Monday, September 26, 2011

Baggage, moving on, and burning bridges

In life, we all collect baggage of all kinds. That's just what makes us human beings. Some kinds of baggage we learn to cope with - that bad break up, being tormented in middle school, etc. Some kinds of baggage we are stuck with - the medical issues that never go away or change our lives forever.

It doesn't matter what kind of baggage it is, we learn to cope and move on with our lives. We adapt and continue to grow. Some things we put behind us and somethings (like that pesky cancer thing) we keep with us and adapt. Some things turn toxic and we may have to bur our proverbial bridges.

Taking the drastic step of burning one's bridges is not always the best thing in life. Is it playing chicken and running away? Or is it taking steps to rid oneself of undesired companions - whether they are people, emotions, or things? I have never been a fan of burning one's bridges. My theory is that if you keep on burning your bridges, you will find you have none left to burn - as there is nothing left in your life.

However sometimes what was once a good thing - maybe a close friend, a solid marriage, or a good job - is no longer that. You and your friend have grown apart. You and your spouse have chosen different paths in life. You made a career change. Whatever it was that made you happy doesn't any more. It stresses you out. It causes you emotional upset. Then it may be time to cut some ties and burn some bridges.

The past four years of my life have changed me for good. Cancer and its treatment has changed me. In May of 2007, I was working full time, spent sometime on line, and didn't have a blog. Then I had that 'bad' mammogram, got laid off from my job (two weeks before my diagnosis), and started to blog. My life is now completely different. I don't work full time and probably never will again - unless by some miracle I find the perfect job that I can do mostly from home. I have had so many medical appointments I can find my way to the hospital with my eyes closed. I am on line. I blog. I am on Facebook. I tweet. I participate in numerous online communities. I am also happier than I have been with the balance of my life (except for the damn doctor appointments and medical crap) than I have been in a long time.

I find a communicate with many people online. If you aren't online with me I probably don't communicate with you very much. Some friends who I used to talk with regularly aren't online so I don't communicate with them as much any more unless one of us makes an effort to get together. I also am not as patient with people about getting together. If it gets to complicated to schedule, I am just not going to bother. I have learned to allocate my physical resources on the things that are important. I don't wait for people who are late (being late is just plain rude - it says 'you are not important to me' to the person you are late in meeting). I don't play numerous rounds of phone tag with anyone.

The one person I communicate with off line is my husband. He never checks his home email. He never doesn't tweet. He isn't on Facebook or any online community. But that's okay because we live in the same house together. I do communicate with family members by phone and rarely online as well.I also have a couple friends who make the effort to pick up the phone and call and get together with periodically.

But all those other people who haven't moved on line with me, I probably have moved on from. Is it me keeping up with technology vs. them not? Or am I being selfish in not keeping up with them off line. How do you know what's going on with my life if you don't make an effort, read my blog, go on Facebook? As my health went 'south' as they say, I moved online to communicate about my medical issues. It is my way of communicating now.

Am I supposed to call everyone regularly and fill them in on my life and medical issues? Or why should I bother? I don't want to talk about my medical issues all the time which is why I may not call. I don't want to hear day after day 'so how are you feeling', 'how was your doctor appointment', 'how is your back/shoulder/arm/elbow/knee/ankle/incision doing'. They may be well intentioned but I am not going to talk about it again and again.

Sometimes what was once a good thing has become baggage and you need to move on. Its how you handle the moving on - can you adapt or do you need to be a bit more drastic and burn a few bridges as you go?


Debbi said...

Not only were you not suppose to call THEM and let them know how you're doing....
Sometimes you just dont feel like "talking " about it ,I have found.
You can say how you're feeling on your blog or FB. It's easier that way I have found....
Many others just dont get that.
I dont feel like tons of phone calls OR visits.
And I sure dont have the time for tons of Emails.
Right now...its about US....maybe a bit selfish on my part , but it is what it is.

cancer centers of america said...

Well said. Valid points. It is not good to be drastic. Just move on as life goes.

My Cancer Scoreboard said...

I absolutely LOVE your blog. I just came across it tonight and look forward to reading more and more of your entries. You are very inspirational. I am currently working on getting my cancer non-profit organization up and running, so I don't blog too much at the moment. Keep the faith and the fight, we can beat this!

The Big C and Me said...

I have the opposite problem... people seldom ask me how I am doing any more! It's like it's all behind me now (even tho it's not, I have more surgery to come). They tell me I look "normal" and so they forget.

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