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.

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14 thoughts on “Explore. Dream. Discover.

  1. Lovely lovely post, Tracy. I’ve been reading ‘ catching up ‘ really because I’ve been here before but I’m still fairly new to your blog. I am awed by what you put into your writing especially going through all that you are with breast cancer and your medical care. Your thought provoking posts always make me think a bit deeper and open up more emotionally about topics I would rather ignore or pass over lightly. Lightly is rarely possible when I begin to read what you have to say and I think that’s a good thing. I’m holding a good thought for you tonight. x

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  2. It was both happy and unusual at the same time, and I felt different afterwards. Some people have such a good effect on us in such a short period of time. I’m hoping Empowered Doctor will bring more of us together, help share useful information and the stories from all the women who are in the same boat as us.

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    • It was one of those funny, unexpected moments in life that leaves you with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. I really hope I see Barbara again next time. This picture was taken a few weeks ago in Barmouth, Wales. Chilly but pretty 🙂

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  3. What a great story about TWO spiritual leaders meeting in a hospital. The energy in the place must have been palpable. I bet everyone in the hospital felt better afterwards. I know I do. {{{hugs}}} kozo

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    • Strangely enough the unit was buzzing all morning and everything was going very smoothly for everyone which is unusual as I’m not the only one with dodgy veins. I can’t wait to be back to full physical and spiritual strength …. It will be like permanent sunshine 🙂 Sending love and hugs your way Kozo

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  4. I’m so glad that your latest hospital visit was enhanced by such a positive experience Tracy. Although I remain an agnostic, I still admire those who find their own spiritual faith, nomatter what particular brand of God they may believe in. I still believe that ‘there are more things in heaven and earth’ than can be explained purely by science. Positive attitude and the love of one’s fellow man goes a long way towards making life’s experiences better all round. May your life’s experiences continue to improve and bring you much love, happiness and success.

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    • You’d like Barbara, there was something more than human about her if you know what I mean. She is one of those people who just emanates warmth and calm and compassion. Having been through this experience I don’t really see the point in being miserable or inhuman, life is too short and every day is too precious to waste being negative or detached. I’m happy because I have a brilliant Dad, lovely family and very special friends…. Oh and my cats – what more could anyone wish for? Xxx

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  5. Trained, as we are, to draw most of our ‘truths’ from what can be seen, felt or otherwise experienced in a way that is quantifiable it’s so easy to be drawn into the trap of believing that science is THE ONLY way of knowing. While there’s no disputing the enormous value of the disciplined ‘scientific’ way it’s clear that there’s room for other ways too. People like Barbara walk among us, often unnoticed, but when something lifts the veil from our eyes there are times when, with their help, we see, however fleetingly, the true complexity and beauty that is life…

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    • When I was a teenager I was fiercely scientific, I thought that science was the only way. Today I still love science but have realised it doesn’t have all the answers and sometimes things happen that have no scientific explanation whatsoever. There is more to life than I was able to appreciate when I was a teen – I’m just glad I’ve had the chance to appreciate that now

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