Last week, my partner and I have been having a tense few days, ever since he found angry red patches on my skin. We have been sniping at each other. I am convinced it’s just too much sun at first, until he pointed out the redness behind my neck, under my thick hair. Oo-er.

 

We went to the dermatologist at the hospital, who concluded that it is very likely to be eczema, which I never had in my life before. My partner is not convinced. He contacted my oncologist in London, and because he uses my laptop and does not delete his browsing history, I knew what he was looking at: long-term effects of radiotherapy, leukaemia, indicators, statistics. I rounded him for being paranoid. He shot back that paranoia kept the human species going since time immemorial.

“OK, paranoia might save our ancestors from being attacked by sabre-toothed tigers, but it kills modern humans because paranoia causes chemical damage to our immune system!”

Then we stopped sniping at each other as we stood on the beach in Layan, Phuket, watching this sunset.

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The fact is, as human beings, we are always thinking, happiness is when everything is “perfect”, i.e. when we are in perfect health, when it is a perfect day, when we are in a perfect place, when we have a perfect partner, when we have everything.

But fact is, happiness is here and now. A beautiful saying from Thich Nhat Hanh:

“In daily life, you are in the habit of running because you think happiness is impossible in the present. This is a habit that was handed down to you by your ancestors, by your parents. Happiness does not seem possible to you in the here and now, so you look for it in the distant future. The practice consists of stopping that habit of running.”

Sickness is a part of life, as with the bad days and happy ones. Therefore as one who had been sick, I strongly believe that we should not live in fear (or paranoia) but to get on with the sunshine, rainy days and beautiful moments with our loved ones. Yes, this is something I learned lately, when I had nothing, not even my health, but November-December 2015 was one of the happiest periods of my life ❤