Thursday, April 14, 2016

It just is

Two weekends ago I headed up to Madison, WI and attended the Midwest Young Adult Cancer Conference.

It was a one-day affair and I had a good time.

I learned a few new things, and connected with some great people. For me, connecting with others was the highlight of the day for me and it's highly probable that I'll attend it again next year.

That said, part of the day was hard fro me.

I was surrounded by people who also had cancer. Who were in my age range. Some of them also parents, some of them not. It's good for me to get time with a wide range of people who are in similar boats as me. It's therapeutic for me.

It's why I try to get out to local Stupid Cancer meetings and YSC meetings.

At the end of the month, I'll be flying to Denver to attend CancerCon as well.

There are too many moments of the day where I feel isolated and different.

At my core, I know that I'm not - I'm surrounded by a fair amount of people who try to understand, who are caring, and sympathetic. It means a lot to me. But it's another thing to talk to someone who knows what things are like verses someone who is just trying to imagine what things are like.

I come home feeling more normal, feeling more okay with things, and with a wee bit of energy.

Except sometimes I don't. Sometimes I walk away and I feel stuck.

And I hate it. It's uncomfortable. It's unpleasant. It's hard to face.

So on Saturday, in the midst of all the goodness of the day, this feeling of stuckness was thrown into the mix as well. Frankly, this wasn't the feeling I was anticipating dealing with.

But I sat in it for a bit. Instead of ignoring it, instead of burying it, instead of just wishing it away, I sat in it.

Turns out, it wasn't actually that bad.

I mean, it's probably not great. But it's not really bad either. It just is.

It just is.

Okay, maybe I'm still working on convincing myself of that. But I think it's worth  convincing myself.

So with all these thoughts flying around my head, the rest of the conference went really well.

At the end of the day we did a little wrap-up activity in which we wrote what we had expected to learn there and what we did learn. After all of that, we were challenged to write some sort of wrap-up in a 7 word poem.

7 words.

I admit I was stumped at first, but it came to me.

Short. Sweet. And it hit the point.
At the last minute, I altered it a bit.
I think it's perfect.
This is what I'm holding onto moving forward.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

What comes next?

Chicago at Night
Chicago at night
What comes next?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
I've got one daughter two years away from college. One daughter who is a year away from entering high school (and ending homeschooling). One son who is three years away from making the homeschool-to-public-school switch. This means there should be an eventual return to the work force for me. We're renting a house now. We'd like to buy and soon. We'd like to buy this house. I'm not sure it's in the cards for us financially (see: one child 2 years away from college with a sibling to follow every three years thereafter).

In the next several years, there is going to be a lot of change around here. Not that it's all bad. I love watching my children grow. I love seeing where their paths will take them. While I'll miss my daughter should she go away for college, it will be exciting to see how she picks her school, what she picks to major in. There will be lots of milestones to celebrate, holidays to be together for, birthday parties.

Still. I sit here and wonder what next?

And if I'm being completely honest, the truth is that's what I've been asking myself for the last 5 years.

Cancer. Well, what next?

I still don't know. I still haven't figured it out.

Sometimes I think I'm on the verge of figuring out. Something happens, I feel moved, the excitement blows up like a balloon. But always, always, a pin comes a long, pops that balloon, and I'm left there with lots of uncertainty. Lots of anxiety. Lots of worry. And lots of worrying about what the heck I'm supposed to be doing. Because I just don't know.

I'll tell you something else. I'm really, really, I mean really tired of it all. I'm just tired of it.

How has five years passed and it still feels like just yesterday I was told that I had cancer. Because it just doesn't seem to make sense in my mind.  And this whole time I've been wondering what's next.

You know what I think I realized though? It's not anything about what comes next. I've spent the last 5 years looking for the wrong thing.

It's not about what's next. It's about what's now.

This moment.
Right now.

So I'm trying.
I'm really trying.

It's going to take me time. I wish I could rush and just be where I want to be. So I'm going to try to be patient and, as the cliche goes, take it one day at a time.