“Where on earth has your story gone?!?” My brand-new wife is looking at me incredulously. Her huge eyes are even bigger than normal, wide with surprise.
“I wasn’t going to mention anything to do with my cancer” I mumbled. “It’s a bit exhausted isn’t it?”
I’d just presented my wife with the full promotional campaign for a Kickstarter project that I launched with a friend on the 20th September. This Kickstarter focusses on all sorts of merits about how my new product would revolutionise the life of anyone wanting to gain more focus, mindfulness, productivity and grab back personal time from the decaying jaws of the workplace.
It is a product very much preoccupied with the nature and quality of time. But my draft campaign to introduce it doesn’t mention anything about my past, nor my motivations.
My wife was concerned: “But one of the key reasons why you’re doing this Kickstarter is because of your cancer and that time of your life. You need to get more of what Bijan calls “cancer banter” in there, more about your backstory, about why using time wisely is so important to you - otherwise it won’t make sense to anyone…” she said flatly with a whole new species of furrowed brow.
“Cancer banter” is the playful umbrella term my friends applied to any conversational thread relating to the grapefruit sized tumour I found in my knee aged 13. I inherited this conversational tract after spending 18 months in hospital undergoing a vivid waterfall of chemotherapy drugs. Simultaneously, I was having my left leg modified numerous times thanks to a legendary surgeon called Dr Grimer who had a playful arsenal of tools such as titanium, cement and an aviary of bone saws.
The same friends would be amused at the regularity that they’d wander into a conversation I’d be having already, only to discover the same arc of storytelling explaining the nuances of prosthesis, hair loss and theories on post-traumatic growth. But it is hard NOT to have to explain my limp to the inquisitive. Or my lack of interest in sprinting for a bus with a work colleague sometimes. So it does crop up.
However, this conversation has probably helped me build very robust friendships. These same close friends will point out the number of times it’s opened various unrelated doors in life. A few will be laughing out loud at the temerity of this post linking a Kickstarter with the old chemo sagas. They’ll have my “cancer banter” back in the dock, being tried for exploitation and deception.
But my defence, it’s a dialogue I’ve tried to retire, even bury. But it’s a robust topic that keeps popping back out of its coffin with a coy smile and a cheeky jiggle of the hips. And here it is again, gentling rolling a rock up a huge hill called “crowdfunding”.
The cause for my wife’s consternation? It is the same reason I don’t ever find myself watching TV, trying to meet three separate friends in one evening or remotely staying in at the weekend. It’s to do with the quality of time we have these days.
No one wants to waste time on things that lack any meaning. Humans are only really directly influenced by our fear of pain or our pursuit of pleasure. However each day of modern, plugged-in lives, we have to trudge through so much mediocre and meaningless middle ground between these two driving forces.
Just think of the countless digital distractions we have to deal with throughout the day. If we’re not careful, we can spend hours of EVERY DAY down a digital rabbit hole, googling things we’ve barely a passing interest in, looking at weddings on social media of people we’ve never met. Churning through a Netflix box-set on a Sunday because it’s easy and it’s there.
The temptation to muddle our way through lives is intense.
That’s why we’re launching our Kickstarter for a product called Trigg. It’s a page a day mindfulness diary that will help you live life with more care. It’s a balance pole for the work / play tightrope we all face. And it’s been designed over the last few years as we’ve tried to counter the rising tides of work, cramped evenings, empty digital worlds and a tsunami of information devoid of cerebral nutrition.
They say the worst of times can lead to the best of times. My cancer at such a formative age indelibly moulded the person I am today. I can’t help it - I want to live my life mindfully, I inhabit every moment for its true potential and I don’t want to waste any time peering into the paper thin facades of others.
I want to make the most of every moment while honouring my future self as I do. I believe the diary myself and my friend Bree, our designer has made could hold a valuable role to help you do that too.
You can learn more about Trigg here: http://bit.ly/2EDcd