Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Someone Moved My Cheese

It is ironic, that this morning, I wanted to write a post about dealing with change, and the first thing I noticed when I logged onto my blog, I was being forced to finally move to the new format of WordPress. Just as other things that have progressed or changed over the years, I am definitely not happy with this one. There was no reason to fix what was not broken.

This reminds me of a a co-worker I once had, a very sweet woman, who, during a time of major change within the company that we worked for, saw many of us having a very difficult time accepting the many changes that the company was enacting. This went beyond getting Grandma to use a microwave or setting a DVR. These were major changes to our work routines, our work quality, and eventually, a reduction in manpower.

Nonetheless, she brought in this book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spenser Johnson. When applying the book to real life, the “cheese” is what we want, and the “maze” that the mice go through, is life for us, no matter what we are dealing with, and what you need to do to be successful getting to that “cheese.” A simple read, but a profound example of life.

This thinking actually applies to many aspects of my life. In many cases, I am able to roll with most changes, some, not so easily. And there may be one or two that I am willing to fight to the death over. But one that has been the most difficult for me to adjust to, and every now and then, I am reminded of what I must accept.

The late effects of my cancer treatments have wreaked havoc on my ability to enjoy things in life I once did. Unable to tolerate extreme cold, a low endurance, and pulmonary issues leave me unable to do one of the things I enjoyed doing most, skiing. Upper body muscle issues no longer leave me able to play a variety of sports that I once used to, softball, bowling, and even enjoying nature, whitewater rafting. The list goes on.

Having two young children, one now an adult, another soon approaching that age, I learned to substitute my desires to enjoy those things I once did, with enjoyment of watching them, participate in fun adventures.

As my daughters have gotten older now, the challenges of entertaining them, occasionally find me wanting to push my limits, for just one more opportunity to do something with my daughters, not because I think I can, but because I want to. But the fact is, I cannot.

And that is how I deal with these sometimes overwhelming feelings. Being older now, my daughters are very aware of my health issues. They have witnessed my “breathing” attacks, have been told about my history, and are very well aware of others like me, who have children also. They also know, the time they get with me, is special and not a guarantee with my health.

The Covid19 pandemic has definitely made things even more challenging for me when it comes to providing entertainment for my daughters. I do all I can to protect them and prevent them from contracting it while with me, but they also understand my vulnerabilities.

So, when I find something for them to do, out doors, meeting the recommended criteria for safety (distancing, masks, and hygiene), I remember what it was like for me a long time ago, being able to enjoy that activity, and I want to do it with them now.

But I cannot. And I was reminded of that, as my daughters returned to shore. They found out the science of water current, that it was much easier going downstream for half of the journey, but a lot harder coming back, and their arms and shoulders let them know that lesson. This would have been a disaster for me, risking tearing both of my rotator cuffs, doing just this simple and easy paddling. As much as I wanted to make this trip with them, all I could do is watch.

I am reaching the end of their childhood. And as I go through this maze, and the cheese continues to be moved, I realize when I get to the end of the maze, it is going to be the memories of the enjoyment I had, watching my daughters share, laugh, and enjoy their childhood with each other.

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