Friday, December 07, 2012

A little perspective.

It's funny the way the course of life can take such unexpected turns. We're encouraged to plan from an early age - what you want to be "when you grow up" must be one of the most eye-rollingly common questions you get asked as a child. (My three year old niece wants to be a witch - respect).

I once got sent out of class at age 16 for saying I wanted to be a space man. Although I did actually think it would be cool to go to space, I thought I was highlighting the ridiculousness of having to choose so young (and the sexism in the term). I wouldn't have wanted to be a teacher of the teenage me. As it worked out, I never did decide what I wanted to be, it just happened.

Nowadays, with the majority of my days spent in front of a computer, I've got used to having control-zed as an undo mechanism. There's a little voice in my head that says "ah crap, control-zed", whenever anything goes wrong. It's when you try to control-zed yourself out of stepping in a puddle that you have to worry.

But there's nothing like that feeling when you just can't take something back. Seconds after a car crash there's that awkward moment - if only you could turn back time. There, in that second, it feels like a new path has been set before you, that you now have to adjust to. But actually it's just different to the way you imagined your path to be. Life is constant readjustment.

I would have thought that finding out I have a brain tumour would be a massive diversion from my planned path, needing major readjustment. But it didn't seem like it at the time. Maybe it was so huge that I was in shock and couldn't process it, but I don't think so. We were given the news so incrementally that there was never a shock reveal. I even felt like I'd known all along, which of course I hadn't. But there was something oddly familiar about the revelation.

And it was temporary. I knew I would have the surgery to remove the tumour and then it would be gone. Back to real life. When someone close to you dies, or you lose a limb, you have to live every day with a reminder of that. I am lucky that I will recover from this so completely (fingers crossed) that people would never know unless I told them. Or they read Henrietta of course hmm.

[Obviously there is a chance I'll be doing this all again in a few years time, but I'll deal with that when we come to it.]

My readjustment time came after surgery, when I'd had time to work out what the effects would be. There are things I can't argue with, like having to surrender my driving license. And there are subjective things, changes in the way that I think about, and prioritise, things now. I'm subtly different from how I was, and my path is different now to how I'd planned it just two months ago.

Horrible things happen, and then you have to get used to them and deal with it. They tend to put things in perspective. The poor nurse that died today after receiving a prank call about Kate Middleton, there's your classic turn-back-time wish. The sequence of events that lead up to it, and the massive readjustment for so many people - that's given me some perspective alright. So sad.