Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 12th April

Last night was Doug’s 21st. So much preparation, so much attention to detail, so much fun. It was like being the privileged, captive audience/participant in a very special production.

And Doug had the greatest fun of all, which is the way it should be.

There are times like at the party when the only thing that matters is the moment. It’s nearly the end of the school holidays, so real life kicks in very soon with all the demands of getting ready for school, doing the lift, fetching and carrying. There are also all the pressures we feel about things all the time. There are also demands of work, concerns about finances and just things that much be done. For the few hours spent at the party, though, it was all about indulgence – in the company, entertainment and food!

What a break to have!

I think that there should be compulsory ‘time outs’ for everyone. Something like a party is only likely to be an every-so-often thing. There are other ways of taking that time-out, though: from watching a really silly TV show, to going for a run, to going out and spending time with people.

The problem with time-outs is that we have to come back to the reality afterwards. Sometimes this can be quite a shock; at others, it’s with a sense of familiarity. Sometimes, it is owning our ‘problems’ and concerns that affirms who we are and what we do.

The ‘other’ 88-year-old lady I came into contact with in the last week made a lasting impression on me when I first met her over 20 years ago. She said then that she woke up in the morning with various aches and pains. They did not get her down because they were her aches and pains and, also, some kind of affirmation that she was alive and active!

I suppose the trouble with my knees is something like that. Whenever I get up from sitting with my legs bent (which is often), they are sore and sometimes very stiff. It takes a few steps and then they are fine again. I’m sure this is old trouble that has been exacerbated by the hormone medication. It’s just one of those things, though – and also, I suppose, a reminder of the good the medication is doing, despite the odd aching knee.

Everything has its pros and cons. There can be no situation that is wholly good and wholly bad. The trouble is that we tend to compare ourselves with others and to either find affirmation that we are better off, or to devalue our own experiences in the light of what others have gone through.

Sometimes I am acutely aware that my experience with cancer was not as hard as many others have. That doesn’t make it any less real, though, as Sarah (wise as she is) reminds me.

I am constantly active. I am alive and kicking. If I suffer an ache or pain as collateral damage – especially as it passes – then so be it!




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