The Prison of My Own Expectations

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The author: Joshua Tree, CA

The question that has haunted me since my cancer fiasco is the Granddaddy of all existential questions, “Why?”  All of this time, I have carried around the belief that I went through everything for some grand reason. I subsequently tortured myself with the idea that I needed to turn around and use my experiences to help others in a very defined way. I took college classes in chemistry, medical anthropology, and a whole slew of other disciplines trying to strike gold. I imagined myself yelling, “Eureka!” while a clear path laid itself out before me, just begging for me to step foot onto it.

It never happened.

But, oh, how I tried!  Last fall I mustered up the energy to apply to graduate school and it has not gone well.  I have one application still outstanding, to UCLA, and I am not optimistic.  I have received five other rejection letters already.  I have an acceptance to a private school I cannot afford. It will drive me $100k+ into debt and imagining being in such a situation is like visiting my own grave. I have felt upset, depressed and defeated, but today a feeling of freedom came over me.

All of my life, I have coped with challenge through education. Some people drink, I research and read everything I can find. I did the same with cancer and continue to do so. I set up my Twitter (@athycalife) as an information source in order to take advantage of this.

Education, or getting more of it, is no longer the path for me. I always felt I was supposed to be doing something better with my life than my current career, which is good and useful all on its own. I felt that I was supposed to have a graduate degree. I previously attempted to earn one, but was thwarted by Hashimoto’s Disease. That experience has hung over my head for the last ten years, a loose end that must somehow tie in with my desire to use my cancer experiences to help others.

But I was wrong.  My current career could theoretically could be used to help others with cancer. I have this blog, the Twitter account and for those that stumble upon them, I hope they are useful. In short, I think am exactly where I need to be and am no longer dogged by this expectation I have pinned on myself. That’s freedom.

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