From time to time, I have given readers a peak into my personal life on the outside chance that there will be those who may be able to relate to my experiences. I would like to write the complete story of my rather complex life too, but even in twilight years it is constantly changing (for the worse?) and that is what tortures me.
"Merrily, merrily we go...!"
In the early years I was under the rather naïve impression that I would land a fulfilling job, marry, have children and live happily ever after. I knew that there would be ups and downs along the way but, heck, I was up for the challenge. What I was not "up" for was the seemingly unfairness with which one's life can unfold. The biggest toll-taking challenge for me in the past 25 years has been fighting battles with cancer along with two wives, one of which we lost and the other currently being waged. The second time around, some 15 years later, the unanswered question remains: Who will survive the longest -- second wife Rosanne, or her 10-years-older primary care-giver with his depressingly diminishing ability to cope emotionally and physically.
I literally find myself progressively a little bit older and deeper in debt in most aspects of my life as I prepare to experience my 78th New Year, and I struggle to fashion a new life story with a happier ending than might otherwise be the case if I allowed the status quo to persist.
I have read that one of the most critical aspects of the transition into living what may be termed a quantum life is to realize that change is actually the foundation to one's entire existence. I acknowledge that in every moment we live, our thoughts and experiences change us in some way. For most people, this change is so small as to essentially go unnoticed, and as it is all too easy to become invested in resisting change and keeping things known and comfortably/uncomfortably the same, that tends to slow things down even further.
Perhaps once we begin to embrace the truth of this constant state of change, it is then up to us as to how profoundly that change unfolds in our life, through the thoughts and experiences we open ourselves up to or consciously choose to pursue. So, for me, it becomes exceedingly important that I not hold on so tightly to whatever I see my "story" being at present time, but to instead create a daily experience of wonder and astonishment that reinvents that story as it happens in real time.
How may I accomplish this, you might ask? Simply by taking hold of the moment and making choices that will lead to the story I want to live, discovering new ways of engaging myself in even the most mundane of everyday activities -- things like getting dressed in the morning, preparing food, doing laundry, providing for Rosanne's daily health needs (she is almost totally disabled and on oxygen to keep her lungs open), grocery shopping, housekeeping, exhaustive three-hour early-morning drives to the hospital for chemotherapy treatments on back-to-back days, as well as finding time to welcome new and inspiring challenges (writing, of course, is my major diversion) -- all of which are nothing new for me. I've been doing it for the better part of 25 years. It is my destiny. But it does not get any easier with the doing.
The key is to move out of conditioned habits and into experiments, exploring new possibilities for interactions with oneself, others and the world. It has been so easy for me to fall into a rut of self-deprivation which automatically feeds self-pity, depression and changes in temperment. And that is no way to end the story of anyone's life!
I cannot predict the future...I have no idea of how much longer my health will hold up. Rosanne's oncologist in London says that her type of Mantel Cell Lymphoma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with properly-monitored treatment. So far, so good! We struggle to be hopeful in writing the ending to a life story that began so happily.
As opportunities arrive that begin to fit into the new "story" we have set in motion, we will meet each one with deep gratitude and joy for the gifts they bring to us.
In putting the finishing touches to this post I can hear Rosanne singing in the next room "Merrily, merrily we go...everywhere we go!" She needs a bushel basket to carry the tune and I don't know where she's getting the words, but it's making her happy...and me too.
"Merrily we go!" That has to be the theme for the rest of my story.