42. The wonder of physical distance and perspective...or my work vacation in Atlanta
The beauty of being ALONE, in a hotel room, in a city you’ve never been to, cannot be underestimated. There’s magic in a “foreign” place that immediately cuts out brain clutter and if utilized, allows you to take a step back and reflect on your life. (It helps abundantly if said trip is at least five days.)
In my case, I just returned from a working actor trip to Atlanta, where I got to stay for a glorious TEN DAYS. It was my first time being “flown in” and “put up” for a job. For someone who is a super bargain hunter , it was GLORIOUS. Literally throughout the whole experience, in my head I thanking my amazing agents for this opportunity. ( I mean I did for real too , I’m not an animal) When your in an industry that can many times treat you like cattle, being present in the wonder that is doing something you love is gratitude on overdrive.
The simple act of being still when so much of your life is hustle, hustle, hustle, is a gift in itself. While, I am hustling a hell of a lot less than I usually do , fully being able to stop, made me realize a couple of things.
How tired I really am . I recall watching my mom in the latter days of her illness by pure resolve, get out of the hospital and drive herself the 88 miles to go visit my grandparents. At one point her brother asked “ Cher, how are you doing this aren’t you tired?” Her eyes filled with tears which she brushed off, because feeling crappy was less important than seeing her family. I am tired, after a long plane ride , more tired than I thought, but I will rally for things that fill my happy tank up, and I’m seeing pretty clearly what those things are
How lucky I am to have life long friendships. I fully credit my mother for this. Throughout her life she talked about people she rarely saw from decades previous, as if they were right there. At her funeral hundreds of people stood in line who had known her as far back as grade school. Now granted, in the past it was a bit easier because people didn’t move around so much, and as “pain in the ass-like” social media is, it has made it possible to stay connected to friends, I haven’t seen in person in decades. In Atlanta, I was able to see my friend Kevin whom I have known since I was 13, but haven’t laid eyes on in literally 20 years. The thing about friends like this , is you catch up, and then you dive in as if you have never stopped seeing one another. Its the place where time stops, because daily exposure doesn’t determine connection with people who are like family. One of the many upsides of this diagnoses is having reconnected with this network of “global family” on a more regular basis and how it has refueled my hope in humanity , that these people exist in the world at large.
How very fleeting and precious life is. My last day of shooting, on a break , I learned that my friend Angela’s brother Daniel had passed away from a very late stage rare cancer. While I am steadfast in the belief that the diagnoses I have received in the last 10 months are not the thing to take my life, my compassion for people going through similar circumstances is palpable. My therapist sagely advised me that “my difficulty to “cry” for my circumstances is being diverted in my ALL OUT weeping, for people like Dan who I have never met”. Who did all the right things and got handed a fully raw deal. it’s odd this walking close enough to see the end, but still feeling a confidence that , it will not befall you. You tune into the potential danger of simply living, and realize over and over again what a true miracle it is.
Upon my return I went straight from a semi idyllic experience, directly to the coldish reality of my 5th infusion appointment. Cause, while I can “see “ the end, I don’t plan on visiting it for a long while. I mean my mom made it to 61 , my dad to 69, I gotta at least get past 70. Right?
But if for some reason that doesn’t happen, i fully intend to keep living fully in this life, chemo, warts and all.