Gently, almost lovingly, my fingers trace the letters on the keyboard before me. After nearly a month, I see this blank draft staring back, waiting, wistfully perhaps, for the words to appear.
The house is quiet and the soft, pastel shades on the walls soothe my senses as I take a deep breath and weigh each word as it leaves my mind.
We moved into our new home in the first week of February. A couple of days later, I fell ill. After the usual round of doctor visits, scans and blood tests, I was advised heavy medication and bed rest for the next 3 weeks. (I’d rather not discuss the details of my malady, but suffice to know that I am much better and on the road to recovery now).
Illness is a strange thing. It takes the most out of you, rendering you incapable of much except for introspection. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason.
[bctt tweet=”Here are 7 things I’ve learned as a result of illness over the last 3 weeks.” username=”shyvish”]
You are stronger than you know
That sounds trite, but it rang true for me. I’ve been through the wringer this month and there were a couple of days when I had no energy to even sit up in bed. But, I made it and deep down, I know this is due to some hidden reserves of strength that I didn’t even know I possessed. Emotionally, physically, this month was draining but I am grateful to be back on my feet and I thank God for everything, yes, even the illness.
You are not indispensable
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the world cannot function without you. For this, I am ever grateful to my team at work who smoothly stepped in and took over my duties. My boss insisted I rest and stay in bed while they handled everything else. So, as much as you are important, remember that you aren’t indispensable. The world can and will carry on without you and that’s absolutely okay.
You can say ‘No’
As a blogger, I’ve received more calls for collaboration with brands this month than I have in the last year. A part of me really wanted to say ‘Yes’ to just about everything, but sanity prevailed and I politely declined or postponed discussions on account of illness. Work is necessary, of course, but not at the expense of health. And get this, people will understand. Even if they don’t, there isn’t anything you can do about it anyway. Put health first. Always.
You can forget
I’ve prided myself on my fairly eidetic memory, perhaps a little too much. So naturally, that had to take a hit. I forgot important dates and even notifications from the kid’s school slipped through the cracks. Being sporadically present on social media meant that I couldn’t remember or wish people on their birthdays/special occasions. Guess what? I survived and so did everyone else. Belated wishes work just as well as timely ones and the kid and her school? Well, she donned the mantle of responsibility admirably. More on that soon.
You should seek and accept help
As much as I thrive on being independent and running a household on my own, being confined to bed does put a crimp on those plans. It was with gratitude that I reached out first to my mother-in-law and then to my mom, who each came over to spend a week and help out. Relinquishing control doesn’t come easily to me but I could lie in bed with an easy mind as they completely handled everything around the house. Did I mention how grateful I am?
You must make time to breathe
People like me, or ‘checklist people’, have one flaw. They can’t rest until everything is ticked off or marked ‘done.’ Try staying under the covers and staring at a blank wall for 3 weeks and notice how quickly that changes. I had ample time on my hands and nothing to do. Well, not quite. I could read, meditate, give thanks to those around me and breathe. I’d forgotten how to tap into that Zen space of joy and re-discovering it gave me much-needed peace.
That old adage about the best-laid plans of mice and men resonates strongly in my ears. There’s actually a pun in there too, since day 2 in the new house also saw the appearance of a large, fat, comfortably settled mouse! Talk about unwelcome visitors! Thanks largely to my brave husband and none at all to my shaking form perched on top of the bed, the mouse was escorted safely outdoors.
What I mean is, you can lay all the plans in the world and destiny will do its best to render them all useless. It’s a timely reminder for me not to focus too hard on large, futuristic goals but be ever present in the moment, for this is all we truly have.
Every moment of these last three weeks has been enriching in its own way. At the end, I come away with the understanding that life must be spent in joy, peace and gratitude. Everything else will fall into place at its own pace.
I’ve missed blogging, commenting and all the wonderful engagement that writing has brought my way. If you’re still here, reading this space, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.