The Phoenix Zine

Waiting On My World to Change


I’m a fan of John Mayer, and lately his song “Waiting on the World to Change” has been sticking in my head.

The song is about how Mayer’s generation is misunderstood. Others mistakenly believe his generation doesn’t care about the world but they do, they just don’t know how to change things.

The chorus goes:
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

Mayer’s basic point is when his generation gains control of society, things will be different. And until that time, they’ll keep waiting for things to change.

I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting. Be it waiting for a bus, a letter, my computer to load up, a university lecture to finish, a guy to make a move, or for my latest doctor’s appointment to begin, they all make me antsy. I hate the feeling of not being proactive and just waiting around for something to happen.

But if I’m waiting for something I can’t speed up, usually the waiting is made easier because the end is in sight. Eventually the bus or the letter comes. My computer may be slow but if I leave it alone, it’ll be ready to use in a few minutes. University lectures are on a time limit, and when they don’t end on time, they end shortly thereafter. Doctors may be busy people who keep you waiting, but after a time the appointment with them begins and ends.

Now I’m facing a waiting game I don’t know how to play. After a blood clot was discovered in my left ventricle in 2004, I was told by my cardiologist at the time I would need a heart transplant within the next few years. That was almost four years ago.

I’m still waiting, teetering on the edge of being put on the heart transplant list, but not quite there yet. During my latest cardiac appointment with a different cardiologist I like and get along with, she told me it could be 2 to 20 years before I need a heart transplant. Which means, until that time, I will continue to be at the same energy level and physical ability I’m at now.

In a way, it sets up a heart transplant as the answer to all my problems. If I could only get on the list and get a new heart, I wouldn’t be waiting anymore. Except, as a liver transplant recipient, I know this ‘transplant as a cure’ theory to be untrue, especially when it comes to hearts. Liver transplants last a long time; in Canada, the longest-surviving liver transplant recipient is up to 25 years post-transplant. I’m up to 20 years post-transplant myself. Hearts, however, are a different story.

My cardiologist has told me transplanted hearts usually last nine years. Yes, there are people who have survived longer, but there are also those who haven’t survived that long. Transplants are risky, there’s no guarantee an organ will become available in time, and rejection is always a danger.

One of the things I’ve always feared is running out of time. I’ve wanted to move out of my parents’ house since I began university nearly six years ago but I haven’t. At first the reason was because I didn’t have the money, but then it became about whether I should even try to live on my own with my conditions.

Do I bid my time and wait till I have a heart transplant before I pursue moving out? I don’t know the answer. After four years of waiting and potentially another twenty ahead of me, the thought of waiting around putting off my dreams until after a heart transplant does not sound appealling.

If I wait to move out, should I also wait to pursue relationships, marriage, and having children? Taking a trip outside the country or continent, is that another something I’ll just have to wait to do?

I like the way John Mayer’s song sounds, but his lyrics irritate me. At one point he sings, “It’s not that we don’t care, we just know that the fight ain’t fair,” as though that’s a good excuse for not fighting and just waiting for change to happen on its’ own. Lots of things in life are unfair, but it doesn’t mean we should give up.

Recently I was remind by Valerie, the next woman to answer the ten questions for The Phoenix Zine, of a quote from Mahatma Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mayer has it wrong, it isn’t about waiting for the world to change, it’s about us changing ourselves first.

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