Personal dissonance is a psychological term describing the difference between a person's self image and their actual abilities.
I've been battling with my own personal dissonance recently.
The funny thing about cancer is that the world doesn't stop once your diagnosed. Your own world may seem to stop. It certainly takes a big detour, but everything else, everyone else, keeps marching on.
There are still school plays and cupcakes to be made.
Overtime illness becomes another responsibility that needs to be maintained and not the apocalyptic catastrophe originally imagined.
My actual abilities change day to day based on how my many ailments disable me.
It's hard to pin down exactly what I'm capable of and how long I'll be able. I certainly have thought for a long time now that I was capable of doing things I was not physically capable of.
Merging your ideal self with your real self is a normal psychological stage of adulthood (though I can't remember exactly who said it and what its called).
It occurs when you realize all your childhood dreams may have been just that: dreams. Reality hits and you recognize you can't/won't achieve everything you thought you would. You know you'll never be an olympian. You'll probably never be president, famous, or even rich and successful enough to own property anywhere in Manhattan.
I'm there. I'm at that point in my life.
It always surprises me when I realize I've reached some psychological milestone I read about in college that shows I've matured.
I don't need to look any farther than the mirror to realize I've aged. My patchy grays and forty extra lbs ensure that I'm not mistaken for a teen anymore.
I feel like cancer should have stunted me. I should be frozen in time with the phone to me ear listening to my CT report.
You know what? It's not so bad. It's almost a relief.
I had so many goals for so long hoping to achieve something great that would outlast my existence and continue to spread good.
But those ideas couldn't all happen.
I can't be everything I ever dreamed I'd be. I'm not wonder woman. It's not humanly possible. It's certainly not possible with my illness.
And I finally know that's okay. HOORAY!
I wonder how much my disease and suffering has contributed to my acquiescence to the fact I'll probably never do any earth-shattering, history making deed.
I think it certainly sped the process up by shortening my life span, which certainly limited my achievement options.
If I don't live to 38 I can't be president, now can I?
It's a normal life stage and I'm happy to realize, despite the obstacles, I'm content with how I realistically see my life. It isn't as full of acedemic achievements, high level degrees, prestiges/powerful jobs and world changing projects, but it is full of love and contentment.
I call that a success, but that doesn't mean I'll stop trying to somehow alter humanity forever for the better. It just means I know I'll be okay if I don't.