In case you don’t know what the actual procedure of chemo looks like, it’s basically – and literally – a leash. This leash is a small clear tube that ties you to a pole. The pole holds bags of plastic poison which drip into you, slowly…..aggravatingly slowly…. for hours on end. As patient, you simply sit and wait till the bag is empty. Should you have to get up to, say, use the bathroom or get something to eat, the leash and pole go with you.
It’s a long, tedious process, the kind that gives a person copious amounts of time to think…
In chemo, the objective is clear: survive. Clear objectives make any work a bit easier; the more simplistic the concept, the more tolerable and manageable. All you have to do is get through it, with the rest of life ‘on pause’ as Deanna Pai of Cosmo describes it. You’re fighting for your life. You’re trying to fix your body. Sure, the treatment itself is boring, but it’s quite easy to focus on the mission at hand.
Eventually chemo ends, and you go back to work, back to being a spouse or girlfriend, back to gossiping with friends rather than talking cell counts with doctors. And as before chemo in life, the objective becomes unclear. What am I doing, in a bigger sense? What am I working toward? Why I am in this job/relationship/city/situation again? Things get muddled in a mix of everyday managed chaos, and it’s easy to lose focus on not only what’s important, but what you’re ultimately striving to accomplish now, and in the future.
Any big moves can bring about that sense of purposeful clarity: moving cities, changing jobs, starting a new diet. But something about the confusing, demanding, complex nature of ‘normal’ life makes it very hard to keep our eye on our moral objectives in a forward motion, don’t you think?
But chemo makes a profound case for the power of simple objectives: if we were able to sit, focused, diligently to better our bodies, we can certainly do the same for the rest of our lives.
The truth about Life:
We’re always working toward something, we just don’t always realize it. We’re always moving in motion toward one thing or another. Whether it’s numbness, or old age, or ignorance, or self destruction, or happiness, or a raise, or a boyfriend…we’re always working toward something. Our every move makes an impact on what will or won’t come our way. If we smoke cigarettes, we’re working toward lung cancer, for instance. If we eat junk food, we’re working toward diabetes or weight gain. If we let negative self-talk exist on our minds, we’re working toward depression. Being in denial of the work we’re committing doesn’t make it non existent. Big or small, everyday habits or one-time actions, it’s all going somewhere…
Thus the question presents itself:
If we’re not working toward better;
better health, better relationships, better joys, better contributions; what are we working toward?
If we’re not striving to be our best selves, what version of ourselves are we striving toward?
It’s a tough question. It’s the kind of cringing question that makes one really analyze what kind of missteps your committing every day. It requires that we become responsible for our lives. It requires that we be honest with ourselves. But it’s the only way to get where we want to be. It’s the only question that can lead us to our dreams.
This is the kind of cringe worth every bit the uncomfortability. Don’t shy away from this kind of self-improving work. It’s unlocking the gateway to our greatest potential and best lives possible always worth the work?
Dissected manageable areas:
- Friendships, relationships, and colleagues. Are you bringing the kind of team-player and partner that will help them be better too? That you will be proud to have been when your life ends?
- Work, contributions, hobbies. Are you building the kind of legacy and lasting memory that will help people live better lives after you’re gone? Are you making something new and beautiful in this world?
- Health, and body concept. Are you respecting your body? Are you cherishing it, treating it will, giving it what it needs? Are you strengthening it or damaging it?
- Individuality. Are you being brave enough to express who you truly are through your actions? Through your wardrobe, your art, your interactions, your demeanor?
And, most importantly, what changes can you make today, this week, or this month to better these areas and begin on a path toward not just better, but your BEST?