Recently, I heard a speaker discuss the concept of “horse racing” in context of an academic setting where one’s career progress depends on one’s ability to compete at the national and institutional levels for recognition of one’s worth and legacy (grants, papers). It struck me that the same concept happens to some degree in our society as a whole. We often find ourselves in an exhausting rat race where luck comes into play. We all strive for a delicate balance between fitting into society’s mold and standing out from the crowd. A certain degree of peer pressure is healthy, but no matter how hard we try, success is not a guarantee. Many factors are outside of our control.
A cancer diagnosis may impede one’s ability to perform and compete due to lack of time, energy, or motivation. Plus, cancer survivors may find themselves in an additional race with life that may lessen their sensitivity to judgment and societal pressures. This may have its own anxiety-inducing aspects, initially. At the end of the day though, the race is never completed. Sometimes we change our definition of success. At other times, we realize our goals are unrealistic or that there are bigger and better goals to achieve. Realizing it’s about the journey rather than the destination may provide comfort by allowing you to enjoy the here and now, rather than focusing on the past or future. In some strange way this may allow you to be less restless and conflicted and more able to listen to your inner voice which can guide you to find the peace and courage to serve a unique purpose in this world. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from loved ones or professionals while on this journey.
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