My life is in a state of mental whiplash and I barely even realized it. In barely 4 months I’ve gone from being in a death spiral to riding my bike to see friends. I went from planning out my funeral to thinking about when I would start working again. I’ve gone from thinking I’d never step foot in my daughters new school to signing up for multiple volunteering slots.
[Before going further I have to share how profoundly grateful I am to all the researchers, doctors and test patients that led to my immunological treatment being available to little old me. I can’t even write these words without gushing tears. The awfulness of those brutalized by chemo for years before just barely surviving, and all those who battled and lost crushes me. The knowledge that others’ loved ones’ cancer is still killing them claws at me and I feel for each one of them. I wait for my doctor appointment or sit for my bi-mothly treatments via IV and can’t help but look around and see who is dying. I was one of them. Now I’m not.]
So yeah, whiplash.
Nonetheless, the thought of a return to normalcy is like a warm embrace: to feel like the last 5 months were an aberration that has been rectified. Already my brain is bored and my body wants to live again. I have about 4–6 hours a day that feel like they did before. The thought of getting to blend my social passions with entrepreneurship and technology immediately sets me to problem solving. Or the thought of unlocking a new meaningful lifestyle business that I could run part-time has me losing sleep piecing it together while I should be sleeping. I tweeted the other day that I’m already overwhelmed by the projects I’d like to work on now. It made me so happy to tweet it, to feel like I could be back to normal.
But how can I expect life to be normal? I’m still on a small dose of time-release morphine 24 hours a day, and an anti-depressant (mirtazapine) because it has the side affect of appetite stimulation. I walk around laden with many (shrinking) carcinoma tumors and I go to the cancer center for scans and recommendations and every other week an IV transfusion of an immunological drug that costs $15,000 a pop. (Thank you Brown & Toland and Blue Shield for covering my treatment.) We just started receiving ~$7,500 in total monthly federal and state disability payments that are only taxed if outside income is earned. (More on this in another post.) So yeah, as much as a return to normalcy seemed the obvious goal, I’m definitely not normal now – I’m shocked and bloodied like Miles Teller in the scene from Whiplash in the pic above – and it just hit me I have no idea what was so ideal about my normalcy before.
Thursday I was able to have lunch with a great group of friends from my bisection of work and play. These friends are all hard chargers, both professionally and personally. They’re exciting to be around because they are making the most of all parts of their lives and doing so thoughtfully. One of them asked what the projects were I was referencing in my above tweet, and in full imposter syndrome mode I stumbled at trying to explain what I was going to professionally do. In some rush towards normalcy and wanting to make the most of said normalcy I shared my least meaningful ideas, my money-making ideas that, in reality, would quickly consume me for the purpose of making money and possibly leave little time for anything other than family and friends. It took the lightest of probing from them for this type of thinking to crumble in my head. Just 10 minutes before I had shared my biggest life insight was that while you have the time optimize on the meaning you find in life.
I have many meaning-first projects for some reason I was too bashful to share with them because they’re not full planned out. I’m going to be working on a series of invents about how business solutions (think b-corps) can help ease the giant trauma that is forced migration, and people involuntarily on the move. I’m also going to be helping stand up a fund supporting criminal justice reform and ex-prison entrepreneurialism and employment. I’m going to help out friends and companies work on problems that have been bothering them. And I just cant shake how much lifelong meaning the ex Catster and Dogster members found in the sites. (I haven’t even mentioned I received over 250 letters from ex-members telling me why the sites were so meaningful to them). Facebook is great for many things, but I’m positive the world could do for a new adult-oriented service that allowed for like-minded people to connect over the what’s happening in their complicated adult lives.