At work I write a lot about the importance of protection, you never know what will happen, everyone can get cancer, etc, etc. But still you are always shocked when it happens to you, no matter how much you know it can. 2017 started off good enough, I had goals and I thought I knew where I was headed. Becoming a manager at work was the single scariest thing I’ve done. Then I got cancer.
I dealt with both of those things as best I could, but the cancer inevitably took precedence. I feel like I’ve missed out on a year of proper progression at work because I couldn’t focus fully on it. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has been incredible and no one has made me feel like I’ve been slacking or anything like that and I don’t regret any of the decisions I had to make in the last year to get me where I am now. And thinking back on the last year, I’ve learned so much about fear and how it really is all about perspective.
I think cancer, or indeed any serious illness, gives you some much needed perspective. It’s a bit of clarity into what’s really important to you and reminds you what you should focus on to live a good life, whatever that means for you. You’re less afraid to take the risks to do what makes you happy and much less worried about what others decide to think about you.
Now that I’m feeling no less than incredible and nastiness-free and with the perspective of looking back on what I used to be afraid of, I’m just not that scared anymore. I used to be terrified of so much; being the centre of attention, having to deal with people, making mistakes. For people with any level of anxiety it’s really easy to take those things and build them up in your head until they paralyse you and that fear is what holds you back.
In the last few years I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with situations that scared me and worrying what other people think of me. I never really cared too much about what people thought of me anyway, I figure 95% of people are so concerned with how they are being perceived they don’t worry about or truly see other people. In the last month I’ve realised most of what I’ve been so afraid of at work is just perception. I feel less shackled to that fear so that I can focus on doing a job that I actually really love.
I am so happy I took that massive leap even when I was so scared to do it. I’m not afraid of making decisions or giving an opinion anymore. I have more confidence in myself now so I’m more willing to put myself in situations that I would have rejected in a heartbeat before.
Cancer may have taken my ability to have children but it has given me so much more in return. I honestly wouldn’t give up feeling this way if it meant I went back to feeling how I did before but could have kids. Is that selfish? Maybe, but if there’s anything life has taught me it’s that you do what you can to be happy and enjoy your life – don’t do things to make others happy or because it’s what you “should do”.
It’s your life and you never know what may happen tomorrow.