It should be easier by now. I should be able to get through a day of scans and results (lucky me that that is the same day) and the next morning, bounce back to my daily life with a renewed sense of purpose and industry. I mean, that’s how most people would do it, right?
I’ve never been like most people, though. I spent all week shunting ahead by an hour, a day, a week – the two-hour block of time I’d set aside on the calendar to get writing, reading, and my latest translation job (which carries, infuriatingly, no clear deadline) going. I found lots of distractions, which were even more shiny and distracting than usual.
But the truth is, it’s hard not to feel kind of lost. I take being a cancer patient seriously, as though it were my job. But I don’t have any work to do right now, except to take the pills that will hopefully keep the cancer at bay for longer than anyone could imagine. So if cancer is my job, I am currently, as my friend T likes to put it, with regard to lulls at work, “vacationing at my desk.”
I’m also a bit morose about the fact that at this time last year, I had a full-time job. I was working. I was leaving the house every morning without children, and with a Purpose that didn’t involve the kids, and at the end of the month, I was getting a Paycheck. I’m working now, at my little part-time job, but that’s a drop in the bucket. Not even a drop. Hardly a speck. The same with the translation jobs. I know that reorienting myself professionally will take time – particularly since my profession seems to be saying, in every job posting I read, that it no longer has a place for me. I don’t know if it’s the color of my parachute I should find out, or whether in fact I need a new type of landing gear entirely.
On Friday night, the kids asked me to braid their doll’s hair, a first. I did my best, which was good enough for Young J and Young A. They wanted a doll to play with, but they have none of the exacting expectations of how she should look that more committed doll owners would have. Mostly, they like dressing her and making me fix her hair, and then putting her back to bed, in their closet, where she sleeps peacefully in her box for weeks at a time. I enjoyed playing with Barbies when I was a kid, and it offered great opportunities for DIY, because I didn’t own all of their pink accoutrements. This doll (a family hand-me-down) is much bigger, and all of her accessories seem to be just so, and there are stores and mail order catalogs full of things she might need. She leaves me cold. The boys like her.
In an effort not to lose another week, I have not only made a to-do list for this week, I have set goals. That might not seem noteworthy, if you are a person who has done that sort of thing all your life, and thus have that impulse well-calibrated. For me, it’s a departure. (My old self is standing on the other side of Security, wondering why I have to go.) I have planned all our meals for the week, and have my grocery list ready to go for tomorrow morning after the gym. If I can’t leave the house with a purpose, heading out to a job, I can at least try to do my job more professionally.
It’s worth trying, anyway.