What comes up a lot at doctor visits and in all the groups I attend is the phrase, “the new normal”. Seems to be very popular amongst the cancer world. During a group session this evening the topic came up, and I heard various ladies discuss their idea of their “new normal”. It varied a little but it had the same thread throughout – in their life pre-cancer they were able to do things that post-cancer they cannot. I began to think as the circle discussion slowly moved in my direction – why do we have to use this phrase in a negative manner? What if the “new normal” is a positive. Pre-cancer I did not eat healthy on a regular basis. What if my “new normal” is to consistantly strive for healthy choices. Pre-cancer I would always flip flop working out. What if my “new normal” is to do something active daily. Pre-cancer I was quick to judge others. What if my “new normal” is to be more understanding and respectful. Why can we not choose to be better post-cancer? What if my “new normal” is a mentally and physically healthier and happier life? I think that is something to be excited about.
As my surgery date approaches, I begin to contemplate what lies ahead for me on the other side. As the doctor appointments become further and further apart, and life starts to return to normal – questions begin to arise. Where do I want to be? Who do I want to be? How do I want to live the rest of my life?
It slowly becomes more clear with each passing day. The easy answer is simple – I choose to live.
The bank offers a large mortgage. Do you use the whole sum just because it was offered to you? What kind of life will you then have? Yes, you will have a beautiful home – but how else will you choose to spend your time? How fun is it really to stay in every night because you cannot afford to go out? Before I would have said yes. I would have found a way to make it all work. Now – that is just foolish. Why cause stress when it is not needed? When I am not working I want to be able to do things – whether it be a casual night out or an expensive vacation. Either way I want to be living a life instead of sitting on my money. (That is a fantastic term that was recently said to me by a certain friend – you know who you are 😉 ).
While we are on the topic – let’s talk about work. I love work. I like having a purpose for my day. I enjoy the social aspect. I like the feeling that comes over me when I complete a project and I see it live. (By live, I mean online – I work in ecommerce. Have I mentioned that before?) If you work in a field that you enjoy and are passionate about, it is easy to go into work everyday. Working a little overtime never bothered me because I enjoy what I do.
Work however, should not be the only reason to get up in the morning. I am not “working for the weekend”, as the song goes – but I do plan on enjoying my time away from work. It is hard not to bring your work home with you if you are a workaholic like myself. It is easy however to look back and think “man, I wish I went on that trip”. You never hear anyone say, “Ten years ago I wanted to go on vacation, but chose to work instead. Totally do not regret that”. You are given vacation days for a reason. If you are worried that your boss will look down on you for wanting time off – then maybe they are not the right boss for you. (I am thankful not to have this problem 🙂 ) It is healthy to want a break. You need a mental break. Most people (and by most, I could probably say all) work harder when they are happy. Who would ever be happy working 80 hours a week, 365 days a year? Work hard – yes. Choose work over your life – no.
That being said – if you know your work is busy during certain times of the year – do not be a fool and ask to book time off then. That is just dumb.