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Who Are You Looking After?

Who Are You Looking After?

Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to make a recovery from prostate cancer. It might not be a full recovery but your diary is no longer peppered with visits to doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Your arm no longer looks like a pin-cushion and the phone has stopped ringing with people asking how you are.

Returning to “normal”

Normal life is beckoning. The pace might be a little slower, but it’s good to be back. That list of chores and errands makes a re-appearance, the grass starts growing (the weeds never stopped). There’s a gutter to clear and a fence to mend and then paint. There’s a light bulb in the porch that needs changing and that sticky lock on the cupboard hasn’t improved on its own.

You like the tasks though. The list might not get much shorter, as no matter how many you tick off there’s another person in the house who keeps adding more on the bottom of the list. But at the end of each day, you can sit with a drink in your hand and feel like you’ve achieved something. That’s got to be good, hasn’t it?

But there’s one item that never makes the list, despite having far higher importance than any dripping tap.

Remember to focus on you

It’s you. Burying yourself in those household tasks might look good on the outside, but it’s what psychologists call displacement activity. You are making being busy an art form while avoiding the tasks you can’t decide how to tackle.

Put that pesky list to one side for a day or two. Let the gate hinge squeak for a while, and use the time instead to work out what makes you healthy in the widest sense and start finding out how to incorporate these activities into your daily life. Here are some ideas:

  • Do what makes you happy. It matters not what it is, but find time to do it.
  • Spend time with the people who make you laugh (this might be the same as above, of course)
  • Do something new, or something you know but with a new twist, like in a different place. Learn a new skill, learn a new language, make it achievable and relevant, but still requires your attention for a while.

Perhaps use the new thing to challenge yourself. This does not need to be a physical challenge necessarily, but a way of measuring your performance in this new area.

Find joy and make memories

Whatever you do, make sure that what you are really doing is making memories. Not just memories for you to look back on, but as importantly for others to enjoy going over too. No one’s ever going to look at that gutter and say, “Boy, he kept a clean gutter. The best on the street.” They might say, “Do you remember how he learned to speak French so one evening we went all went to that new restaurant and he insisted on placing the order? The only pity was that the waitress was from Italy so she didn’t understand a word, but we had such a great laugh that night.”

Give it a go. Bonne chance* as they say in French.

*Good luck

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.