Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry #8

This confession could get me in trouble. And, I don’t know if this is something that is going to eventually wear off or if it is here to stay. But it’s real.

8. I’m tired of acting like I care about things I don’t really care about.

I know that might sound harsh, but the more I’m reengaged in the real world, my old world, the more I feel like this. See during chemo, I wasn’t out much. I had to protect my immune system, so even though I worked throughout, I wasn’t in nearly as many meetings or discussions with people. I was hardly allowed in public, so I wasn’t really engaged in a lot of random conversations. But now that I’m past the immune risk phase, I’m venturing out more and my schedule at work is beginning to look like it used to – back to back meetings, all day! And with all that interaction comes this reality check.

I remember having this feeling once before – like the things that used to seem important to me felt less important. That was when my dad died of lung cancer. My dad died on December 10, 1999, right before Y2K. That morning, I was on my way to Chicago from Texas with my sister to see him because we knew he was really sick, but he passed away before we got there. Like I said, it was December, so I stayed quite a while, spent the holidays there and didn’t come home until the new year. When I got back and returned to work, I remember thinking how silly and trivial things seemed to me. I’d sit in meetings and internally shake my head as others passionately debated the words to use in a communication or the event location or paper for an invite. Anything. Everything. It all seemed less important. It felt that way because at that point, I realized how precious life was and that it wasn’t promised. I understood that people and relationships, love and commitment were important. But this stuff? Not so much. It was hard. I remember wondering then if it would pass….and it did.

The feeling I have now is similar – but different. Now, it’s not just the loss of someone else that is making me feel this. In some strange way, I think it’s somewhat of a loss of myself. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you lose something. Something within you. For some people, this is bad – they may lose hope, dreams, excitement, trust. But for me, I lost my desire to fake it. I want everything to be real. I want everything to be alive. I know some things you just have to do, but I’ve lost my flair for the perfunctory. Webster’s definition of perfunctory – used to describe something that is done without energy or enthusiasm because of habit or because it is expected.

I don’t want to do things out of habit. I want to do things out of love, excitement, passion, compassion, caring. I don’t want to do things because it’s expected. I want to do the unexpected. Surprise someone with a kind word, or smile. From the simple to the grand, I guess I want to live more vividly. And something about acting like I care about things that I don’t doesn’t feel right, good or vivid.

It feels perfunctory – from the Latin perfungi – to get through with. And that’s exactly what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to just get through with life or any part of it. I don’t want to feel that about work, about things I do with the girls, about time I spend with friends. That to me is not living. Not anymore.

Every moment actually does feel more important to me now. So even if it’s just a meeting or small talk or whatever, it feels like a moment I’ve been given back. A moment I should make the most of. I want to give 100% to each moment. So, I no longer accept the idea that you just have to do somethings. I no longer agree to just do things because I’m supposed to or it’s expected of me. I spent the first 42 years of my life doing that and I was really good at it. It’s now time to see if I’m good at this instead. This truly living life to its fullest and not wasting a single moment way.

Because even though I got over this feeling 15 years ago, I was right back then. Life is precious, unpredictable and not promised and that is NOT lost on me.




3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry #8

  1. Noelle, you are absolutely right when God allows you to see another season of life you look at life so much differently. You seem to want to walk in you real passion, and purpose. Continue to let God lead for you sister.
    It works.


  2. Thanks for the reminder, Noelle! I wondered why I hadn’t heard from you in awhile (it’s been about a year since we first met regarding the art project and then talked about the NFL wives project). I apologize for being late to the party and not understanding what was happening with you.

    I was selfishly absorbed in my own cancer battle with my dog. Not to say the two are equal – you and my dog, Max – but to point out that I had my own experience that left me feeling very different. I had to put Max down this week. I feel like I let him down, and I wonder if I shouldn’t have done X or Y to make his life better, and wonder if those things would have bought another day. Then I wonder why I don’t do those things for myself, and I wonder why I spend one second with people who drag me down. I also see people through a different lens – some people are negative, but they say it with a smile and you are fooled, while others ask for “one little thing” and it turns into a rabbit hole of exhausting tasks that lead nowhere, and divert you from your own life.

    So, I’ve begun to change some habits myself. Metrocrest Services and Operation Kindness will benefit from those changes as I purge unneeded items from my house. Why do I have so much more than I ever use? Bar Method, Felax, Sprouts and my new functional medicine doctor who uses DNA to treat you will benefit from those changes as I modify my diet and health choices.

    Thank you for sharing this post. It has helped me take another step in my journey. You voiced some thoughts I was unable to articulate quite right, which has helped me gain a little more clarity. If I can ever return the favor, don’t hesitate to reach out.

    Liked by 1 person

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