Hanging ten

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Big Wave Surfer at La Perouse, Maui, Hawaii, by Dennis Dore on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

All is good here. Better than good. Gnarly, you might say, if you were the type of surfer who said things like that. (Are there other types of surfers? Does anyone say gnarly anymore?)

Last week was the week of doctor appointments. This week has been all about cooking and eating and vigilance surrounding eating. I’m doing well on my diet and this week ratcheted up the exercise by a power of ten. Which means come evening I’m exhausted, but the good kind of exhausted.

Suddenly, the kids’ homework has shifted into high gear (mostly Young J’s – Young A is still young enough to find his homework amusing and unchallenging). There were some rough patches this week surrounding that. I guess it will be my job to smooth those over, come up with a system or a structure or a schedule. I’ve never wanted to be a manager, yet catch myself increasingly in postures that can only be described as managerial. Maybe I’ll name myself Acting Director of the household. I like the impermanence of that title. That it is a finite thing. Finite not because I think I’m going to die in office, but rather because my guidance won’t be needed forever. I hope.

I think I’m getting much better at inhabiting two worlds. One where there is nothing wrong with me at all (and truly, it feels like there is not), and one where things can go from bad to worse to… over.

This sounds pretty horrible to anyone who hasn’t been in a similar situation, I know. But given I don’t really have a choice? Why not just proceed as though it will be fine? Find new recipes, get through that huge stack of books, pay those bills. Even my shrink today told me I seem to be doing well. I needed that independent confirmation.

In just over two weeks’ time I’ll have my next MRI and CT scan. I’m not overly focused on them. They happen, and I get the results, and based on what I hear, I get to keep on keeping on, or else prepare for some new chapter. It doesn’t really bother me except in small and ridiculous ways, like, “Do I get the monthly membership at the gym, to save more money? Or do I just keep buying the ten-class cards?” Yes, I really think that way now. As a matter of course.

I hate the phrase “the New Normal,” which I think made its appearance after 9/11 and has been overused ever since, but… I don’t have anything better. (The New Banality? The New Mortality?) I have or don’t have cancer. Either way, as Voltaire wrote in 1759, in Candide, “il faut cultiver notre jardin” – we must cultivate our garden. We must renew our gym membership. We must plan meals for the week. We must make plans.

And in the words of Close Lobsters from 1987, “Let’s make some plans, let’s make some plans, let’s make some plans let’s make some plans, Ah, wa-oh, wa-oh, wa-oh…”

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