Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 15th June

So much about life seems to be both literal and figurative at the same time.

This weekend, we did quite a lot of driving around parts of KZN and the Free State. Although we were mostly at the farm, it was really a kind of road trip weekend. We stayed three different nights in three different places and stopped to look at sights and historical sites along the way. Great fun.

That was the literal journey.

Then, of course, there were a few figurative journeys that happened too. We reached a new stage of the ‘farm journey’, as we finalised the arrangements for the house and put in place the next stage of making the farm work. Daynia has a birthday today, which means she has taken another step along her journey – being marked by a really wonderful meal and evening at the farm.

And so it goes on: we are all on different, figurative, journeys all the time. Some of them are shorter term than others and some are even onerous. I constantly think of Bridget and the cancer-journey she is on. She has about another 7 weeks to go of chemo before even facing surgery and the aftermath. I think every one of us must have someone who is on a particularly onerous journey at some stage in our lives. None of these are necessarily easy to bear

I tried to explain to Dani the other day that I feel quite isolated sometimes, because this cancer journey is definitely not over for me (I don’t think it ever will be, completely), but, now that the really immediately-threatening part is over, it seems to be not quite so real or of concern every day for everyone else. Her reaction, expression and shake of the head made me realise otherwise.

Just because people get on with real life and don’t express concern all the time, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel and aren’t still affected by what happens to others close to them.

I think I’m in a strange kind of duality: in some ways, I still want (or need) the concerned attention, because the effects of the cancer treatment are still present and so real for me and I do get really worried, at times, about the implications of the whole thing for the future – and I don’t want to feel alone; then, I don’t want to be the cause of so much unnecessary stress and concern, because I don’t like upsetting people and I want this to be over for everyone else.

No-one said any journey was necessarily easy, or monotonous.

We came back from the farm yesterday. It was a good drive and, apart from stopping for breakfast, didn’t take too long. Kind of plain sailing, in its way.

Some figurative journeys are like that too. Most of them, though, have ups and downs, slow and fast sections, easy and difficult traverses.

The only way to travel along any journey is to keep your focus on the end point; travel as best you can, encountering what you have to on the way; and making the most of everything you find along the path.

Not a bad way to negotiate anything, actually.

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