I've come to an important eye-opening conclusion about myself recently. I am a type A personality living in a type B body. My mind runs like it's a hyperactive squirrel in a wheel on speed, and my life and body used to live up to the task. Unfortunately these days my body is like the squirrel if it was actually that guy down the street that sits on his pleather couch in the basement drinking beer with his pants undone amidst empty pizza boxes.
My brain is usually in eager high production mode despite the fog of chemo brain but the body doesn't agree, in fact they are currently polar opposites. I spend a great deal of time in the 'idea phase' of all my hopes, dreams and plans, my creativity bouncing off the insides of my skull. In contrast, the cooperation and participation of my body is like that dead thing under your steps.
I spend too much of my time being frustrated with this conflict of A vs. B. I've never been that person who is happy the way life is right now and is content to placidly hang out and engage in small talk. I like to be producing, building and learning at all times or at least planning to. As a kid I was swinging from trees, fiercely competing with the boys for intellectual and physical superiority as well as living a thousand adventures in my imagination. I ran instead of walking, read and talked at an early age and drove my parents to near insanity with my stubborn will. I cut and drew on a hundred pieces of paper a day, which equated to my mom digging out my room so the floor, could be found at night. The next day I would start afresh and do it all again. Luckily my mother was a pillar of patience and my father worked at a paper mill.
As soon as I stepped into adulthood I fell into my parent’s taunting prophecy of, 'Just you wait until you have a kid like you, THEN you'll be sorry,' but in my usual fashion I did it X 3. Three beautiful, energetic sons were my apparent destiny. Soon after I ended up a single parent in a tragic fashion. Not one to let life get the best of me I eventually picked myself up off the floor and plowed forward enrolling in post secondary so I could get that degree.
My inner mantra was to do everything at 110% capacity but in reality it was much beyond that. I expected myself to do my best of my best at all times. My drive was expected to take me to my MBA and being a creative CEO of a large corporation. I graduated with first class honours and distinction in my undergraduate degree from the top University in Canada while single handedly wrangling and funneling my children's energy into being safe, alive, functioning, good people. It was working…
Then cancer showed up.
Now my housecoat is my power suit, my pants are stretchy and my plans have changed. In the last 3 years I've put the same effort into learning patience as I have in living my life.
The squirrel has been shot.
Yet my brain says go and my body says no. I often wonder, am I lazy? Is this what it's like? Do I not care? But I do. I wrestle daily to fuse the capacity of my motivation with the sluggishness of my body.
There has been many times since cancer where I try to stubbornly push and function out of sheer will but it's no longer possible. My legs will give out and my hands will stop working. I trip. I fall. My body is no sucker; it's on vacation and has shacked up with the type B life. What takes one person an hour to do may take me days or weeks to get done. Time slips unmercifully past. I'm humbly learning that no amount of stubborn willpower or good intentions will get any job done until the rest of me is able. In short, cancer has kicked my ass all over the place.
So, in a twist of fate, the brakes have been put on and I haven’t been able to be a workaholic ever since. I’ve been forced to slow down and re-evaluate what it was that I was racing for. Rather than running for the future I’ve had to get to know today and even more so, get to know me. Weirdly, this new reality has reunited me with the pieces of the person who I was as a child, the one who I was at the beginning before I hit hyper drive towards goals of academic achievement.
At the beginning I was a child with insurmountable curiosity. The world was adrift in adventure whether it was the apple tree in the back yard, jumping off the high diving board when nobody was looking or exploring the cavernous dangers of the crawlspace under the house when my mom was occupied. So much trouble to get into, so little time.
So I’m the same but never to be the same. I’ve come to terms with the fact that the couch has become my best friend and I might want cable. I struggle to take today for what it is and be active in creating the moments that bring me joy. I look for adventures in my backyard, find reasons to laugh and wear a blue wig because I can. Type A does the adventuring and type B does the writing. If that partnership doesn't work out then I'll let them fight it out to the finish in a cage match.