How many times do we say we shouldn’t put off our dreams because ‘we only live once’ and ‘life’s too short’? Many, right? But how many times do we actually, seriously think about it? Not so many – until something happens that forces us to confront our own mortality.
I’ve just had one of those moments. About a year ago, I discovered a lump. On my thumb, of all places! I thought it was a callous. It grew. I thought it was a cyst. It grew some more. I went to my GP. I expected him to laugh at me for being such a fusspot, and throw me out of his surgery. Instead, he went all serious and referred me for an ultrasound. What?! He’d clearly ignored the reassuring script I’d devised for him!
The radiographer and radiologist then conspired to scare the crap out of me. It wasn’t a cyst, they said with grave certainty. It was a solid tumour. And not the sort of tumour they’d expect to see, either. No reason to assume anything frightening … but … get it out – ASAP. Aaarrghhhh! Not possible! I hadn’t planned for this. I still have all the time in the world to do what I want with my life … don’t I?
I made the mistake of consulting Dr Google and reading some horrific stories – arms being amputated, poor prognoses. Most websites informed me that nearly all hand tumours are benign. Don’t you just love that word ‘nearly’! It made me reassess my life – what I was doing, what I wanted to be doing, what mattered and what didn’t. Family, of course, was my number 1. But a close second was my writing career. I still have much to do, thanks very much! I don’t tend to be much of a procrastinator, but this gave me another push along. I would hate to get to the end and say ‘I wonder’.
Fortunately, the tumour turned out to be benign. Thank God! The experience has made me more determined to follow my dreams – and right now! All those little anxieties, the self-doubts, the rejections … they really don’t matter. Just keep doing what you enjoy. Unless you want your dreams to stick out like a sore thumb …