Article by Wendy McCance
The other day I was driving my daughter to an appointment. She asked me a question (I can’t remember the exact topic), but I do remember saying, something along the lines of, “I can’t wait because in 5 years…” My daughter became exasperated and said, “you always talk about in 5 years this or next month that, everything with you is based on numbers and what will happen in the future. You know what? She’s right!
I’ve always had a tendency to live by the numbers and over the years, it has gotten worse. When I was young, it was all innocent enough. I would dream about what life would be like at 16 years old, or I would say that I couldn’t wait until I was 21 years old because then I’d be officially an adult with no legal limitations of any sort.
Later in life, I used numbers as a coping mechanism. I worked for a manufacturer who closed the plant I worked at leaving me out of a job. To deal with it, I would envision my life 5 years down the road. I’d think, 5 years from now I’ll be just fine and it won’t matter that I lost my job. In fact, I’ll probably have an even better job. This became my mantra. Look to the future and picture a better life than the one that is being currently dealt to you.
So, all these years later, I live off the numbers. It is now a habit of mine. I’ll plan out what I want to accomplish a month from now. I’ll dream about where the family will be financially a year from now. I’ll think about the life my husband and I will have ten years from now when the kids are adults, living on their own.
The most important number that looms over my head is how many years I will have left to live. When I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I looked online and learned that the average life expectancy for someone with my stage of cancer was 5 years. After talking with people and going to a support group, I have learned that the information is not only outdated, but until you start treatment, the countdown does not begin. So much for researching information on the internet. Apparently, although not a curable disease, there have been great advances made in the treatment of multiple myeloma.
I am grateful that I am in the smoldering multiple myeloma stage and relieved to know that there are people who have had the disease for 10, 15 and on occasion 20 years. The thing is, every time I have pain, a bruise or sore ribs, I get scared. I begin panicking that the countdown is about to begin.
I need to listen to my daughter and ditch the numbers. Always looking to the future, whether good or bad has become a negative experience. What was once thought of as planning for the future or some innocent daydreaming has turned into not being present right now as life stands before me. It’s time to focus on the here and now and forget about what happens next. In 40 some years, it honestly hasn’t been very beneficial.
What about you? Can you relate? Do you rely on the numbers to live your life? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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