measure it by the power of prayer, the strength of family, and the dedication of those in charge of my care. I don’t measure it in days lost due to treatments, surgeries, and hospital stays. I measure it by the days that all if those things allow me to have now.

The last year will not be remembered by regrets. It will not be a haunt upon my life. For that year is in the past, we are living in the now, and making progress for our future. We are not holding ourselves to the people we were. We are holding tight to the people we are, and raising out kids to hopefully be who we want them to be.

525,600 minutes measured in a lifetime of knowledge gained, lessons learned, regrets forgiven, and progress made. The last year of my life was full of negative events. But those events will not be the way I remember it.

How do you measure a year? By the way it changes you, by the way it raised you, and by the positive things it brought you. Measure in greatness, not in shortcomings. Measure in smiles, not in tears. Measure a year in a way that allows you to live another year that will be measured in greatness.


Read more by John Taylor:

Life After Cancer: The Suck of Survival

Catch You On The Flip Side

About John Taylor

John Taylor is a husband, dad of two, aspiring writer, and testicular cancer survivor. Better known online as "ThatJohnnyDude" you can find him writing in multiple places on the web about life and fatherhood, as well as a personal creative writing blog.


  1. John I like the point of view of this piece. It is an interesting perspective. My mum is going through cancer treatment. Well about to start. Do you have any advice or know of any resources to help her to support her (other than just being doting children 😉

    • The best advice I can give is to be informed. Check out American Cancer Society or the Livestrong websites as they are both good resources on a wide variety of topics related to the fight against cancer. Get informed about the different medications, chemo drugs and side effects (if she’s having chemo), and be there with as much love an understanding.

      One of the best things for me was just being surrounded by people who smiled, people who gave hugs, and people who just generally showed love, understanding, and a sense of humor. Staying positive during the experience is hard, but having positive people around you make it so much better.

      I will be saying a prayer for your mom and hope that all turns out well in the end!

      Thanks for checking out the post!

  2. Hi John, sounds like you went through some hard things and came out on top. But it’s hard to relate to your piece for me personally. Sometimes it’s easier for people to connect to your experience when you really dive and take us through your experiences. But with this piece, you touch on the trials and focus largely on the outcome. Which sounds like a positive thing for you, and I’m glad it is. But we don’t get to see much of the journey that led you to that place.

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    • Hello Erin! This is the third time I have tried to get a reply to go through. Not sure what’s up with that, but hopefully this is the charm.

      Thanks for checking out the post and your honest on being able (or not) to relate to it more personally. If you look back through some of my other posts on here as well as my blog, you can read more about the details of the events that I mentioned in this post. I didn’t do a whole lot of writing during those times and a few times stepped away from social media all together.

      The main reason I didn’t go into detail in this post was to put the emphasis on the outcome. That despite the fact many negative life events have occurred, it’s not the events themselves that will define who I am a year later. I just wanted to show people that it is possible to turn negative events into positive and character building lessons. That it’s the lessons learned that define us, not the events that created the learning opportunity.

      Thanks again!

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