Sunday, September 30, 2012
Best laid plans down the drain
In the middle of the night on Friday I awoke with a sore throat. Uh-oh, I thought. I'm coming down with something. It wasn't too bad, but I had plans to go on the five-mile walk early Saturday morning and then go skydiving on Sunday with my friends. Not too many more beautiful days like we're having right now in the Pacific Northwest, with the rainy season right around the corner.
By the time I got out of bed, I knew I had a cold. Sneezing, aches, dripping nose, and continued sore throat. I grabbed the Zicam and zinc lozenges and figured I might be able to go on the walk after all. But considering the way I felt, it was obvious, even to me, that it would be a mistake, so I reluctantly let it go. Maybe I could simply lay around all day on Saturday and then Sunday I could go skydiving after all.
It's now dark outside on Sunday morning, and I spent a very uncomfortable night, even with Nyquil and Benadryl in my system. No way will I be venturing out of my comfort zone today. I'm really sick, but the sore throat has diminished and my stuffy nose (even with another dose of drugs) is enough to make even me stay down. I'm not very good at being sick, and I know that these things come to all of us now and then... but I fight it until I finally succumb to the inevitable.
So here I sit in the dark, laptop and tea next to me, this morning with the addition of tissues and pill bottles. Thinking of this post, I wondered about why I fight so hard against what any normal person would realize is just a cold, a short setback in an active life. What am I afraid of?
It's obvious that I cherish my active lifestyle and I guess I am fearful that if I let anything get me down, I'll never again be able to jump and play and walk with my friends. That what is happening right now is all I've ever get to experience, now that I'm sick. Advertisements on TV show someone looking like I feel right now taking some magical medicine and then looking perky and bright, no sign of being sick. Maybe that's part of it: I've absorbed the message that it's not okay to lay around letting myself wallow in misery.
I've had my share of illnesses over the years, and you'd think I would realize that nothing ever stays the same. Life is a dynamic process that takes us all from one state to another; nothing in life is static, as much as I'd like to forget that inconvenient truth. Even if I eat right, exercise just the right amount and keep a positive attitude, life's circumstances will just not hold still.
I am aware that there are people who are able to have a full life, even without all the health and vitality I possess in abundance. I'm sure that if I were suddenly housebound, I would find some way to continue to live a full life. But it would not be my first choice. Sometimes we are forced into avenues that cause us to become transformed, and it can be a positive direction.
Do you remember Maggie Kuhn? She founded the Grey Panthers movement in August 1970, after she was forced to retire from the Presbyterian Church. She had just turned 65, and she wanted to show that she was not ready to be put out to pasture. I found a quote from her that says it all: "Old age is not a disease. It is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses." She continued to be an activist for another 25 years or so.
I really like that word, "survivorship." It is an important concept to me, to realize that as I ride the waves, the ups and downs of life, that I am a survivor. I've made it through to old age and need to take the longer view. Pardon me while I blow my nose. Again.