I pride myself on a level head and calm approach in hectic situations. It’s a skill that served me well during the chaotic technology work of infrastructure migration and helped me survive many personal tribulations. I’ve honed my ability as best as I can over the years yet whenever I think I’ve mastered this particular lesson in Life it reappears with a vengeance to show me what a novice I truly am and remind me that every situation has a next level.
One specific truism which has been beaten into my head this past decade is that everything, and I mean everything, takes much longer than anyone expected. It’s an especially difficult pill to swallow when our lives as a whole seem to be moving towards instant gratification in almost all aspects. I can pick up a phone and video call a friend in Japan without hesitation, but five years after my battle with cancer I’m still picking up the shattered pieces of my life. Anywhere I am in the US a package can reach my front door in two days, but I can’t remember what a healthy romantic relationship feels like.
The farther away I get from the parts of my life I cherished, the longer I sit in these painful stretches of time before I can get back to living, the harder it becomes for me to endure the waiting. I thought my encounters with illness and death had given me sufficient perspective to weather these storms, but there are moments where my hard earned knowledge crumbles in the face of unknown timelines stretching into the distance.
You can’t even complain because every day it’s the same story and the only thing which will change your predicament is what you’re already waiting to happen. Not to mention, you’ve done everything you can to speed up the process. When things are out of your control the only option left is to grin and bear the delays.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. Perhaps it’s an impotent scream into the uncaring void because little else has worked and I need a release valve. Perhaps there are those similarly becalmed who wish life would return to joy and see camaraderie in my words. Perhaps I need to see my struggle on the page before I am able to fully process this period of my life.
Photo © Gabriel Novo