Windows of Opportunity

When I was a teenager, my mother said I was so inept at cooking and cleaning, I needed to marry a rich man so I could afford a full-time housekeeper.

I have always been what is politely called “domestically challenged”.

The two weeks prior to chemo, when I could’ve indulged in one last fling at fun that I’d remember when I was too weak to do much of anything, how did I choose to spend my time? I cleaned my house — because if anything is worse than puking my guts out, it’s puking in a dirty toilet bowl.

After chemo, I had one week of feeling almost-okay before surgery — and again I cleaned my house, which had become pretty gruesome after months of neglect.

When I was able to move my arm without pain, I had one week until radiation started — and I cleaned my house.

Maybe my senior years compounded by illness have finally ushered in an adult sense of responsibility, but I’d rather improve the sanitation of my surroundings than go shopping or visit a museum.

When faced with a tiny window of opportunity, I choose to clean. When I’m allotted a small amount of time and energy to accomplish one thing before a long stretch of incapacity, I choose to clean. Not that I’m getting things in order before I die, but rather I’m getting things in order in anticipation of living.

As much as I hate housework, clean toilets add a sense of peace to my chaotic life.

Now a larger window of opportunity opens before me. With health I have time, and with time I have choices.

My horizons seem infinite, although time never is.