Yesterday I woke up at 5am with an irritated throat and a slight pounding in my head. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I knew that the feeling would develop into a full head cold if I didn’t choose to sleep in and get lots of rest and water in me throughout the rest of the day. But I had work and other responsibilities to attend to so I got up and just tried to take it easy as I went about things. Still, by 4pm I was not in a good place: my head was pounding and one of my nostrils was fully clogged while the other was an unstoppable leaky faucet (eew).
I will not glorify pushing on in spite of sickness. I don’t see that as an admirable thing to do, although I’ve chosen to do so myself many times over the years (for school, mostly) and it is arguably the “right” thing to do in many a circumstance (depending just how sick you are). It’s a punishment to the body, really. But how much of a choice is there when we choose to bind ourselves to obligations that give us little time to care for ourselves.
That’s all it really boils down to, really: choice. I chose to get on with my day yesterday because I decided that the obligations I had bound myself to were more important than my health at that point in time. That also kinda sorta binds me from feeling angry at my obligations because I and I alone chose them over my health. Still, I can’t help but feel frustrated because this was me in the weeks leading up to this sickness:
Me: “Hmm, I need to exercise.”
Also Me: “But there isn’t any time… I need to do X and X and X.”
Me, Again: “But you know that exercise helps your body build strength and immunity in the long run!”
Me, Once More: “Yes, but if you want to get everything done, that means giving up sleep… and exercise without proper rest is dangerous too.”
Me, Finally: “Fine, I’ll exercise over the weekend then.”*
*this never happens
I wanted to choose health, but for one reason or another I felt that I couldn’t. Life puts you in a bind — but who else chooses your life but you?
All these posts you see going around these days about knowing when it’s time to rest might seem cheesy and almost cliché — but it’s no coincidence that the cheesiest and the most cliché things in the world also tend to be the most True.
If my mind were in the right place right now (and by right place I mean not pounding uncontrollably) this post might turn into a long rant about the big bad city and the systems within it that seem to control us. I suppose I’ll leave that for another time.
For now, I’m prescribing myself a whole lot of doing nothing. That’s something I haven’t done for much too long.