Months ago, after a lull of many years, I contacted my psychologist and told her I needed session because I was about to make a big change in my life. I was sure about this decision, but the change was strange even to me. I had not yet offered to come to Montréal to care for my grandparents yet, and I was to inform my family soon.
Psychologists usually let you talk things over to yourself, to come to your own conclusions. To my surprise she was very resistant to this idea--"You're in the peak of your earning and living potential, you're supposed to be pursuing family and professional goals at this stage of life". What I'm supposed to be doing with my life has never concerned me, what concerns me is stagnation, the same day repeating over and over, not learning anything new, I told her.
Ok, she conceded but what is in it for you?. What a strange question. I had not considered it, but she had a point. Other than a change from my current circumstance--which was not bad, just repetitive, I couldn't muster a single selfish reason why I was doing it. The fact there was no selfish reason is not equivalent with purity of intention, on the contrary, it meant that my true motives were hidden in my shadow and I couldn't see them.
Even though the session had been adversarial, some days later I sent her an email to thank her for it, because by digging into this part I had hidden from myself, I found many useful possibilities. I could claim government benefits for taking care of my grandparents (though I will use this as a last resort) or be provided a scholarship from the province of Quebec to learn French. I also looked into which winter sports I could practice, which were the best yoga studios, etc.
However, now that I'm here, I find myself deeply engaged with my task, and this has always been my highest reward. I find myself delighted in finding answers to things that baffle me. For example, my grandmother's dementia seems to get worse randomly. You might call her in the morning and she's very confused, but then you call at a later time and she's lucid. Why is that?
Well, yesterday I was allowed into her room to look at the furniture I'll bring back home, and she was mildly confused. They brought her lunch and put it on the table. She proposed that we share lunch because she dislikes eating, "I throw away two thirds of it anyways", she said. I have a big appetite, so I enthusiastically consented. As he drank her coffee and munched on half a muffin, I saw her confusion lift, suddenly we were animatedly talking about old memories and such, with no sluggishness or struggle to recall words. It took me a while to connect the dots--her dementia is made worse by low blood sugar!
Now I find that her age, her dementia, and her low blood sugar are possibly connected. But this I just discovered yesterday, I'm following a trail which keeps me engaged with my current life situation. At this time I'm not interested in going skating or learning French, I want to see grandma to ask her if she has a history of diabetes.
Being engaged in life is the highest reward.