Tuesday, April 15, 2014


That is what I am these days.


I've written before that back around the new year I was feeling pretty depressed. About as depressed as I've ever been, in fact. Which is probably not too depressed by clinical standards. I'm normally a pretty happy guy.

Part of that was normal post-cancer depression. As I've mentioned before, lots of patients experience it. One is so focused on the cancer battle while it is going on that "normal" life afterward can feel aimless.

For me, it was combined with feelings about work. I've been working in the same field for more than 30 years. During that time I've had several periods of burnout. That's probably pretty normal.

It so happened I was deep in my most recent period of burnout when I was diagnosed with cancer. Those concerns got put on hold during the adventure, but I still had those residual feelings when I returned to work.

Fortunately, my absence from work provided an opportunity to shake things up a bit. There were some organizational changes while I was gone. I started working for a different boss at the end of the year (I like both my old and new bosses very much, but still it was another bit of change that turned out to be beneficial). Some of the older projects that had been weighing me down started wrapping up, and I found opportunities to shift my focus to work activities that inspire me more.

Another aspect is concern about my age and employability. I've done a pretty good job at staying technically relevant into my mid-50s. But my field (software development) is constantly changing and to some extent is a young person's game. Also, in a technical field most people eventually switch over to the management ladder in order to maintain an upward salary trend but I don't get nearly as much satisfaction from management work as I do from technical work.

I need to work at least another 15 years (unless I win the lottery, which I don't play!). So, I worry that if this job went away I might have difficulty finding a comparable one that would maintain our current standard of living and keep our retirement savings on track.

About a month ago, though, I decided I don't need to stress about these things: I chose to enjoy the fact that life is returning to normal and I'm feeling good and I'm able to be a functional dad and husband again.

I decided to be happy!

I have lived a pretty charmed life. Now that we're over that little speed bump, I can enjoy the enchantment again.

Hopefully my bimonthly surveillance checkup at Dana-Farber tomorrow won't alter that. We're pretty confident it won't. I'll keep you posted.

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