Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

What If We Lived with Childhood Abandon?

There are certain things we do as children and then watch children do as adults that are fun?  Do you remember raking leaves and then running through or diving into pile of leaves?  Do you remember making sand castles at the beach?  Have you ever watched a child at their first birthday dig into their birthday cake?  What is it about these activities that we find so appealing, funny, and heart-warming?  It’s the childhood abandon that comes with the action.  It’s the times in our lives where we weren’t being judged, we weren’t being ridiculed, and we weren’t under strict codes of behavior to be prim and proper.

As we grow older and take on adult responsibilities we lose some of that spontaneity and reckless abandon…we become “responsible”.  Then your doctor gives you the news that you’ve got a chronic or other life-altering illness and you regress emotionally and perhaps spiritually for a time while you regroup.  After the dust settles, it’s time to reclaim your childhood abandon.  I was reading a book (sorry didn’t write down the source…my bad) but the line that caught my attention was, “Approach this experience as a child might approach a mud puddle.”  Can you picture that as you read the line?  Can’t you just picture a kid approaching a puddle and deciding whether or not to take the plunge?  There’s an anticipation, excitement, and a sense of danger.  Then the child jumps in the puddle and life is full of fun, laughter, and wonder.

Following the diagnosis, how would you approach this new challenge the way a child approaches a mud puddle?  It’s like that joke, “How do you eat an elephant?”  “One bite at a time”.   How will you approach this new chapter in your life?  How will you choose to engage this challenge with a sense of wonder?  You need to develop a new level of curiosity.  You need to cultivate a sense of adventure because the time may come when you may be approached by your medical team to enter a clinical trial.  You will need to break the rules when you don’t agree with the treatment plan or you feel your concerns are not being addressed.  It’s okay to stomp in the puddle…it gets people’s attention.

I’d love to hear how you’re facing this health challenge the way a child approaches a mud puddle.  Send me your experiences to