Munira Premji

2016-12-21-020I am a Type A personality – competitive, an overachiever, ambitious, impatient.  Anything that slows me down or keeps me from getting things done irks me.  Waiting in long lines, rambling meetings with no purpose, cumbersome processes —  these are things that drive me nuts.  Over the past few years, as I have grappled with first one, then two and now three cancers, I have noticed a significant shift in my personality.  I have been forced by the universe to learn to be more patient, more Zen-like, more relaxed, more accepting.

I notice this particularly in my work-out regimen.  Each time I enter Goodlife Fitness, I brace myself, take a breath and park my Type A personality at the door.   I am definitely the worst in the workout classes.  I don’t follow instructions very well and more times than not, do exactly the opposite of what the instructor wants me to do.  If I am supposed to lift my right leg, I will invariably lift my left leg.  Thank goodness, I am not an octopus, otherwise God knows what leg I would raise!  I have no style when it comes to working out.  Nothing comes gracefully.  Everything is painfully inelegant.  And it doesn’t matter how many times I go to a fitness class, I don’t seem to get any better.  I am the one that the teacher will call out most in the class because I am not displaying the right form.  I have noticed that strangers in the class will often show me what I am supposed to do because they notice I am not doing it correctly.  In one situation, an individual figured I did not speak English so I could not understand the instructor.  Each visit to the gym is a humbling experience for me.

In the past, I don’t think I would have handled this embarrassment very well.  I would not even try If I could not be the best.  Perhaps it was being a perfectionist.  Perhaps it was ego.  This time, though, its different.  I have become somewhat addicted to working out and love how I look and feel after.  My Aqua Fitness instructor commented that I have a smile from ear-to-ear from the time I start the workout until the end of it.  And she’s right.  Somehow, somewhere along the way, I am okay with being the worst in my class, not comparing myself to others and not worrying about how others see me.  I now focus on competing with myself and being just a little bit better each day.  What is more important to me is that I am in the game, trusting my body and doing what feels right for me.  In the process, I have become more accepting and understanding of others.

Cancer is a hard taskmaster.  It is a gift that comes wrapped in a barbed wire.  When I look back, I regret how many times I hesitated doing something because I knew I would never be the best at it.  Today I no longer stay in this safe zone.  I throw caution to the wind, let loose and let myself have fun.  I dance every morning even though I have no rhythm.  I cook for the heck of it.  I try new things all the time.  When there is no fear of failure, life expands exponentially.  I wish this is a lesson I had learned a long time ago – what might have been possible for me?  Now I am more than making up for past hesitations.  Life is a theatre and I have decided to live in the front row of my life.



  • Diana Meredith , December 31, 2016

    Another wonderful piece of writing full of wise insights! You are so smart. happy New Year to you and yours. Love, Diana

  • K. Amersi , December 29, 2016

    Thanks for being an ongoing inspiration to your “followers “, Munira. God bless in 2017 and always.

    K.Amersi xox

    • Munira Premji , December 30, 2016

      I love hearing from you Karim Amersi – all the way from Vancouver! Hope the New Year brings you much joy and fulfillment!

  • anonymous , December 29, 2016

    wow, Munira we learn so much from your experience…however I feel the vibes that you are now done with all the difficult times and your life ahead is full of happiness, good surprises and all excellent outcome….I always have you in my prayers and thoughts…..keep up with the good spirits……

    • Munira Premji , December 30, 2016

      Thanks so much for keeping me in your prayers. I love your optimism and certainty! May the year ahead bring you happiness, good surprises and wonderful vibes!

  • hennagirl , December 29, 2016

    That’s beautiful Munira, and a good reminder, as I am also a type A!

    • Munira Premji , December 30, 2016

      Hello Hennagirl! From one Type A to another, may 2017 bring you much joy and fulfillment!

  • Anonymous , December 29, 2016

    Yam Mukhiani maa

    You are more than fine, you are marvellous , it is completely okay to feel that way , brain is fluid , emotions change,we react differently from when we were young and now, and you havebrought it up but you are blaming it on the cancer, I think the very fact that you are going through this battle is you are stronger and more resilient and are empowering others …

    “if you look down , you will never be able see the rainbow” I dont remember the name of the person who wrote that quote

    • Munira Premji , December 30, 2016

      I will remember to look up and see the rainbow! Wishing you a 2017 that is filled with joy and fulfillment!

      • Anonymous , December 31, 2016

        same to you, Happy New Year , we all need to have courage and need to be able to drive on bumpy roads , it is a bend not an end

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