A while back I told readers that I had a genetic problem with BRCA. I tested positive for an abnormality of my BRCA gene that is strongly associated with breast and ovarian cancer. I was tested because I have a very strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, and unsurprisingly I was told I had it. I slowly came to terms with it, accepting that while I didn’t want to have this, I wanted to know and to have surgeries to remove and rebuild my breasts and remove my ovaries to avoid getting cancers of my breasts or ovaries more than I wanted to have cancer and chemo and have these things taken out anyway because they were killing me. I’ve seen cancer. And honestly I figured I’d kill myself when I was ready if it came to that. I had this whole thing about how I want to be able to choose and to die with dignity. Anyway.. knowing I had BRCA was a chance to not have all of that. It sucked, but it also meant that I might actually live like other people. Continue reading
***Okay. This one is long, really really long. I’m sorry. I had a bit of a crisis and rethought everything. Feel free to skim or skip.
I’m thinking about the aspiration gap. We take our hopes and wishes and expectations and compare them to reality. The difference between what we want and hope for and what actually exists determines in great part how happy we are, and this is the aspiration gap. There is a good article here describing this idea in more detail. The really short version of this is that researchers measured happiness and expectation and found them to have an inverse effect, meaning that when people have reasonable or low expectations they were happier. It seems that the happiness with what actually happens is less important than how it measures up to what we thought or hoped would happen. If we expected $100,000 a year and got $90,000 we were less happy than when we expected $50,000 and got $60,000.
This is so damn true.
How many times were you surprised by great little things and tickled by the smallest things and saddened by the rewards that came and were actually great but not really what you’d thought would happen? I’m just adjusting my expectations and taking stock. I’m finding that I’m loved and supported, exactly as I want and need, and more, but maybe not how I pictured. I had some of this wrong. And you know, fuck judging myself for having feelings about that sometimes. I am allowed to feel this stuff. It’s okay to want and need. I can fuck up. And I can admit when I’m wrong and apologize.
So this weekend Traveler was talking about all of his plans and such and I was enjoying talking to him about all this, as I do. And I noticed something I never noticed before. I wasn’t in his plans. I don’t think much about that most of the time. We really aren’t to the “building stuff around each other” place. But he was talking specifically about his living arrangements and his home. And he has this like 10 year plan. And I’m not in any of that. So I asked. “How does this look for you.. your future living plans and your.. maybe.. like.. hopes or whatever? Is there.. other stuff in there?”. Hemming and hawing ensued. I was trying to tread lightly. Eventually I cleared what I was asking and he said he just really hadn’t thought about it.