After my last blogs on the teenage brain (a blog a long time in the posting), life for me at moment seems a bit like theory doesn't necessary work in practice!
“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.”― Albert Einstein
The theory was that I would stop smoking on the 1st of October but the doctor messed up my prescription, and despite reading the Alan Carr book, I do need the help of non-smoking products in place, so I am waiting for the Nicorette mist, have the patches and I bought an electronic cigarette – so the when I get my mist I will ready to start giving up – but whether that happens in practice is another thing altogether at all – and willpower will probably be more the problem.
I know quite a number of people who have stopped smoking for October – “Stoptober” including some friends so I know I have to do it, not just for my health, my son, money and for myself but also to support those who are also giving up this month – I've taken the first step going to the doctor about it – so I just need to take the next step …….
“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times. “ - Mark Twain
The theory is that I will start and take an exercise class one day a week, Zumba being the favoured one at the moment, but when I get home from work I have been so tired that I just can’t do it, and then my friend didn't contact me to go either. So will it happen – well maybe eventually!
“Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” ― Robert Maynard Hutchins
The theory is I will manage to get up earlier so I can be in on time for work – in practice usually there is some mini crises at home that delays me getting out of the door, or that the buses have all changed their ticketing machines which the bus drivers are finding difficult to get used to and operate so that all the buses have been late as people queue to get on, and I didn't get to work on time once last week.!
A funny story I heard from my friend on facebook this week – my friend is always running late, especially in getting the children to school on time. She went to a parents evening and met one of the teachers who was so concerned decided she was going to text her every morning to ensure that she got up and left the house on time to get the children to school. The first day the teacher texted to wake her up, my friend texted back to say she was up and received the text “now get dressed”!
“I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.” ― Charles Lamb
The theory is that my son and I will work out a series of chores which we are both responsible for – in practice I still end up doing everything myself or it won't get done, and I don’t always have the energy to do it all!
“I can’t clean house and save the world at the same time.” - Anonymous
I think what I am basically saying is that it’s all very well to think about what you are going to do, how you are going to it, but it’s the actual doing it that matters, and learning to be flexible - something is always bound to come along and spoil your plans. As far as I am concerned very rarely does anything work out how you want it to be, but as the saying goes :
“…… you end up in the place you need to be”.
For a long time now I have had different ideas of what direction I want my life to go in, but much of it is still exploring the theory without the practice. I tell myself to stop procrastinating but it does no good!
“The traveller was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing." - Daniel J. Boorstin
Next week is my breast cancer scan, and I am holding my breath in waiting to exhale. I am wary of making plans or looking forward until after this happened. In a lot of ways I am directing my life still by living one day at a time and, although this is not a bad thing at all, I do think I should also be looking at tomorrow, next week, next month, next year as well and have some longer terms goals. But there is a catch – if I make plans there is the risk that all those plans will just disappear into nothingness if the cancer is not in remission, if it come back and do I need to make contingencies for this scenario?
“The only thing that holds us back is fear itself”
Ok, if someone asked me the same question – I would say just go for it. Do what you think is the right thing for you now and just follow the path where it takes you and just change direction if the path is blocked - you never know you may end up somewhere better than where you thought you would be – that’s partly what life is all about – dealing with ruined plans!
“Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, these can be changed as your priorities change, new one added, and others dropped.”
One area I am feeling really good about is my poetry. I have now done two performances, and have another one next week – a fundraiser for autism, and then it’s the poetry slam. I have found it exhilarating performing poetry that I have written myself and have joined two poetry groups meeting different, interesting and some slightly eccentric people from all walks of life – with the one thing we all seem to have in common is that we are all a bit angst ridden. Joining these groups have broadened, endorsed and strengthened my belief that you should never judge anyone by what they look like or where they come from, we all have a story to tell, and should never judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes. By opening up my horizons, and sharing my poetry I am growing as a person and my poetry is getting better too.
“Poetry isn't a profession; it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.” - Mary Oliver
I love doing my blogs, those that I research and opens up my knowledge about a subject and those, like this, in which I open up about my life and feelings. I will never regret starting it, or continuing with it and I hope as I go through the twist and turns of my life to carry on with it. If it just brings one smile, one bit of inspiration, support and thought to one person it is worth it. Maybe one day I will put some of my blogs together and write a book, or a soap episode! – or it may encourage me believing that I could write a book one day. There is after all, a novel in each of us!
“All of my problems are rather complicated - I need an entire novel to deal with them, not a short story or a movie. It's like a personal therapy.” - Manuel Puig
At the moment life seems to be so much better – the cats, Jellybean (now 8 months) and Dave (my 2 year old rescue cat) – at last seem to be more settled and more importantly happy and well. Jellybean fell off my balcony (not high) two months ago and broke her hip but she is now jumping, running around and has just been let out into the wide world outside and is so much happier. She was never meant to be a house a cat being more the hunter and a climbing up trees cat. But she is also so loving, and has such a cheeky character – a real princess. Dave became infected by a flea bite and became so miserable starting to lick his fur off his body. After a visit to the vet, steroid injection and antibiotics he is a different cat as playful as the kitten and so vocal but also a scavenger cat eating anything he can get his paws on – I suppose some habits just don’t go away. Both Jellybean and Dave have re-bonded and it is so sweet to see them together, play together and square up for who gets the most comfortable position in their cat basket (a space inside the basket and one on the top) and very entertaining it is too especially when they both squeeze themselves into the same space! They even vie for the same space on my lap!!!!!
"Of all domestic animals the cat is the most expressive. His face is capable of showing a wide range of expressions. His tail is a mirror of his mind. His gracefulness is surpassed only by his agility. And, along with all these, he has a sense of humour." - Walter Chandoha
A couple of friends recently undertook the Race for Life and had my name on their t-shirts. One ran, one walked as part of a team. I went down to support them (with my pink bunny ears) and the atmosphere at the race was electric and very humbling – all these women willing to race for cancer in memory of someone loved who has been blighted with cancer, or to raise funds for research or families of those who have cancer. Next year I want to do the midnight walk for the local hospice and the Race of Life. I have also now been thinking more specifically where I would like to volunteer and make a difference, and have been thinking of become a Lay Chaplain at the hospital – I think that this could become a calling for me – my sense of giving back, providing service without reward, and bringing a comfort to people seems to be to be an extremely worthwhile route to travel.
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
My life is far from perfect though, or as I would want it to be – the difference now, than several years ago, is that I have learned to be happy with what I have and everything else is a bonus. Having depression, breast cancer and having made loads and loads of mistakes in the past has led me to this place – I have learned gratitude and this has led to tolerance, empathy and a certain degree of happiness and a deeper spirituality. I told my doctor recently that I no longer felt depressed (although not ready to let go of the depression pills yet!) and he asked me why – I said that having breast cancer had made me realise that it is a waste of time and energy being unhappy. It’s a waste of time wishing situations haven’t had happened, and to wallow in what has been done, what has been said or hasn't been said - it is in the past – and although the past shapes us to who we are in the present it doesn't mean that it defines us and the future can’t be different.
“My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.” ― Steve Maraboli
Aunts and uncles that live locally to me still have not contacted me, I felt neglected and badly let down by them throughout my chemo days where their silence and the lack of communication, visits and concern and support was keenly missed and still wonder what did I say or do that was so wrong that they felt I deserved this. I would never wish for them to feel how they made me feel especially through such dark days and particularly their inaccessibility for open, honest and direct communication, empathy, thought or understanding and the inability of looking at both sides of feelings and emotions. It does sadden me and I used to dwell on it with tears, not just for me alone but also for my father who feels keenly the hurt that I feel and which in turn has hurt him as well. But what has been done has been done and frankly as every day goes by I move on. I didn't have the strength, or wanted to feel the continuance of poison of anger and the sadness in my heart, to deal with this, and in reality the passing months since February have not just been about physical recovery but also emotional recovery.
“There is no such thing as a "broken family." Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.” - ― C. JoyBell C.
It been nearly over a year now since I have had any in-depth conversation with some of my family here locally and the longer it goes on I feel the harder it will be to have contact at all. I have developed my own support networks and, although not quite the same, friends have become my family instead.
“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves” - Edna Buchanan, “The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families.” ― Jay McInerney
I know that this blog has been a bit of a waffle, but it is snapshot of where I am now in life. My affirmations to stay optimistic, stay positive, to believe the best of people and celebrate our differences, and have love and gratitude in my life are the ones I want to follow. I find that these days I am a little dismissive of people who are judgmental, cynical of life and have little respect for others – and admire those who serve without expecting reward, those who inspire by positivity and can show kindness, laughter and encouragement of others.
Finally this blog has been about that theory may not work in practice but you have to try in the first place to find this out, and that life has unexpected consequences and surprises in store for us all and you find your own coping mechanisms. My niece is having a baby and I am going to be a great aunt (gosh that sounds old!), her grandma has just died which reminds me of the cycle of life and death, of endings and beginnings, and fresh starts. Only we can change our lives and it is never too late to start. Good things and bad things happen to everyone but we can never tell whether the bad thing is actually a good thing. Not that I would ever wish any of things on anyone that have happened to me but having cancer has given me a complete change of attitude to life and look at me now becoming a performing poet!
Who can tell?
As I ran my fingers through the strands of time
Twisting and weaving them to a single thread
I found my fortune in gold
Walking through life focused on one path, one vision, one story
Missing the signposts of chance and opportunity -
of happy happenstance, and unexpected misfortune
Casting my cares on the trade winds
Will there be sunshine or rain?
On a turn of a card a gambler wins or is ruined
Addicted on risk and accidental impropriety
Two sides of a coin spinning where does it fall?
And who can say which side of the coin has the most value of all?
I was looking for something that was undefined,
And walked down instead the path less travelled
And found an abundance of gratitude and change to a positive attitude
Gaining the intangibility of spirituality
the joy of spontaneity
the surprise of serendipity
happiness within my soul
Belinda Colaianni Federl, October 2012