One of the dictionary meanings of ambiguity is: “the quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness. Example: “we can detect no ambiguity in this section of the Act.”
I’ve never been comfortable with ambiguity. I’m a pretty logical person (usually) and I like everything lined up in a row, all neat and specific, with an unchanging ending or conclusion. I think this is possibly why I was drawn to being a lawyer. Even if you don’t always like the answer, there usually is one or at least there is a path to get one.
Yet, life is ambiguous.
There isn’t always an answer.
Life doesn’t line up in neat rows.
Before my Stage IV metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, I’d ordered my life in such a way as to minimize ambiguities. Yes, sometimes ambiguities snuck in to be dealt with; at the same time, I was typically able to find a conclusion that fit in with what worked for us. Frankly, I’d found enough solutions that I had a sense of reliance on what I thought was part of my skill set.
Oh how things have changed.
Now, I live my life in 3 month increments, especially in light of my recent progression. Until I have had my scan and my bloodwork comes back, I find myself holding my breath. Planning ahead more than those 3 months seems daunting, overwhelming, and frankly, impossible. I know that the other shoe could drop at any moment and the stress of that is a weight that is impossible to quantify.
With this ambiguity, this inability to look too far ahead, how does one do life?
I can’t say that I have all the answers; at the same time, I’ve learned a few things in the past few years. Here’s how I look at it:
- I have to go to my medical appointments. Those go on the calendar first.
- I need to take care of my kids. Their appointments, the times I’m to pick them up and drop them off, those go on the calendar next.
- Resolving any conflicts with these two appointments can be a bit daunting. I know that no one needs to be reminded how doctors offices can run late, how traffic can be brutal, how cars aren’t always working, how people, including children get sick.
- I have to be willing to let go of plans because sometimes I can’t get everything done nowadays. This is really hard for me because when I’ve said I will show up somewhere, I put a lot of energy into making sure I can follow through.
- Planning ahead is daunting and since I’m a planner, that irritates the living daylights out of me. I find that I can look a few months into the future without getting anxious or just not being able to visualize it.
Life can always change in an instant or morph into something completely different. I’m getting better at rolling with the changes and adjusting my plans, but I don’t know that I will ever truly adjust to living with this much ambiguity.