The other day, a friend asked me if getting cancer has changed the way I live very much.
It has, in small ways:
1. I became vegan, I was moving towards it anyway but cancer definitely fasttracked me!
2. I have a lower tolerance for rude behavior, I no longer think it is funny to be mean, and I try very hard to be a better kinder more compassionate person. I recognize that everybody has struggles, you don’t always know what other people are going through, and it is always better to be kind even when somebody seems undeserving. This is not necessarily new, but it is definitely heightened.
3. I try hard to enjoy my life, to spend time with friends, to give my children and my husband more attention. Again, not necessarily a new goal, but a heightened importance.
So, I haven’t changed my life that much.
But the truth is the big things I’d really love to change, I can’t.
I would love to have a different job. I like the work I currently do in many ways and feel passionately about the work, but it is also very stressful. I did something else for eight months and adored it, I wish I could have kept doing what I was doing, but that didn’t work out. Unfortunately I’m not in a financial position where I can just leave my job, I have to wait for the right position to come up, and then hope I get it. That may or may not happen. It’s unfortunate because getting cancer (and experiencing this other job I did, that was completely different than what I normally do) has definitely shown me that I don’t want to live my life in a way that I am constantly stressed about my work, but I don’t really have much choice at the moment. I try to learn how to manage and cope with the stress, sometimes I am more successful at that than others.
2. I wish I had more time. More time for myself, for my family, for my friends. Again unfortunately it’s hard to make it happen. I work full-time and I have no choice about that. I try to fit exercise in my life, I don’t feel like I have much choice about that. There are things I have to do for my kids and home and my family, and I absolutely have to try to get a decent amount of sleep every night. There is just no room to find the time I wish I could have. One of the silver linings of going through cancer treatment was that I had a lot of time off work, and even though I spent some of it feeling pretty crappy, I still really enjoyed having more time to myself; more time alone during the week to (slowly) get things done so they weren’t all left for weekends, to read and watch TV. I now wish I could work part time, but again that’s just not something that’s possible.
So, getting cancer hasn’t made me change my life in any huge ways…but it made me wish I could.