Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First in a series

I've been getting a lot of questions lately about how I'm feeling, what I'm doing with my time, why I'm choosing to do that with my time, etc., and while I'm doing my best to answer these questions, individually, as stuff comes in... I figure that not everyone feels like they can ask these questions. (And we all know that I have basically zero pride and will totally overshare when it comes to the details of my life.) So, I've decided to devote a few blog posts to hitting the high/low lights on a few different topics.

First up...

I've been getting asked A LOT if I'm back at work, mixed with why I'm back at work.

Yup. I sure am. I went back on a super part time basis at the end of June. Because I wanted to. (You heard me. ... I literally asked for it.)

When I went to Texas in June and was given those first two months chemo-free, one of my first calls was to the CFO, to ask if we could meet and discuss the possibility of me either returning to work or being armed with a laptop that I could bring home. We had dinner that week, and I was at work bright and early the next Monday.

I started at two hours a day (yup, ten hours a week... told you it was very part time) and gradually worked my way up to a full part time week of 20 hours. ... I keep trying to go over four hours a day. Every once in a while, I'll hit five hours, but then the next day, I feel like death and get pushed back to 3 or 3.5 hours before I know I need to be done.

So, I've pretty much plateaued at 20 hours a week. Which is kind of frustrating, but what I've been learning in the last month is that there's a time to push boundaries, and there's a time to just be glad that I can do what I can do.

What's great about going to work:

I have a reason to get up and put real clothes on every day.

I have somewhere to be.

I have a project. And more than just having a project... it's a project that I have about 98% autonomy on, which has been really good for the parts of my brain that need to create a working wheel. I can't tell you what it has meant to me to have something to think about outside of planning my funeral. (Don't get me wrong, it's gonna be a rocking awesome funeral, and it's actually been sort of fun for my weird control-freakish self to feel like I have a guiding hand in my final party. But still, there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with this work project that I'm sort of missing when I'm working out funeral plans.)

I have responsibilities, but I also work for and with the most accommodating people. They're awesome about when I need to come in later or  leave early for an appointment... or when I can't make it in. (Because some days I just flat out hurt too bad to sit up in a chair that day.)

Going to work gives my life a semblance of normality. ... Even if I stagger up the stairs at 1:00 and am putting myself into bed as soon as I can get back in my pajamas, my mornings feel like I still have my normal life.

I'm working because I want to. The bank has been awesome to me - for all the time that I've known this management team, they have been awesome to me - but this year, especially, they have worked with me as my body's taken a turn for the worse. I'm working because I want to give something back to the bank, because of all they've done for me.

I'm working because I believe in doing all that I can do, and right now I can work part time. It's been my experience that when I do everything I can do, everything else just sort of falls into place when I can't keep going anymore.

What's hard about going to work:

I have somewhere to be, where I'm required to wear real clothes. (It's both a blessing and a curse, man!) I have this project that I'm working on, and every once in a while I have a bad pain day (or... erm... days) and then I start to wonder if/when I'll be able to finish it. And that can stress me out.

But at the end of the day, I am choosing this. I am choosing it because I want to be productive, because I want to contribute what I can, where I can. Because I want to finish this project, and then I want to be strong enough to start on another one.

Because... you guys... if I live, I need to know that I've done everything that I could, for as long as I could. That I never slacked off and let go of what I think is important. ... And if I don't live, I need all the people that I love (especially the kids) to know that I did everything I could, for as long as I could. That I never slacked off and let go of what I think is important.

Here's what I think matters: showing up in your life, doing everything you can do, trying every day to be even a little bit better than you were the day before, never giving up on what matters to you (even if what matters the most is keeping a smile on your face). And, right now, what matters to me is that I'm doing everything I can.

So, yeah, I'm working.  Because, right now, I can. And because I want to.


Evvie Turley said...

I agree with everything you said 100%. You are a FIGHTER and living your life to the fullest extent is what you expect of yourself. You wouldn't be satisfied doing it any other way. As long as you're good to yourself and take care of yourself, then you're on the right track. I just don't want to see you beat yourself up or push yourself too hard - just keep loving yourself every minute of every day - the way the rest of us do!

Genevra said...

I love you. I love that of course of all the people I know, there is a part of you that would love planning one awesome party for your funeral. And I love that you are showing up for you life in a way that is authentic for you and feeds your soul. Keep shining Laurie!

Crowwyng said...

So love you Miss L. And. Exactly!