Today, I caught myself making excuses for not writing. Again. So I will now attempt (and hopefully succeed) in proving myself wrong, thereby throwing all previously held misconceptions on what I can actually get done in an evening out the window. Here goes...
A lovely colleague stopped me in the hall today to let me know she'd enjoyed reading my most recent post, and suggested that I should continue writing. I was taken aback, and of course, deeply thankful for the compliment, but at the same time, I was reminded of the fact that writing for me is a luxury, to which I devote very little time. I'm a mom first, a professional second, and I leave writing for the rare occasions when I have enough time and energy left over to make a proper attempt. I believe I uttered a heartfelt thank you, followed by a series of excuses that began with, "I love writing but I wish I could find time to write more often", and, "perhaps if I wrote through the night." I walked away feeling a little bit pathetic and sorry for myself, but at the same time reaffirmed, revitalized and challenged. This feeling sat with me throughout most of the day, but I was very good at suppressing it, after all, where would I find the time to write? There are only so many hours in the day, right? We can't possibly do everything we want. Or can we?
Tonight, after putting the kids to bed and poring over finances for a solid 45 minutes with little headway and no end in sight, I shifted gears and turned to face the all-consuming doldrums of domestic despair, i.e., household chores. Something tangible, which seemed simple enough, right? Well the problem with short-term memory impairment, is that a simple chore can evolve into a never-ending comedic dance of sorts. Let me give you a visual, and then you can decide if it warrants a laugh or a cry. Or maybe a crying laugh.
Destination: The kitchen, to do some dishes. I divert to the garage to fetch an ice cold beer (since frosty alcohol and chores are a beautiful pairing). Not quite halfway there, I spot a scrap of paper on the floor, bend down to grab it, and realize the floor is in desperate need of its monthly sweeping. Off I go, detouring to the kitchen for the broom and dustpan, flick on the light switch, then remember a light bulb needs changing on the front porch. I quickly descend to the basement to retrieve said light bulb, walk past the dryer that had finished its load 12 hours prior, curse that the laundry basket is all the way up on the second floor, retreat upstairs to fetch it, then explode in a series of expletives as I trip over the discarded broom in the middle of the kitchen floor, wondering who had left it there and why. And where had I left my beer?
As anyone who has experienced chemo brain/brain fog will agree, absentmindedness and distraction no longer constitute an inconvenience, they are ingrained in your DNA. I kept believing my health professionals who insisted that, along with my fatigue, this bothersome side effect would lift with time. It didn't. I've heard it does for some, and it has certainly improved tenfold. But it is far from a distant memory. Now what was I saying...ah yes, time.
It's easy to imagine how an entire evening can be consumed by one seemingly straight-forward task. Time was swept up with the dust bunnies I'd forgotten to collect. But really, did it have to be this way? Granted, there are some proven, concrete reasons why my mind wanders so much, and I'd be a fool to expect a full recovery given what my body has been though - but I couldn't help but think that there must be something I'm doing, some choice I am making that is making this far more complicated than it has to be.
That was it. Choices. I had choices, and I had made them each step of the way. I chose to fetch the broom stick. I chose to tackle the outside lighting situation. I chose to let the dryer's end signal light beckon. And regrettably, I had chosen to do some dishes when all I'd really wanted to do was write.
So I tucked away the broom, left the dishes for another day, grabbed my frosty reward, and started typing.
Time. It's all yours. What will you do with it?
(Note: I of course returned to do the dishes after I posted this - that's just who I am. But I chose to do them, and did them triumphantly!)