Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 14th July

I have never been a person to talk about personal ‘journeys’ so much, until recently. Now, I think that focusing on the idea of a particular journey (this cancer one), makes me think about other journeys in life so much more.

We are all on different journeys all the time. Sometimes they overlap for us as individuals. I think this is completely inevitable – it would be impossible to live in this world and not have to be negotiating a number of different paths at the same time. Sometimes, our journeys overlap with those of others. Again, it is about the way the world works and how we are social beings, with different focuses and different priorities, all of which seem to be ongoing simultaneously.

Today we took one of those literal, long journeys that you’d rather do without at times: from East London home. It is actually quite a pretty drive and doable in one day, but 1000kms is a long time to sit. It was also the type of journey that was about getting home, rather than about enjoying the road trip. Of course, having taken a real road trip, stopping when we wanted to and generally exploring on the way down to Sedge, the trip today contrasted even more harshly with that journey.

Given all that, it was not a horrible journey. We ate and chatted and sang and read. We enjoyed each other’s company and some more family bonding happened, as it tends to do when you spend so many hours in a confined space with the same people 🙂

I think that we could each have a really good and complicated time if we were to sit and make note of all the individual journeys we are on at one time. It may even get a little frustrating and confusing trying to keep track of everything.

That is why writing about this cancer journey is so interesting to me. It makes me focus in on one ‘track’, while being aware of all the others at the same time. It also makes me so aware that nothing we do is in isolation – everything links in some way to everything else.

It also makes me realise that, perhaps, no journey in our lives is ever truly over. We may reach particular destinations, but, as per Robert Frost “way leads on to way”, so what may have seemed to be a definable journey becomes one that keeps on going, but takes twists and turns on its way.

This cancer journey is definitely not over, although certain destinations have been reached and passed. I tempted fate, of course, and said that the chemo taste seems to have gone. Well, I was wrong. It is back. Not badly, but it is there. Just to remind me, I suppose 😉

Maybe what happens is that sometimes one journey kind of peters out and ‘toddles along’ to another course, leaving some vestiges of itself behind just to remind us of where we have been and, also, of how we got there.

Travel enriches us. Negotiating different paths teaches us so much. Imagine a life without places to go to, people to see and figurative journeys to help us grow as individuals.

I don’t think any of us can, because, of course, that is what life is about.

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