A note to subscribers: Some of you received this post last Friday when I wrote it and, due to “lingering flu fogginess,” (which ought to be a recognized condition) accidentally published it ahead of the intended date. I hope you won’t mind reading it again.
As I write this I’m in the ninth day of a bout with a nasty, feverish flu. I use the word “bout” deliberately. At first I fought it, insisting on attending a social event, doing a little writing, flying to North Carolina, preparing a meal for beloved relatives, and flying back to Florida. Thanks to a highly developed Warrior archetype, living in my head and ignoring my body, pushing forward, and toughing it out has always been my normal mode of operation.
But I’ve surrendered to the bug. I’ve canceled three workouts and three engagements, stayed in bed, and written zilch. This is decidedly abnormal. I rarely get sick, never nap or watch television during the day, always show up, and, above all, am almost always attracted to writing. Not this time! Thinking made my head hurt and the last thing I wanted to do was write.
Now that I’m feeling better my passion for thinking and writing is returning. And since I look for meaning and psychological reasons for everything, I find myself wondering what this enforced time-off has been all about. Here are a few random conclusions. (I don’t intend to sit here all day perfecting this piece. I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before the bed starts calling.)
Lesson #1: Giving myself permission to relax and let go of my agenda frees me from a burden of anxiety of which I’m usually unaware.
Lesson #2: My anxiety is nobody’s fault but my own.
Lesson #3: Missing a special grandparents’ breakfast at my 3-year-old grandson’s school will not devastate him or mean I’m a terrible grandparent.
Lesson #4: Daytime television is not a complete wasteland and allowing myself to enjoy it is not a character flaw. I watched some cool movies. I enjoyed them. Enjoyment is good.
Lesson #5: I tend to be a tad obsessive. (This is an understatement.) My head knows this but some largely unconscious needs still haven’t received the message. This morning I awoke from a dream in which I was trying to clean up some messes outside and within my house in preparation for an anticipated event. I was feeling guilty for not having addressed them sooner and annoyed that nobody else seemed to notice or care but me. I think that pretty much speaks for itself! Being sick for nine days hasn’t cured me of my perfectionism, anxiety, or tendency to live in the future.
Lesson #6: I’ve known this stuff for years, yet despite my inner work some issues remain unresolved. Still, I am making progress and this is a very good thing.
Lesson #7: I am human and flawed but my friends and family love me anyway and I am grateful for their love. I knew that too, but I must have needed a reminder.
Lesson #8: I don’t always have to be prepared several days in advance. I wrote this blog post in three hours!
Lesson #9: There are times when surrendering is the correct choice. This was one of them. Bye. I’m off to bed!
I too have suffered from despair since childhood. It began at the age of 11 when my father died. To this day there are many occasions in my daily life when I cannot get excited about something because I know it will not last and my pleasure will not last and I will die and nobody will care and nothing I have done will make any difference, and so what?