It’s About Time!


Educational Blog from One Cancer Survivor to Another

The concept of time is interesting. It doesn’t always seem to be aligned well with what we need or want to do. Sometimes we have too much time and sometimes too little. Sometimes it goes too slow, and sometimes too fast. Oftentimes we wish our time away because we eagerly anticipate the weekend or a certain event. This can make time feel like it has slowed down. Then we find that when the anticipated event happens, time flies by seemingly at warp speed! Days and weeks may feel like they pass slowly, while years pass quickly. At times, we feel we waste half our lives standing in line.

I think we all have a conflicted relationship with time. There is never enough time in life. But whether we are in a period that we enjoy or one we wish would pass, all of these times are part of our finite life. I wonder if our conflict may be helped by an evenly-suspended attention span, to be able to observe ourselves and our surroundings at every moment in time in a neutral perspective without any expectation or judgment. If we could master not being constantly engaged or disengaged, but to be evenly submerged throughout all our activities every day. By not giving preconceived importance or priority to any part of our days or lives, we could allow ourselves the freedom to find meaningful opportunities even in the rougher times. Some may compare this to mindfulness meditation activities, but these activities are short-lived, while an even attention span is one to be applied throughout the whole day. Some infinities are longer than others. 

We tend to say that time flies when you’re having fun, but then a patient reminded me that time also flies fast when you’re not having fun! Not feeling well due to cancer and its treatments can make you retreat into a cocoon and lose track of time, while the world (hopefully only temporarily) continues to evolve around and without you, almost rendering the illusion that you are standing still. In short, cancer survivors have a complicated relationship with time. Being aware of that may perhaps help you remain kind to yourself, set (realistic and do-able) priorities, ask for and accept help, and make choices (and memories, hopes, and wishes) that fit best with where you are in your journey. 

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