I’m sick. I’ve been sick for FIVE days.
Okay, I feel like a little bit of a baby writing that, but the truth is: I have a kick-ass immune system (no doubt owed, in part, to my proclivity to drink anything and everything underneath the sink as a child). Typically, I get sick for one day. I lay down, I drink some OJ, take a nap, and I’m FINE.
So, for me, Day 5 feels like I’m slowly being tortured in order to squeeze every last bit of hope out of my life. And not that I would want to be MORE sick, but it’s almost worse that it’s not even bad enough to feel justified in laying down and doing nothing while I get better. (And if you followed me on that, good for you. Or bad for you, I’m not sure.) I’m still at work. I still helped a friend move this past weekend. Because I don’t really feel “bad enough” to quit. But every minute of normal “down time” I have has been spent resting my body. Which is tough for me, because when I’m laying down, feeling okay, my brain starts whirling on all the things I could/should be doing. And then I decide I’m over being sick, jump up to do them and in five minutes think, ohhh, no, I should be laying down.
It feels like I’m stuck in a maze and I just keep turning blind corners to find there’s nothing behind them. Where is my happy, healthy body? It was just here!
It’s weird, but on Day 5 of medicine brain, I start to realize that I feel this way about my dreams sometimes.
I’m searching for them, and every day that they don’t “happen”, I lose a little more hope that they ever will.
I know it’s silly to fear that I will never be well again (not to mention a little melodramatic – we are just talking about a stubborn cold here). But I don’t know that it’s silly to fear my dream never happening. While I feel confident that my body will eventually heal itself, I don’t so much in the dream area. Somehow, that one doesn’t seem silly: it seems all too real.
I read a blurb in a magazine recently where an author said that she has to break large tasks down into small chunks because big ones feel too overwhelming (hello, my long lost sister). She said that she started by committing that she would write fifteen minutes a day. That’s it. Just 15. And she wrote a novel. Actually, it says she wrote ten.
That piece was immediately cut out of the magazine and tacked on my fridge, and I keep re-reading it and mulling it over. Fifteen minutes feels like it won’t even touch this massive goal of writing a novel. And yet, it worked for her.
And now I’m sick, and whining (because that always improves my mood when I’m sick), and it occurs to me that every day I’m sick I have a little bit more of the oh-no-not-again-today mentality and every day I hope “maybe I’ll be better tomorrow”. But, as I said, inside, each additional day of not being better is sucking away a little more of my hope that I’ll get over this easily.
Maybe, it’s the same thing with writing. Each day I don’t put words on the paper, I get a little more afraid that I’ll never be a novelist (with a fancy pen and everything). But perhaps, even just fifteen minutes a day could start to bring that hope back. It’s a tiny step. But as any baby will tell you, you have to crawl before you walk, and those first few thousand steps are likely to be a little shaky. Just keep going – you’ll get there.
And now I’m going to hope that I was only supposed to be sick long enough to reach this particular epiphany and that I will now immediately start to get better. We’ll see.