The Many Yous

Do you ever think about all the yous you could be?  And wonder what stops you from being any of them?  I do this continuously and is quite likely why I am a chronic non-finisher.  I view life and relationships as learning ground for both internal and external growth rather than some destination in itself, and I often see so many options, I feel paralyzed when considering all the possibilities.  And yet, the paradox is I have proven an ability to intensely focus and see something through to the end, so I don’t think a fear of commitment describes my pattern.

I love encountering people in film, book, or person who are living a life full of a sense of purpose (to me, that means where your spirit, heart, and mind intersect with a way to earn enough money to continue living it).

In the past month, I have watched the show “Walking the Amazon” by Ed Stafford:

I have read the book, “One Square Inch of Silence”

My next door neighbor’s brother wrote this purpose-driven book I have yet to read, which has gained wide acclaim:  The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life.

And here’s a lovely quirky autobiographical film I found to be compassionate throughout and inspirational with the message that it is never too late to begin living your authentic life, even if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing:

Among the many versions of me, here are some people I have envisioned I could be:  * A performing musician * An author * A postal worker (I was the only non-jock to  sort and deliver mail for years on my college campus 30 hrs/week) * A biologist, * A botanist * A park ranger * A professional caregiver * A nurse * An EMT * A chef * An information technology professional * A teacher * A travel writer * A parent * An endurance athlete.

Okay, so considering the universe is vast and I have explored various ways to pursue all of the above at one point in time but instead spend much of my days doing work that does not involve my spirit or heart and barely my mind, I have to admit the “What am I going to be when I grow up?” game is getting tiresome.  Especially as my 45th birthday looms on the immediate horizon.

I have decided to stop being paralyzed and begin something.  To begin writing the book in my head – a book for parents facing the childhood cancer world.  Even though I am filled with self doubt about the egotism of thinking I have something to offer when so many around me had much worse situations, I cannot shake that deep spirit/heart/mind connection that I must do something.  Because I lived among people who watched their children get leg amputations and later die or undergo 7 years of chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplants for recurrences or lose children because they happened to be in the 15% of the most untreatable diagnoses – because I lived, shared meals, cleaned house with these parents – I want in some small way to extend a hand and hug to the next line of parents facing this life-changing reality.

How do I write something that provides hope to those parents first entering the pediatric oncology floors for the first time?  Without being a Pollyanna or beating a doomsday drum?  Hopefully I can  find a coherent way to refer to my own experience stumbling into resources and helpful caregiving tips, the fact my child is among the 85% who survive, the fact that despite our government spending only 4% of its cancer budget on all 12 main pediatric cancers, there are huge nonprofits funding research projects, and great strides have been made in the ways pediatric treatment is administered.  Almost everyone realizes cancer does not discriminate by income, ethnicity, social status, religion, so we are truly in this together.  And those who know in their hearts “There but for Grace go I” will reach out to you in your hour of need and carry you when you cannot carry yourself.


About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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