Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 30th August

Coming to the end of the month always has connotations of payday and bills to pay. It is also, apparently, about going out and spending a whole lot of that money. (I wouldn’t really know this, enjoying spending time watching DVDs with the family, rather than going out jolling.)

For me, the end of August is always associated with what I think is my favourite time of year – the beginning of Spring and the move towards Summer. (Although, as Sarah has pointed out often, we don’t really ‘do’ Spring here, one day it’s just suddenly Summer.)

This year, the end of August is a reminder that the 5th of September is almost upon us – the day on which the lump in my breast was found and all the stress, uncertainty, excitement and fear of the cancer journey began.

In some ways, I cannot believe it is actually nearly a year, because it feels as though it was yesterday; in others, I can’t believe it is only a year, as it also feels like some horrible, distant memory.

Such is the duality of a lot that we experience.

Apart from leading to the end of this month, today was also the end of the workshop. Again, as with all these workshops we have done, what a privilege it has been to meet and work with a group of amazing individuals who have so much talent and so much to offer. This group are all recipients of a scholarship that will see them through their studies and what a great thing this is. If this group are representative in any way of the future of this country, then roll on the future!

It has become almost routine to fly to and from Bloem. In fact, driving there again sometime will feel like an extra schlep, I think, because the flight is so short that the distance doesn’t actually feel like anything at all. On the other hand, by the time you’ve set off for the airport this end and then driven to the hotel that end, even with the short flight, it’s most probably about the same time as one would spend in a car driving there – but not as tiring or stressful, especially when the travelling is on a Friday evening.

Of all the journeys I’ve taken in the year since September 5th, the cancer journey has dominated, simply due to the invasive aspect it has had – not only on my life, but on that of those around me. There have also been many other journeys, though, both literal and figurative. This is the type of thing that tends to happen to anyone as we go through life: we are always embarking on different projects, facing different challenges or even travelling from place to place.

The nature of the cancer journey and the implications of the disease/condition have made it dominate in many ways, but it has not ruled me. There are journeys that have to be taken at the time because of some degree of urgency, but we must never lose sight of the importance of every single step we take, every experience we are privileged to have and everyone we are lucky enough to meet as we take all the journeys through life, however short, however ordinary and however undemanding.


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