Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 24th March

Sometimes when I paddle, it feels as though the water is treacle and I may as well be sitting still, instead of actually moving around the dam.

Sometimes, this cancer thing feels just like being in treacle, or as if I go 3 steps forward and 2.5 back.

On a Tuesday I teach basically the whole day – and my classes are two hours each. Those who teach know that there is a particular exhaustion that comes from giving, giving, giving for such a long time and interacting with students of any age, actively enabling their learning. Today I was so very tired even after my first class, never mind the others – only it wasn’t the ‘educator-tiredness’, it was just a feeling of being drained. It was one of those things that has hung over from the chemo, not tiredness from the teaching.

I have also had the chemo taste for most of today. Then, the site under my arm and into my chest had been pulling much more than it usually does and felt really swollen.

All very discomforting.

And all so very easily leading down a path to self-indulgent despair, even fleetingly.

When I came out of my last class, it was overcast and looked like it was going to rain at some stage soon. There had  also been a chilly wind the whole day. Usually on a Tuesday I will fetch Dani from paddling and often have a paddle myself, mostly with her. I wasn’t sure I felt like doing that today. I decided to drive past the dam anyway, by which time it had actually started to rain, not very hard, but rain nonetheless.

I think it is relatively easy at times to talk onself out of doing things. Relatively easy. Such was the case today: it was cold and going to be wet and I was so tired. Why paddle?

I decided to get onto the water anyway – and it was great. I only did about 2.5 kms – and pretty slowly – but it was really nice and I didn’t feel quite so tired afterwards. Well, then it was a different kind of tired.

Sometimes I think that just a little change, the chance to be in a different position and to look at the world from a slightly altered perspective, is such a good thing. It is the way to rejuvenate ourselves even slightly, which can make all the difference.

They say ‘a change is as good as a holiday’. That may make us think of large changes, where we literally have to do something very different and find a different way of looking at ourselves and the world.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be quite so big, though, Maybe all we need is regular re-adjustments of perspective to give us just a little boost, which can alter everything even if only for a few minutes or hours.

Maybe any change is just what we need to step out of the ‘treacle’ and into the clear water, where we may not suddenly speed ahead, but will, at least, feel as though we are making some form of progress.

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