Article by Wendy McCance
I have fought the, “what if” monster off and on throughout my life. It’s no way to live. Fear of what could happen down the road only puts you in a place where you stop moving. You become that deer in the headlights not sure what move to make. Lack of movement shuts down any joy, ambition and definitely doesn’t help you live life to the fullest. Instead you are living life at minimum capacity and feeling worn out with worry the whole time.
Having cancer can really put you in that, “what if” frame of mind. I have Smoldering Multiple Myeloma which means that, yes I do have cancer, but no, I haven’t started any treatment. At this stage, a wait in see approach is taken. Until a blood test shows my numbers going up and/or my organs begin to shut down, I can go on living my life as though I am perfectly healthy. The problem is fear. I held off prospecting for new business for several months after I was diagnosed because I was concerned that any moment I would start treatment and would have to drop clients. Who knows if I will even have to back off of working when I need chemotherapy or whatever else I might be treated with. It’s just fear lurking its ugly head.
My husband was offered a dream job. He will slip into a career that will bring him more money, he will train and learn skills that most people have to go to school to learn and he will feel challenged each day (something he thrives on). The only bump in the road is that there will be a considerable amount of travelling. So began another round of, “what ifs.” What if he needed to be at home because of my cancer? What if I wasn’t able to handle the household, juggling kids and a job alone while he was gone? What if the travelling became so excessive he was gone more than he was around?
The questions were all wrong. Who knows what the future will hold, but why worry about so many things that might never occur? When my husband was contemplating taking the job and all of the worries were discussed, I got fed up with living a fearful life and told him I didn’t want to worry about, “what ifs.” It’s no way to live a life. I would rather have him go do what he loves and have struggles because of that decision than have fear rule our world. If he didn’t take the job, he would regret it for a lifetime and I would be miserable seeing him living with regret.
I have been working on changing the, “what if” dialog to fit a more positive way of living. Instead of the doom and gloom questions, I look at the possibilities like what if my husband excels at his new job? What if the company is thrilled with him and he gets a promotion? What if all of the travelling brings in so much overtime money that we get to go on a dream vacation? It’s a much more pleasant and rather exciting way to deal with the uncertainty of the situation.
As for my own career, I have been pushing aside my fear and have gotten back to work. I am focusing on the enjoyment of what I do for a living and I focus on doing the things I love most. It’s funny, but each time I can let go of the worry and go with the flow instead of pushing against the natural progression of life, amazing things spring up. New clients come into my life and work is not work because it is so much fun. And honestly, aren’t we all looking for a way to live our lives where work doesn’t feel like work? I think the trick is to let go of the fear of the future and enjoy the ride of the present moment. Enjoying the present without worrying about the future is the kindest way to truly live your life.
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