Mortality Musings

Finding out I have cancer really opened up a lot of avenues of thought I've never really pursued before. Specifically, I have been re-thinking my priorities. Relationships take a front seat, that's for sure. Even though my cancer is in the early stage (stage 1), it makes the life I do have on this earth very precious. None of us really know how much time we do have. I have found some silver in the lining of my cloud. Finally some things are coming into better focus; things I should have paid more consideration to now have my full attention. Other things are moving into the background at a rapid pace.

I was snuggling next to my six year old niece the other day while watching the NASCAR race. She was trying to pick a new driver to follow (she's bailing on Biffle for some reason) and I offered to share my driver, Denny Hamlin. She liked that idea a lot. During this and other meaningful discussions with her, like what to name a kitten that she wants for Christmas, a thought crossed my mind. What if I knew I only had one year left with her? Ten years? Or only twenty? How would it change me? How would it change my relationship with her and others I love? The magnitude of that thought brought tears to my eyes. Normally I would shake it off and not even consider dwelling on such a morbid thought but this time I let myself. Immediately I teared up. How precious she is to me. How painful it would be for her to experience the loss of a close family member. Now, I plan on being around for dozens and dozens of years to come, but it did bring some poignant thoughts about priorities.

Climbing the corporate ladder - I am realizing my top priority is keeping a good job, not putting myself into a stressful one, or clawing my way through the anxieties of the corporate political game. I've been doing that for years and now I don't care so much. I just need a good, safe, well-paying job - with insurance.

Acquiring Things - Instead of spending thousands on a new couch or wall hanging, or purchasing the newest gadgets or updating our vehicles, the thought of spending that money to go places with my sweet husband and build memories with him are much more to my liking; his too. We both have found that our longer trips of 3 to 6 weeks build some amazing camaraderie and strengthen our bonds of love when we have that uninterrupted time together. Needless to say, we both are really craving that right now.

Time-Wasters - This one is a little harder. I have a lot of things that I do that are time-wasters: internet browsing (it's research, right?) and TV are the big ones. There are a lot of things I like to do that have sat dormant for a long time. I'd love to learn how to paint. I like to cook. I like to write. I need to exercise more. There are so many activities that I've pushed aside for the stupid time-wasters. I really need to get a grip on that and start living my more creative life.

I have always been very goal oriented; writing them down annually, both long-term and short-term goals. This process has been very successful in helping me achieve the things I want to. But I'm considering re-doing my list now that I think I have a much clearer picture of my life in general. Even though I'm not dying, waiting for diagnosis and prognosis for a span of 10 days makes you think about life and death. How would I live different? How should I live different? How would God want me to live? I believe His answer would be the same whether I had 1 week to live or 50 years still to go.

Now I just have to figure out what that is.

1 comment:

Rosemary Ochs said...

I know exactly what you mean. Ricky and I have shifted priorities as well, whereas we want our relationships to be in the right place and make sure that we live life to the fullest. The time wasters that your talking about have also become apparent to me through all of this. When you were diagnosed, the whole "cancer" thing becomes so much more real. We want to make sure that nothing in life is wasted.