Tuesday, October 13, 2009

why being sick is good for my health

People do not die of little trifling colds.—Jane Austen

So. Day Six of a strange, low-grade, feels-like-a-cold-but-isn’t sort of illness. I’d really like it to leave, but at the moment, anything that’s not swine flu sounds like a real blessing.

Besides, isn’t it sort of cozy to be sick when it’s grey and rainy outside? After all, these are the days when we’d all like permission to sleep really late, stay propped up in bed with a stack of novels, and drink soup all afternoon…

Still, after nearly a week of low energy, I am reminded of the biggest reason why a little illness can be a very good thing: it seems to be a “reset” button for my life. Not only does it break up my routine, but a lack of energy highlights all the things I wish I were doing. Do you get the same way?

A sore throat reminds me of the songs I’d like to belt out from the shower.

Banishment from the kitchen reminds me of all the recipes I haven’t yet made time to try.

Long solitude in my bedroom reminds me of the fun I want to have with my family, the phone dates I want with my friends, movie and knitting fests I want with my older sister.

Complete lack of energy reminds me of all the fall cleaning I’d wanted to do. (I know, I know, it’s mundane. But after a while in bed, I get tired of looking at all the junk I’ve cluttered my room with!)

And an inability to sit at my desk for long reminds me of all the things I want to add to these scenes, this novel, this writing life…

I guess that sickness, as a kind of removal from usual life, reminds me of all the things I want my life to be about. The shape I want it to take. What I want my days to hold, where they should point.

I always emerge from sickness with a wad of lists (typical me!): but these lists chart and guide me toward the changes I want to make. All those important things I realized while sniffling and coughing.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/13 at 06:47 PM
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