Four times a year I make my way to my oncologist's office for a checkup and a preventative drug treatment. You would think that an oncologist's office would be one of the most depressing places around. And you would be wrong.
I've given lots of thought to why this is. Certainly there is no one simple reason. At least not one I can articulate.
The staff is great. That's part of the atmosphere. But only a small part of it. I think it's mostly that there is a really powerful sense of shared humanity between and among the patients. Empathy, certainly. But more than that. Maybe it's the shared knowledge of what a valuable gift life is. A cancer diagnosis makes it very easy to remember the joy in things that might otherwise be taken for granted. Or the feeling you just naturally have for others who are dealing with similar things. For whatever reason, it's a surprising place.
As I was driving back from Iowa yesterday, I was listening to a Colin Hay song in which he was considering the question if you could go back to an earlier part of your life, would you? His answer was no - or maybe to when he was seventeen.
I took his question in the sense of "going back for a visit", not "going back and starting over." I don't have many regrets, and don't want a "do over." But what times would you like to "refresh your memory" of? Perhaps oddly, the two times of my life that popped into my head as the two I am most interested in visiting were my undergraduate college years and the couple of months after I was diagnosed with cancer. The college years were great fun, at least if you overlook my pitiful dating career. But intuitively I would think the time when I was diagnosed with cancer would be the absolute last time anyone would want to revisit. But I promised myself then that I would never waste another day or hour of my life. It's a promise I've tried hard to keep. But I'm far from a total success in that endeavor. A reminder of that would be a good thing.
I also think the reason for my interest is that those are the two times of life where I was growing the most (it's also two times in my life when I was relatively thin, but I don't think that has anything to do with my interest).
Anyway, those were the strange thoughts that were popping into my head while driving through rural Iowa.
PS - There are lots of days I'd love to revisit. Our wedding day (but who would want to relive the weeks leading up to that?). The birth of our kids (but who would want to relive the sleep-deprived periods after those two wonderful events?).