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For so long, whenever anyone asked how I was, the answer was always something like, “Crazy busy, but good!” And I think I was proud of that. I think I felt like you had to be “busy” in this day and age, or you were just wasting time.

Now, I wouldn’t usually categorize my days as busy. Yes, when I work, I AM busy from the moment I get there to the moment I leave, but even when I get home, I seem to be making more of my time than I ever did. One night last week, as I went to bed, I marveled that I had even worked that day (and I worked a full 8 hours) because I was still able to do so much after work that evening. I had a wonderful evening with my family, put Emmie to bed, spent wonderful time with Peter and got some good blogging done.

I’m working part-time now, which also helps GREATLY with that sense of balance. No, we definitely are not making as much money as we did when we both worked full time, but I’ve learned that there are MUCH more important things than money (as long as you have enough to live on, of course). We’ve always lived relatively frugally, a habit fostered by years as grad students, but I still I feel so lucky we can make this new lifestyle work. It’s SO much better on me to be less stressed and able to enjoy life more, and being able to work part-time has a huge amount to do with that.

While I love being home, I also love going to work (I love my job). I think of something one of my friends in college used to say, “If you never go away, how can I miss you?” If I never left Emmie, how could I miss her? Being away just makes me appreciate her delicious cheeks and heart melting smiles even more when I am home.

People try to make sense of senseless events after the fact, to incorporate these “random,” life-changing events into their life narrative, to meld things that happened to us into that which makes our Self. We have to.

One of the ways I’ve tried to think about my cancer diagnosis is to think about how much I might have taken for granted without it. Would I have drunk in every single moment with Emmie? Would I have pushed myself to work more? To be “busier”? At what cost? Now, I feel like I can savor life a little more, take those moments where I might have otherwise felt like I “needed” to DO something.

Being busy does not always mean living life fully.