“What is it on this planet, that needs doing, that I know something about, that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it” – Buckminster Fuller
When I was younger, my head was full of ideas of what I would like to ‘be’ when I grew up: A Doctor, the Prime minister, a Hollywood actress, the next J.K Rowling, a chocolate taste tester, etc. But it wasn’t until a few years ago when I realized I couldn’t be anything I wanted. At first I used CFS as an excuse to vent this grief, but that was not really fair to all the fully healthy people that, at one point or another, have to come to the same conclusion. We are all limited; by our education levels, our skills or lack thereof, and our lifestyles- I could never become a famous scientist because I nearly flunked second year stats- sure I could say if I had had higher energy level s I could have studied harder, but when I look at my poor math records throughout my entire education, I have to admit I am simply not good at math.
When I first realized that there was going to be no treatment that would simply give me all the energy I wanted, I had to start re-evaluating my goals, and thinking about what kind of work I could do. What kind of job would not be too stressful? What kind of job would allow me to work from home? What skills do I currently have that could be utilized? But it turns out I have been asking all of the wrong questions.
It is easy to get consumed with making a living. We all need to have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat. Yet many people spend most of their time on this earth, working at a job every day that makes them miserable. Surely there must be a better solution to this.
I have just finished reading “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat Zinn. He tells us to continually ask the question: “What is my job on this earth with a capitol J” ie. What do I care about and know about more than anyone else on this planet? Even having your mind come up with a blank to this question can be helpful- it can guide you to introspection in places that have not been observed before. This does not mean I need to find a way to make a living from eating chocolate, as Zinn says:
“ It may not mean that it will change what you do, but it may mean that you want to change how you see it , or hold it, and perhaps how you do it”
How has illness changed your perspective on the work you do?