Happy New Year!
I woke up on 1 January to the cruelest of jokes. At least I wanted to think it was a joke. The scratchy feeling in the back of my throat, and the pain swallowing. The throbbing between my eyes. The nasal pressure and congestion. This was how 2018 was starting out for me? It had to be a joke, right?
Nope. No joke. My body was, one more time, telling me to slow down and smell the roses, to let myself rest. Did I do that? Of course not. I still got on my flight to Vancouver and carried on as if nothing was wrong.
I’m back home now and feeling better. There’s just one thing. When I woke up this morning (Wednesday, 3 January 2018), I didn’t have a voice. Something happened between the time I went to bed and got up. As an introvert, I’m not much of a talker anyway. But at the moment, I can’t even say, “Hello,” into the phone.
This is not how I imagined starting off the New Year. I don’t like being sick because I don’t like to rest, be sidelined. I like to think — despite all evidence to the contrary — that I can keep going and going … like the Energizer Bunny. Sick, I’ve done a minimum amount of writing each day. Sick, I can’t seem to focus and feel like I’m spinning. Sick, I feel like everything comes screeching to a halt. I panic. I can’t breathe.
Why is that, bon gré mal gré, I’m so eager to look to the future and where I hope to be? All I end up doing is stressing myself out about things that I want (need) to get done and chastising myself even though I don’t have the energy to get them done. Am I being too hard on myself? Maybe.
So I’m stepping back and trying to be in the present moment, the now. I’m taking the time, sort of, to let my body heal. (It felt really odd to just lay on the sofa and chill for a couple of hours this afternoon, but I did it!) I can still be productive, but I just have to slow down my pace. Maybe I can’t write for long swaths of time, so maybe I organize my desk instead (it’s a disaster and has been for the past three months). I can catch up on my reading (I’m really enjoying Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita). I can check in with my writer friends on social media (I still struggle trying to balance writing and social media).
Falling sick at the beginning of 2018 reminds me that there are things beyond my control. Getting sick is one of them. It reminds me, too, that I am on a journey. And that I don’t need to rush. I’ll get to my destination in my own time, in my own way.
So as 2018 begins, I will try to simply savour each day, each moment along the way. I’m not going to worry too much about what I have or haven’t accomplished in the past three days. I’m going to begin, now, where I am, and the rest will follow.
I can, and will, follow the counsel of Corita Kent: “Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”
What are your goals for 2018? Have you started working to achieve them? Let me know in the comments section below.