Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guilt

Guilt. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I noticed that I have been thinking about situations that are bringing on ripples of guilt, so I decided to explore the concept a bit.

The Webster definition of guilt:
Pronunciation: \╦łgilt\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, delinquency, guilt, from Old English gylt delinquency
Date: before 12th century
1 : the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct
2 a : the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously b : feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : SELF-REPROACH
3 : a feeling of culpability for offenses
Number 2 a and b applies to my particular brand.

So, what do I feel guilty about? A couple of things that have surfaced include:

  • Not being enough of a sailor to help Thierry take Curlew down to the BVI’s. I only feel a little guilty about this.  Sailing was never even a thought when I was growing up. I do have a sense of adventure and like to travel, but as much as I’ve enjoyed our trips, I can’t see myself on the water for a week or more in a constant state of nausea (it is really a feeling of discomfort that settles in the pit of your stomach). This is how I feel a few days after chemo, and I do not have any interest in re-creating this environment.  Mind you, this is something that is totally in MY head. Thierry has never intimated in the least that this is a dream, want or desire. I just feel badly when he browses the blogs of other sailors making trips like these.
  • The feeling that I rush off of phone calls my friends make to me, especially when that friend lives far away. Mostly this is due to the fact that I am getting ready to go somewhere or I have just gotten back, or something else is going on around me that takes my concentration away. I have no idea if this is in my head or if my friends get the same impression – the fact that Mary always rushes phone calls – but do know that there are ways I can fix this. Minor guilt here.
  • Not calling my aunts enough.
  • Not taking my parents on errands enough.
  • Ending relationships with people I no longer have things in common with, especially those with whom I never really had a close personal relationship – some formed a long time ago – in another life and another social setting. The principal reason I don’t stay in touch is because they are folks or persons who tend to zap your energy and emote a lot of negativity.
This last item does cause me some angst, because the fact is I don’t know how to break the relationship. These people or persons tend to be very needy. My conscience tells me that maintaining contact is an act of kindness, and being a kind person is something I work toward. The other part of my brain says you don’t need to be everyone’s friend – and this makes sense because I don’t feel I devote enough time to my current friends and other old chums that I never see or talk to enough. So, it makes sense to let some people go out of your life.

How do you do this gracefully? The good voice in my head says if you are willing to volunteer and spend time with people in need, taking 10 minutes on the phone with an old acquaintance is a courtesy that can be easily extended. But then they’ll ask about meeting for lunch or stopping for a visit, which leads to excuses and little white lies. Or, I can listen to the bad voice that says, just let it (them) go, ignore the phone calls, etc., and let the relationship die a natural death.

Guilt. I don’t dwell, these little voices just pop up every now and again – but it helps to talk it through and find ways to deal. 

Since I last wrote, friends from Maryland moved into our neighborhood. I met one of our new neighbors down the hall, the first impression was a good one! The weather has been terrific for several days, although poor Thierry had no wind when he took Curlew out earlier in the week. Next week, when we celebrate Thanksgiving with too much food, is also my week off of chemo. Yeah! This has been a very good week!

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