Honestly it has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me over the last couple of weeks. Not a big one, more like the mini roller coasters they set up for the small children. No huge drops, but rather an undulating course with shallower dips and valleys. The potential 'end' for this, or at least the end for now, has really thrown me for a loop. I've been very focused on the 'now' for much of this year. And suddenly I'm thinking of the future and am faced with upcoming months that possibly do not have a pre-scheduled plan. It feels like I'm standing in front of a dark maw, teeming with uncertainty, fear and the unknown. I've been sitting with fear in this time, coming to terms with it and relegating it to just one of the many emotions available on the shelf. I stepped off the ride a couple of days ago and am now moving to a more proactive period.
This excerpt from Gilda Radner's autobiography is a good way to share the sense of the mental space I had been occupying lately:
"It is so
hard for us little human beings to accept this deal that we get. It's
really crazy, isn't it? We get to live, then we have to die. What we put
into every moment is all we have. You can drug yourself to death or you
can smoke yourself to death or eat yourself to death, or you can do
everything right and be healthy and then get hit by a car. Life is so
great, such a neat thing, and yet all during it we have to face death,
which can make you nuts and depressed. It's such an act of optimism to
get up every day and get through a day and enjoy it and laugh and do all
that without thinking about death. What spirit human beings have! It is a pretty cheesy deal
- all the pleasures of life, and then death. I think some people just
can't take the variables; they just can't take the deal - that is why
they drink themselves silly or hide away or become afraid of everything.
Sometimes I feel like I couldn't take the deal - it was just too much.
Cancer brought life and death up close."
One of the things that has weighed deeply on my mind lately is the decision about whether or not to return to work. Before I left in March we put everything into place with the assumption that in about a year or so I would be coming back. I've kept in general touch with the office and more closely with some of my co-workers. It's been a difficult decision making process, as well as emotional. About a week and a half ago I finally got to it and immediately knew that it was the correct decision and felt a small weight lifted.
*drumroll please* I won't be going back. I decided that I would rather act as if I had less time than more. I want to continue to make the most of every day that comes, to have the freedom of time and opportunity, and get to filling up that passport. I was lucky enough to be granted social security disability and that allows me an opportunity that may not come again. I'm planning on spending several weeks off and on helping my sister out with my new nephew while she is on maternity leave the first two months of the year. And once I find out whether continued treatment is on or off the table, I can start making plans for travel.
I am looking at this like early retirement. More time for my hobbies and crafts, leisure time for seeing friends as often as I'd like, time for the daily exercise and nutrition that will give me many years of health. It is exciting and unnerving too. An entirely new phase and way of living. Another "new normal" to adjust to. Adaptation has always been one of my strengths. I hope to handle this transition with as much aplomb as everything else that has been thrown at me in this last year.