Free Writing // The art of being sick

[written on Nov. 9th 2015]

It’s a typical Monday morning. At least for everyone else, I guess. I just woke up from a terrible night of sleep, all stuffed up and with a big headache. It seems I still haven’t overcome my flu. When you’re sick, day three is known to be the day you just have to push through, so everything can turn to the better right after that. At least that’s what I could observe during the gazillion times my immune system just wouldn’t keep up with my pace of life. Which I am thankful for, by the way. If my body didn’t tell me when to stop and didn’t just shut down when it’s been too much again, I think I’d just keep going and going until I drop down dead from exhaustion. Of course that’s something to work on – no shit.

So, I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, gargled with that poisonous looking blue anti-inflammatory liquid and went back to my room. It was a little after 9am and everybody else but me in my shared flat was still sleeping. Like I said – a typical Monday morning. I raised the blinds and the daylight just hit the room as if nobody must sleep here no more until Mother Nature decided to turn out the lights again.

I opened one of my four big and much much beloved windows and looked outside, down onto the streets. It’s November 9th and my iPhone just confirmed what I could already feel on my skin anyways: a freaking 16 degrees outside. This is insane. People down there are wearing sweaters or even t-shirts as they make their way to school, uni, work; as they begin their days, their new week. There’s this boy crossing the street, aiming at a dust bin to put out his cigarette (well done, man – just sayin’). There’s this girl on her bike, looking all stressed out as if she was running late. A middle-aged woman crossing the street on the opposite site, wearing nothing but a light blouse (and pants, of course), looking all summery and seemingly happy to get her day started. What could be even slightly horrible on a sunny, bright, warm November morning like this one anyways?

We already have this picture of everyone outside just enjoying their lives and whatnot, no? Great. Here we go – so, what am I doing on this oh so wonderful day? Trying really hard not to let being sick get to me yet again.

It’s funny to observe what happens when you’re bed-ridden for a couple of days. You stay in your apartment for a number of days in a row (do you even remember when you last did that?), you sleep, you eat, you drink tea, read, binge watch a new (or old) show on Netflix, … the list goes on.

Best case scenario? You simply do all that. Because you’ve accepted that you’re in need of it. Because you’re actively listening to your body. Great. Well done.

Worst case scenario? You resist. You simply can’t calm down neither your mind nor your body until it has to use even more aggressive measures to put. you. the. f***. down. Right until the point where you just don’t have any other choice than giving in any more. It’s like a forced extended Sabbath that you probably would have never allowed yourself to “enjoy” under normal circumstances.

These days it’s all just “GOGOGO”, “you can’t miss this”, “you still have to take care of that”. No matter how hard you try, you will most definitely, well, more likely a 100% never be as “perfect” as you think you should be or as society may impose on you. It’s pretty easy to loose sight for what’s really important in the midst of all this. Which in my humble opinion is just being present.

The apparently often cited abbreviation FOMO (“fear of missing out”), which I myself admittedly learned only recently (#sonotuptodate), might just lead us all straight into depression, a plethora of panic attacks, drug addiction, and other health issues in the long run. I could tell you a thing or two about this incomplete list myself. And I’m only turning 24 in a couple of days. So yeah, something’s going wrong here.

I’m fully aware this might not apply to just anyone, so please bear with me for a couple of more lines. I do know as a fact that I’m not alone with this, with struggling when, superficially speaking, “there isn’t anything to struggle with”. Yes, you could also use the term #firstworldproblems.

But just think about it.

How do YOU normally react to being sick?

Are you actually glad you finally have a couple of days off ahead of you?

Or are you literally freaking out because you just can’t “afford” to be sick?

I think it’s probably a combination of both for the most of us. And I don’t even mean to exclusively advocate one or the other. It doesn’t even matter what’s “better” or “worse” to be honest.

What matters is YOU.

How do YOU feel?

What do YOU need?

What do YOU want to do?

Coming back to the “art of being sick” and slowly releasing you from this super long emotional outpour: what helped me the most this time around is the reconfirming observation that the world just keeps spinning —even when I’m sick. Even when I’m not there participating. Even when I’m “missing out”. We live on this big blue planet that we call “Earth”, somewhere in this constantly expanding universe, with each one of our lives probably just being insignificant in the bigger picture. Some might not like to hear, let alone accept this possibility; some might even find it depressing. At least that’s what I used to do. But this time around I see things differently. I’m part of something big here. We all are. There’s always two ways to look at any given subject. This dichotomy of looking at our existence has helped me a lot these past weeks. #beware #mindfuck Doesn’t it just give you all the freedom you want and so desperately need to just live your life the way YOU want to!? Our time on this planet is so limited, so short, we can’t even begin to comprehend what’s actually going on here. Everything you worked so hard for could be over within the next minute. Don’t waste your time, don’t waste your life, don’t waste your happiness. What could possibly happen if you just followed your gut, your heart, your very own path?

Worst case scenario? You might end up living a happy life with no one understanding.

Best case scenario? You might just inspire someone else to do exactly the same.

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