Posted by: Teri Simon | 2011/12/18

The Attention Span of a Gnat

cartoon flyI’ve been in this, I don’t know what to call it– “funk” is too harsh, and “mourning” is too maudlin, and I’m not mad, so it’s not a “rage”–let’s just say “mood;”  I’ve been in this mood since Thanksgiving, when, after a perfectly wonderful dinner, my girls left for their respective homes and it dawned on me that the times had changed, while I was busy with silly little things like chemo and its side-effects, and getting new carpeting, and needing radiation treatments to my eyes.  It was, for me, like those old insurance commercials, you know the ones:  where the parent is pushing the little boy on a tree swing, and after about the third push, instead of a little boy swinging back, it’s a grown man.  The announcer says, “Life comes at you fast.”  Yeah.  No kidding.

So I expressed this “mood” to my dear friend, acupuncturist Sara R., last month.  I told her it made me feel restless, and moody, and a little bit depressed.  I told her, “I have the attention span of a gnat!  I can’t even calm down enough to get focused to meditate.”  And she surprised the heck outta me with her reply:  “That’s really good, Teri!”   I was all agog, and I said, “What are you talking about?  I’m restless as all get out, and can’t concentrate on anything, and it’s not just the chemo side-effects here!  Are you crazy?”  And Sara smiled in her “all is peaceful” smile, and with her sweet, calm voice, suggested that the attention span of a gnat is a wonderful thing to have.  It makes you pay attention to EVERYthing, and notice more, and be open to more, and not fixate on ANYthing, and pull your head together in the blink of an eye to recognize the beauty in a whole lot more of life.   I know.  You need a second to digest that.  G’head.

Not long after that conversation, friend and doctor, Gary S., posted  “The Beauty of a Second,” on his Facebook page.  I think it’s breathtakingly beautiful, and the perfect illustration of what Sara was trying to tell me.  (My comment back to Gary was, “Dude, you find the coolest stuff!”)  It made me feel a whole lot better about my restless spirit, my gnat-like attention span.  Like maybe there really IS something nice about flitting from thought to thought, from focus to focus, from beauty to beauty.

I’m still restless.  I’m excited that my radiation treatments appear to have been very successful, as the tumors in both my eyes have flattened out significantly, and the side effects have begun to subside (a HUGE relief for me; HUGE!). Of course, these days, everything GOOD that happens is only briefly celebrated, because the truth of the matter is, in the Land of Lung Junk, the other shoe is bound to drop, and often times it’ll drop squarely on my head. Which means that, yes, the Tarceva rash is becoming evident again, and there are signs of a spot of trouble on my upper lip (potential infection), as well as my right big toenail, which means the nail may likewise be infected. So that stuff adds to the restlessness. And I’m not exempt from things like crazy drivers on the road, waiting in long lines at the grocery store, and my son getting food poisoning from a salad I bought him, just because I’m restless in the Land of Lung Junk..  (Mother of the Year badge up for grabs, y’all.)  But at least none of this stuff is the stuff to dwell on.  I can flit, I can flee, I can fly.

So that’s my holiday wish for all you, as this week brings us the start of Chanukah, and next Sunday, my heavens, will be Christmas: May you find things to make you laugh out loud.  May you find things to soothe your heart if it is aching.  May you taste delights, travel safely, do something nice for someone else, and let someone else do something nice for you.  And may you, too, have the attention span of a gnat, finding the beauty of a second.  Lots of seconds.

With holiday love,

Teri, the Flying Elephant, with the attention span of a gnat

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