Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 20th June

I will sometimes get towards the end of a day and wonder what I have actually achieved that day.

This comes from doing work that can (and needs to) be done at home. Weekends are not a break, but are merely a time to be able to get up early and work into the morning, without having to be interrupted by making breakfast and school lunches – and getting everyone (off) to school.

Today, though, I seemed to have managed to do a lot without actually having got much done. At least, that is how it seemed to me at one stage. Then, of course, if I actually think about what I have been busy doing, I realise that going for a run, making breakfast for the boys, driving half way around Johannesburg to facilitate Dani’s Drama preparations, setting revision tests for Michael and loading the dishwasher do actually count as having ‘got something done’. It may not be hours’ worth of work, but it all adds up!

It is, of course, all about how one sees things, how you make sense of what happens around you.

Changing perspectives can happen at any time and can be, I have discovered, something that occurs when faced with something like a horrible disease/condition.

There are other things that the experience also either changes, or brings to the fore.

I sometimes wonder if something like cancer teaches us new things like endurance and patience, or if it is sent to actually test qualities we already have. I do not tend to be the most patient person, this I know. Then, along came cancer and I had to wait for things to happen. In fact, quite a lot of this whole cancer thing has involved waiting for things, or hoping that others will eventually sort themselves out – like this chemo taste, which seems to be determined to hang around.

The whole process has forced me to accept the waiting and to accept things as they happen.

Have I actually learnt that in the past number of months, or did I always have that capacity and now it has just been tried and seen to be able to function adequately?

I suppose we can never actually know the answer to questions like that. Presumably, I had the ability to be quite patient somewhere, I just don’t always like to bring it out for use J

Thanks to the experience with cancer, though, I am now much more aware of my capacity to be patient.

And then, maybe thanks to that new awareness, I will learn not to be too quick to judge myself for ‘having got nothing done’, but to consider, carefully, that simply getting through the day with all the demands of real life and everyone around me (many of which actually need some form of patience) actually means that quite a lot has got done.

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