In my formative years I used to start projects, get super excited about them, and then after they started to falter….quit. Sometimes I didn’t even get that far. The very IDEA of something would get me so excited that I would talk about it incessantly, as if it was already happening, and then when the logistics of the project became difficult, I would trash the idea without another mention…sometimes leaving people I had roped in to help me hanging without a clue. I hated that about myself and tried to curb my enthusiasm when ideas would come to me as I matured, thinking through the logistics and obstacles instead of leaping straight to the rewards.
Through these experiences though, I’ve learned a bit about how I function best, which seems to be in spurts of inspiration that involve projects with a definitive beginning and endpoint, that don’t take long, drawn out timelines to reach completion. I’ve learned that if things don’t come together quickly and organically, I quickly lose interest and move on. This is why running has been such a consistent force in my life since I rediscovered my talents back in the summer of 07.
Running is easy for me. I mean, it’s not EASY, but it’s easy for me to develop my success with repeated endpoints as goal races, or even on a daily basis as mileage or workout goals. Every day I had something that was an achievable goal, that was rewarding, that came to me easy, that was always building to a crescendo in the foreseeable distance.
But things are different now and I find myself having to re-evaluate my goals and endpoints in the face of the first CT scan, of which the story read a little more vague than I would have liked. Honestly, all I know is that a huge question hangs over my head…will the chemo continue to hold the tumors at bay and if so, does that mean surgery might be effective after 12 treatments….or not? Does this mean endless chemo treatments until the circumstance changes for the better or worse?
AND HOW LONG DOES THAT TAKE?
And what if, just what if, things go the “wrong” way and suddenly I find my time limited? What will I have thought about the time I’ve spent the past year in waiting? Will I have wished I had been doing more? Will I be satisfied with my efforts? Will I have regretted wasting time on projects with an end goal that far surpasses my cancer’s timeline? Will I wish I had ran more…or less? Ugh…so many open-ended questions.
And this has been my overall consideration the past couple of weeks. Suddenly, I’ve found myself inspired, to continue running and riding, yes, but also looking towards long-term life goals as if cancer is 100 percent curable, or never existed in the first place. I think about loving again. I think about my career. I think about my son. I think about my running.
And then I stop.
Because….is it worth it? Is it RIGHT to emotionally bring someone into my life that may be cut abruptly short, that may become incredibly tumultuous in the relatively near future? Is it really necessary to struggle with developing my design career aspirations, foregoing other experiences to settle down and make sure I’m set up for the…future that may not be there? Should I be planning a running comeback when I know the possibility that this may never get better, that my body may be so irreparably damaged that my hopes will be crushed when the time comes? Should I be engaging in easier to achieve experiences when I could be working to make plans to be with my son?
I hate being in this sort of limbo, where I feel initially inspired to live out various life goals, but hit a metaphorical wall when I think about the timeline involved and the huge obstacle that seems to sever that timeline like a sliced open artery, bleeding to death.
Then on the other hand, I am currently choosing to embrace each day fully and follow my passions and inspirations, whether that be my physical development, artistic motivations and even romantic interests, but then find myself faltering, forced to consider whether I should be more sensible and spending my time planning for the future, taking advantage of this open space in my life to prepare for a financially stable, emotionally grounded and physically superior post-cancer life.
But, ultimately, nothing is guaranteed either way at this point. There is no RIGHT decision to make in the face of a POTENTIALLY abbreviated life. I’d rather know one way or the other. Is it ‘just a matter of time” or does my span reach “average life expectancy”? That way I could at least make a plan one way or the other. I don’t like being left hanging. It doesn’t jive with my Type A personality.
For now, I really have no choice but to accept this swinging pendulum of uncertainty. I take each day as it comes, follow my passions in the immediate sense and look a little further out as far as it feels safe to do so…and then hope to adjust my expectations down the line. And this is the point where I could say, “We never know when it’s our time to go, so live every day like it’s your last”…but that’s stupid. We’d all be broke and depressed if we truly followed that advice. So, I’m not going to live recklessly, but also not excessively safe either. I’m just going to keep waking up and hopping on the swinging pendulum to see which way it takes me until the next CT scan results come in.
I can only hope my perceived timeline continues to stretch outward with a positive prognosis. Until then, I can keep running towards a future that is either defined or delusional…but at least I’m running.