Creating My Baseline

Creating My Baseline
My iteration of Robert Motherwell's Little Spanish Prison. But pink. And metallic.

As I mentioned in my last post - my baseline is wildly different from what it was when I started this journey.

It is also simpler.

2022 stripped away everything that wasn't cancer or relationship-related.  

Except for learning.  

I took up art in earnest last year to distract myself - and I received tremendous encouragement (and many supplies) from family and friends.

When I looked at the activities in progress on my informal "kanban board" at the end of 2022 - they fell into the following buckets:

  • Cancer administration - appointments, tests, insurance, getting my body healthy, financials.
  • Relationship cultivation - spending quality time with family and friends, now including travel as long as I could get there by car or train roomette.
  • Arts and Crafts - mostly cooking, crochet, and visual arts with a side of Cricut.

No career obligations and goals. No strategic business planning. No writing projects or reading targets or "self-improvement" activities. No fitness activities other than the things that keep me able to go to the bathroom by myself.

When I looked at the board - I liked the simplicity of my life and the fact that all activities except the cancer administration bucket could be abandoned if I had to without putting anyone out.

How might I maintain that simplicity this year?

Another step in determining my baseline is taking stock of my circumstances.

There are considerations I need to address when I set my loosely held "goals" this year:

  • My health is a non-negotiable primary priority.  
  • All activities need to be easily abandoned and not harm anyone if I have to abandon that activity.
  • I have to consider my immunity (compromised) and that we are still in COVID times - so anything requiring airplanes and lengthy time in confined spaces with lots of people are off the table for the foreseeable future.
  • I can't risk injury, cut myself, or mess with the chemo port. No whitewater paddleboarding or Crossfit or axe throwing or blacksmithing or glasswork or parkour or rock climbing right now.  Amusement parks and backpacking are also out since the "straps" go right over the port.  I also can't play golf or racket sports right now since I can't afford to jar the port out of my carotid artery. That could be bad.
  • I'm running with one energy bucket that has to accommodate mental, emotional, and physical energy - vs the separate buckets I had before I got sick.  Some days the bucket is larger than others.

Whenever I get depressed about the above list, I turn my attention to what I CAN do - art, crafts, reading, writing, hiking, stationary biking, yoga (minus arm balances and wheel pose), drive, cook...  there is so much I can do and learn while still accommodating my circumstances. And there are multiple online communities and classes I can leverage as I build my skills in new areas.

Honestly, the only big thing I feel like I'm missing right now is overseas travel. Thankfully, I've had a chance to travel over the years - so if I don't get a chance to knock off a few more countries from my bucket list, I'm OK with that.

Now that I know my baseline and guardrails - of all the things I CAN do, what do I WANT to do?  What do I want my experience of 2023 to look like?

I'll talk about my answers to that question next week.