Thursday 3 August 2017

Diagnosis in limbo: don’t eLearn now! Use time #blogphilosophy

Where a month ago I felt strange becoming 50, right at the moment of turning fifty I heard that I had malignant cancer in one of my breasts, possibly both. Well, let’s just say I was no longer worried about age, but about life in general. At this point in time I am still in limbo on what the next steps are, but an answer is soon to come.

Learning is the highest of life achievements
In my family (all sides) learning is considered the highest form of living. I live, therefor I learn. Without learning life has no meaning. Or, at the end of your life, a human being is considered to have obtained new knowledge that can be taken to the realm beyond or simply has to be used in this life (depending on the view of what death is).
However, the learning which makes up life is mostly informal learning, as most of my family (including me) are not that well equipped to learn formally. However, since a few weeks I now know that informal learning is not always an option. This is why: as the first indications started to point to cancer, I did not know that the eventual plan of action to tackle the disease would take so much time. And time – to me – is mostly spend on learning anyway. So, after hearing the bad news, I referred to my natural plan of action: learn … learn online. But, for first time in my life, learning was not the best option. Not in this case. It turns out that cancer, even a specific cancer like breast cancer is treated in many different ways, has multiple possible outcomes and each person’s body reacts differently to the chosen operations. Reading up on the subject, just gave me too many options, unclarity and anxiety. So… any type of learning I have ahead of me now, will be experimental learning, and on a highly personal note. And it would not be learning to be prepared, but learning to cope.

Change is gonna come
No matter what happens next, it is inevitable that change is happening more rapidly than in ordinary life: possibly coping with a new body, with a new timeline, with a new condition. I learned from my diabetes that it does not make any sense to linger for the past. That is gone, but can be a happy part of the new me. I guess, this change is going to be even more manifest now. So, the only thing for me to do is to find out what I can do, to at least make this transition more rewarding. I am scared, scared that I will no longer be able to add to anything related to online learning. I will write some long overdue papers (distilled from my phd), but I feel weary on whether I will be able to add anything relevant. The time to read everything that is happening might be scarce. I do have a small plan, but not sure if I can realise it. Apart from online learning, what else is there?

No bucket list, but a bucket (well one single) idea: Time
Most people seem to have a bucket list, I searched for mine, but did not find it. So, there is no list of things I want to do… I seem to be more of a person who just does it, or simply does not come up with large projects and certainly nothing high risk.
So, I wondered whether I had a bucket idea? I actually have, what is explored so little, yet enough to make a comfortable complex idea to tamper with for (possibly) the next few months? Time, time itself, for time to me is not linear, which has always intrigued me. Maybe, this is a good time to focus on Time. I will have to gather more information on this: what is time, how much has been mathematically analysed for linearity, multiplicity, …

So, not sure what online activities I will keep doing. But I sure hope to have ample time to enjoy thinking… learning and thinking for the coming weeks or months.