Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

It’s been a busy week of work and hospital visits.

One of the interesting things about work is that it’s changing but never really changes.  I’m fortunate in that I toil alongside some very intelligent, warm and capable people.  They’re diligent, dedicated and also manage to bring a sense of humour into the office as a means to mitigate the daily shenanigans. I can’t really ask for more than that.  The company we’re all part of is lucky to have these people and it probably doesn’t realise quite how blessed with talent it is – which is rather a shame because my colleagues aren’t afraid to explore, dream or discover.  For people with their skills and abilities, a whole ocean of opportunity is waiting just outside the door even in these less than exciting economic conditions.

Work takes up so much of our time and it can be a popular topic for moans and groans (almost on a par with the British weather) but as with everything else there’s not much sense in moaning, groaning or being miserable about it.  Sometimes we feel trapped in jobs or companies we’ve fallen out of love with but as soon as we realise the bars on the windows are figments of our imagination we’re free to explore, dream, discover.  Life is too short and too precious to waste… if your job is sucking the life out of you its time to get another job!  It might take a while but investing energy in a job search is always going to be more productive than complaining to anyone who’ll listen  🙂

A volunteer pastor and spiritual leader came to sit with me at the hospital today. I’d never met Barbara before and I must admit I was a little concerned because my faith is of the wide-ranging and non-specific kind rather than being invested in any particular God. I needn’t have worried. Barbara is a woman of faith and although hers may be a little more specific than my own it is still broad enough to welcome me and make me feel at home. Every now and then we meet someone and it seems as if we’ve known them all our lives. Sometimes people who know nothing about us have a way of seeing deep inside within a couple of minutes.  Both of those things happened today.

Barbara is an Afro-American woman who moved to the UK 20 years ago, she’s older than me and has a different story to tell but within seconds it felt as though we’d been friends for a very long time.  She didn’t start out as a pastor or spiritual leader, she spent a long time working as a business consultant until the shenanigans ground her down. She walked away from the salary, the politics and the back-biting once she’d seen her kids through college.

Barbara’s first question to me was “have we met before?” so I’m guessing she sensed the same connection I did.  Her next words were “you have such positivity in your eyes… is today your first day here?” We talked. I explained that no today was not my first day, I’d been coming for 10 months now and my regular visits would continue for most of this year too.  I explained that although it might be difficult to describe much of what goes on as pleasurable,  I find ways to make each visit as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.  Mostly that involves joking with the nurses or other patients and supporting newcomers so they see it’s not as scary as it seems.  I decided a long time ago there was no point staying miserable about this cancer thing – living in a trash can wouldn’t suit me and in my little world that’s the only place Oscar the Grouch is allowed to live 🙂

Before long we were laughing which on reflection seems strange because the subject of our conversation – cancer in your thirties – isn’t much of a laughing matter.  I’m not even in my thirties!  Barbara insisted I must be so I laughed some more and suggested she could add a decade. She laughed right back at me and said I must be wrong.  Who’d have thought that a bucket load of chemo would double up as the elixir of youth?!

To me my eyes are blue-green, eyelash-less and a little tired looking. To Barbara they were a window to my psyche before I’d even uttered a word.   Who knows what or who we might discover there on the inside or outside in the big wide world when we throw off the bowlines and catch the trade winds in our sails?  Keep exploring, keep dreaming and keep discovering always because you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.