1994 -- Finding Utopia

When I decided to do this 26 blogs for 26 years, I looked back at some of the writing I did about cancer in the '90s when the reality of mortality had set in. Here is one of the pieces I found from 1994. I get a great new age kind of magazine that often asks its readers to write about topics. This month's comment page asked readers to identify their idea of Utopia, that fantasy island created by author Thomas Moore where we all live in peace in harmony. Today, Utopia has come to mean perfection. The short articles from readers ranged from their time living in a commune and free love (usually ending with the moment when reality bit and they became a stockbroker) to talk of the Utopian day with no traffic, great hair and perfect children. One recalled the summer of puberty and rites of passage when all the world was warm and loving.It struck me that my vision of Utopia has changed. In the past, I probably would have said a world where there was no hunger, racism, sexism or pain -- where everyone had meaningful work and felt fulfilled.That was the idea before cancer. Now, it's just the world. As I walked out to get the paper this morning at 6:30 a.m., I felt the morning chill like a reassuring friend. Our two dogs, whose favorite time in the morning comes when I say, "Let's go get the paper," dashed around me sniffing and panting. The old one, Brandy, is excited to just make it up and down the steps. Zeal, the puppy, whose personal mission is to keep the world safe from squirrels, zips to the farthest corners of the yard in a flash. The sky is filled with those cloud clusters that reflect pink and red pearlesence.In the house wait a hot cup of coffee and morning chatter with my husband and child.The house isn't clean, the wash isn't done, the bills aren't paid, my hair is awful. I have too much to do. There is still hunger, racism and sexism, but I live in Utopia when I wake up every day. I live in Utopia because I wake up every day.