Interview with a Former Cancer Patient

Irish Jain, 20, is cancer-free for three-years now and I had the opportunity to ask her questions that I am curious about.

In movies, people who were cured of an illness, they announced that, “From now on, I’m gonna live life with no regrets!” and so I asked her if that was how she felt when her doctor announced that she was cancer free. And her answer went something like this:

“When I became cancer-free, I didn’t go like “I want to go skydiving!” instead, I just went back to normal. From home-schooling, I went back to school a month after. I think the only thing that changed in me was I know what my priorities are now.

Even if I got lots of homework, I do not stress myself so much on it or stay up late all night just to finish it. Instead, I prioritize my health and sleep early. Because when I was literally in a life-and-death situation, the thoughts that crossed my mind weren’t school or academic work, its my family and friends.

And it’s something that I feel is super important to share to everyone who’s going through finals or midterms right now. Academic work is not the end goal of life. There is so much more to life than school or university. Hence, please take breaks and take time to do something that you really want and not something that someone has assumed that it was important in YOUR life.

Also, if I looked back on my year 2019, what I remembered was not the deadlines but rather, when I was volunteering, writing, reading, and playing board games with my community and my family. This goes to show what my priorities are and even though the academic workload is heavy these past few days, I remembered what Irish had shared to me and I’ll just be so so grateful that I am living, breathing, and stealing some free time for myself, to live.

We Rarely Worry When We Were Kids

On a video uploaded by odg, they invited three young women: an 8, 12, and 16 years old. They were asked certain questions about their likes, when do they feel happy, and their dreams.

They were each asked if they have worries about the future. Here are their answers:

8 year old: If I become an adult, I think it would be fun. I don’t have any worries!
12 year old: I worry sometimes. When it doesn’t turn out so well even when I worked hard, I worry about what should I do then.
16 year old: I think I worry mostly about my career. I keep wondering If I.. would be doing the same thing in the future and… whether I’m doing the right things or not…

Followed by another question, if they ever compare themselves to others:

8 year old: Compare myself? Nope.
12 year old: I have really high self-esteem, so I rarely compare myself to others.
16 year old: With friends who get good grades or with friends who are good at make up and dressing up…

Through this video, I felt like I was seeing myself grow. As a kid, I thought of becoming an astronaut, then a teacher, a businesswoman, etc. Back then, I can’t wait to be an adult because then, I’ll be able to achieve anything that I wanted. However, that energy gradually dropped as I reached my teenage years- I became anxious and an over-thinker. Achieving my dreams wasn’t as easy as portrayed in those Disney movies. I had gone through transitional phases in terms of my personality and behavior because back then, I do not have a sense of identity, and that had unpleasantly affected the people around me.

I previously mentioned above what my dream professions are as a kid, but during 10th grade, when we are tasked to create a dream board, I was damped by cold water, I do not have any dreams. I think during my transition from a kid to a teenager, I lost my sense of wonder. Since then, I strive to know more about the world and of myself.

The following year, I read the book The Alchemist and the lines have impacted so much that I even wrote it in front of my notebook so that I would not forget it:

“[Personal Legend] is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny…

It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth…

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The title of the video above is “If you could go back to when you were 16, will you go down the same path?” My answer to that question is yes.

I am aware that I have spent a lot of time holding a pity party for myself when I was 16 years old but I had an amazing time during those years because of the people who constantly supported and accepted who I am. I had lots of fun volunteering and being part of something larger than myself. It might have been a rough road but if all of those did not happen then I would not sharing this now. I would not have this kind of perspective and journey, to begin with.

Most things that we worry about are inconsequential. And once we recognize this, we are off to a journey of unlimited possibilities and unknown capabilities. The world works mostly in our favor.