You Haven’t Lost Time

I’m often hard on myself because I think I haven’t used my time wisely. I could work all day, and I still feel like I haven’t done enough. I’m sure we all feel this way. I suppose that is part of the human condition.

But my brain takes it a step further, and there are days where I feel as if I’ve wasted large chunks of my life — because I didn’t get serious and settle down soon enough. Although the judgment reached an all time high after the Lynch Syndrome diagnosis, I’ve come to this conclusion: These thoughts really are tiring… and boring.

While it might feel like a giant challenge or perhaps, even, not the best use of my time (according to whom, I don’t even know!), as NaNoWriMo 2016 begins this week (on 11/1), I am going to remind myself of a recent Gratefulness.org quote:

Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time.

— ASHA TYSON

I think I can safely say that the challenges I’ve encountered in the past two years — Lynch Syndrome, clinical depression, menopause — have actually inspired me to grab life by the balls and get to it. “It” meaning everything I’ve put off because it wasn’t the right time or I was too scared. Not any more.

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the question she asked, the answer I didn’t speak

It’s been nearly 2 months since my sister and I have spoken to each other. We aren’t fighting. I just haven’t found the energy, courage, bravery to speak to her since my nervous breakdown in August. We’ve texted a few times. She even sent me a birthday card earlier this month.

Today, my sister texted me and I welcomed the connection. Her text was brief and consisted of just one question: “So how does it feel to be 39?”

I am the same age as my sister (who is now nearly 41) when she received the diagnosis — colon cancer. We both have Lynch Syndrome, and earlier this year during my own yearly colonoscopy my doctor removed my first polyp. Thank God, it hadn’t even become pre-cancerous yet.

But when I read her text this morning, I froze. I choked (and choked up). I didn’t know what to say. Tell my sister everything is just great? Or speak my truth.

My truth is that I feel heartbroken. I grieve the loss of the health I once possessed. I grieve the loss of my mind as I struggle to rise above the depression and menopause. But most of all, I grieve the idea of the person I thought I once was.

I am learning to let go of the version of myself and the life I had constructed in my mind. The super human strength I didn’t possess. The shield and armor I suited up with to hide my fear and pain. [To be honest, that strategy hadn’t been working for a long time anyway.]

My truth is that I haven’t looked at myself in a very long time. I don’t mean in the mirror. That’s easy compared to what I am referring. I mean a long time since I looked inside and acknowledged the darkness I have been avoiding.

How does 39 feel? The truth is that it feels like I am entering the most challenging time of my life. And I need to learn to grieve and forgive myself and to stop numbing myself to the pain.

But I didn’t tell her all that. Instead I texted back: “The jury is still out. But life is looking up.”

[A related side note: Today I met with my therapist Dr. Jasmine and she shared an interesting The Atlantic article about the U Curve, which is another way of conceptualizing the proverbial midlife crisis. I am hopeful, as the article asserts, that everything I’m experiencing has come to pass rather than come to stay.]

[In response to the Daily Prompt: Waiting]