This is an important question for everyone. one I recently proposed to my dad. He recently quit his job and immediately found himself going stir-crazy; bored out of his mind. I said, “Dad, what do you want to learn more about?” He’s already highly educated, but there are no limits to what we can explore in this world.
Why am I writing about this on a cancer blog?
It can be all too easy for cancer to take over your life. Whether you are a patient, a caregiver, or another family member, your life can quickly be taken over by the big C. We may not get bored with life like my dad, but we can certainly feel like there is nothing worth waking up for in the morning.
Patients need a sense of purpose. Something to inspire them to continue fighting, each day, despite how hard it is. Caregivers need to know they are more than an unpaid nurse. The job of caregiving can often be a thankless and frustrating one. The well of your spirit may begin to run dry if there isn’t something to replenish it. How do you do that?
Ask yourself, “What do I want to learn more about?”
For some people, this may be an easy question to answer. Some people may find it too easy and come up with many answers. Others may struggle to think of one thing that they want to explore on a deeper level. “Deeper” is the essential adjective. Learning expands our horizons. I’ve always been excited about learning. EVERYTHING is fascinating to me. But the answer to this question must go deeper. Rather than just picking up trivial knowledge, the goal is to learn more about something, about with you can become passionate.
A couple of years ago, I thought about what I would want to learn more about, given the time and opportunity. The answer for me was fungi. I always wanted to learn how to forage for mushrooms. Which were safe to eat? Which ones weren’t? What were these strange fruits of the forest, anyway? Still, caregiving took any extra time I had.
Last year I decided to learn more about mushrooms.
I joined the Minnesota Mycological Society. Since then, I have been on a few forays and have learned a lot at the meetings. Best of all, I can talk to people about something completely unrelated to cancer. I am glad to talk to people about cancer, especially if by doing so, I can help someone, but I want to have more in my life. I was very aware that one day, I would no longer be a caregiver. The husband I had spent all of my time with, would be gone. What would I do, then?
Everyone needs to have more in their life.
Patients need to be more than a cancer patient. Caregivers need something to think about that gives them joy in the midst of cancer’s difficulty. Even people who aren’t facing cancer need to have something else in their life beyond their day to day responsibilities. What do you want to learn more about?
What Are Your Thoughts?
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In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com
Also, put your memories into words with The Memory Maker’s Journal.
I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker