Learning that my mother has cancer changed everything. From here on out, I’ll think about my time in terms of life before cancer and life after cancer.
Before cancer, I felt that my work and my life took priority over my family. I used to wait days before returning calls from my mom. After cancer, I realized that every call I get from my mom is a gift I won’t have forever.
Before cancer, I had this idea that time was infinite. I have spent so much time doing things that are so unimportant to the grand scheme of my life that I don’t even remember them. After cancer, I view time as the most valuable thing in the world. I respect others’ time more than I used to, and I don’t waste as much of my own. Note to Adam: iPad games and Netflix are only rarely a waste of time.
Before cancer, money was constantly on my mind. Am I making enough? Am I saving enough? How can I make more? After cancer, I realize that while money is awesome (it really is) other things are even more awesome (they really are). I’d rather spend a few more hours sprawled out on the couch with my husband and my dogs than spend those precious hours on constant freelance work.
Before cancer, I spent way too much time worrying. For example, here’s a list of my current worries for today:
- How is my mom feeling today?
- Is my dad overexerting himself as her caregiver?
- I’m getting fat again.
- I said/did something I shouldn’t have last week.
- I said/did something I shouldn’t have ten years ago.
- I might be watching too much Netflix.
- I hope people like me.
- I hope people think I’m smart.
- Was that joke funny or inappropriate?
- What if I am worrying too much?
After cancer, I’m trying to worry less. I haven’t mastered it yet. But I’m hoping I’ll get there.
Cancer is teaching me to be kinder to my family and less of a jerk to everyone else, including myself.
The funny thing about cancer is that while it is simultaneously making life hell, it can also make you a better person.