Just this past week I had a very difficult conversation with my husband. Difficult for me that is. I had a hard time excepting what I had to say. What I know I need to do. I have made this promise to myself more than once this past year. In fact on the day of my first cancer diagnosis I sat in a Chinese restaurant with my husband and told him in no uncertain terms, I am not working this year. For as long as I am going through cancer treatment, I am NOT working. I felt like I was making a statement to him. An ultimatum if you will. Looking back I must admit it was myself that I was speaking to. I failed myself only a few months into my treatment when a client reached out to me with what they promised would be an easy transaction, no work on my part. Honestly, if it is so easy as to be no work on my part then why the heck would you pay me!? I took the work and promised to help them and promised them I would not let it compromise the rest I needed during treatment. In the end, a few months later while sitting in the ER no less, I texted a fellow broker and asked her to take over the work as I was doing too much. The next day they were in contract and I regretted, for a moment, handing them off and giving up my paycheck. Later that year I took on another client, a good friend actually who was going through a divorce and moving away. I couldn’t let them down or let just anyone help them through this difficult time in their lives. This friend had been my life ring so many times through this cancer journey. It still breaks my heart that she moved away, all the way to Ohio. That one turned out well and wasn’t altogether too difficult. As the year came to an end and 2017 was on the horizon I began to feel a foreboding sense that not only was my time with cancer coming to a close but my time of rest and reflection as well. Clients were lining up, a realtors dream, and I would have work from now through spring, no problem. Lying in bed I would imagine how it would be viewing it all through the lens of an optimist. Upon waking, the fear of doing too much, of needing to be somewhere other than home at the very moment when all I wanted was to rest or read or write began to creep in and overwhelm me. I would stuff it down, stifle the voice ready to cry out, “WAIT, I’M NOT READY YET!” I would find other things to distract me, to occupy my thoughts. I would tell myself over and over that it would all work out, it always does. And yet, this deep sense of regret was pouring into my very being. Filling up quickly like a reservoir when the dam has let loose. And with the flooding of regret I began to feel angry. Angry that I was not being allowed the time to reflect on the past year, the time to grieve all that I have lost both physically, emotionally and mentally. Time to think and discover who I am now, post cancer. Time to write which has always been my dream and one that I thought cancer was going to finally gift to me. In speaking to my husband I was finally honest with myself and him. I felt guilty to actually not work and yet I felt angry that I felt I was being forced to work before I was ready. And the only person truly forcing me, was me. I would not allow myself to just stop. To just be. To rest, to reflect, to write and to discover. If I did, that would be quite selfish. I would be denying my family the income I provided. I would be denying my clients and friends the excellent service I painstakingly commit to provide each and every one of them before, during and after their real estate purchase or sale. I would be letting so many people down.
Today while on the phone with a broker who is helping some of my clients and will be helping more going forward this year I said out loud what my heart had been feeling, The one person I am truly letting down is myself. I have always put others before me because I truly care and want what’s best for them. In this moment, at this time, I need to do what’s best for me. I need to allow myself this time. Time to not work, time to think, time to reflect, time to grieve, time to heal and time to discover what is next for me. And I need to do it with no regrets.