Originally posted on Facebook HERE
This is the first “Looking Out My Back Window” post I’ve done after noon in… well, maybe forever. I’ve been as sick as I’ve been in years this past week. Took FOUR days off from work. That’s never happened. I guess it’s the flu – body aches, cough, no appetite, no energy… whatever it is, my life went on hold once it hit big time last Wednesday. There was no way I was going anywhere, or doing anything, except hanging at home watching tv. Reading was too much trouble, I didn’t want to move any more than necessary, or think at all. Everything seemed like it took a crazy amount of effort. And when an unexpected illness hits, we find out what’s truly essential. Because had I not gotten sick, I would have told you there were twenty things I “had” to get done on that Wednesday. Maybe one or two of them got done – the ones that actually had a deadline to meet. The rest got pushed off… to Thursday, where the same thing happened again – twenty new things to handle, but only one or two got done… then Friday, and Saturday…. I have a busy day planned for tomorrow, but the reality is – many of the things I thought “had” to be done days ago could wait until Monday once the illness hit. And it got me thinking about how much our days can be spent chasing down things we think need to be done instead of narrowing the focus on what has to be done and working outward from there. Then I went a bit further (I had a lot of time to think, hazy as I was), and thought about what is it that makes something hit the top of our daily “important” list? Are the things we think are so important really the things that will generate the most happiness in our lives? Because right now, fitness, nutrition, and sleep seem like very important things in my life to avoid maybe ever getting this sick again. I’m reading a book called “Essentialism” (Greg McKeown) right now that discusses this. His premise is that we all tend to say “yes” to everything, then send our energies out in a thousand different directions every day getting very little done in a lot of areas. But, if instead of doing that, we deliberately distinguish the vital few things we need to do from the trivial many we can lead a fuller more satisfying life by focusing on less, but better activities. I’m not very far into the book right now, but it’s an interesting idea to me. Falls kind of in line with last week’s post about simplification. The other thing being sick this week showed me is that no matter how much yo take care of yourself, eat right, exercise, etc – if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time you can get sick. And it felt like my lungs were covered in darkness. Very heavy. I did not ask for this. I did everything I could to avoid it. And sometimes darkness finds a way in no matter what, and it doesn’t need a reason. The same thing happens with our minds as well. There will just be days, or periods of time, where our thoughts will be dark. Where nothing seems to matter. Where we question everything, where no matter all evidence to the contrary – our hearts will be heavy. And sometimes the body works in conjunction with the mind, because when you’re sick, it’s easy for the mind to take a step back as well. This illness really has me thinking about re-examining my priorities, simplifying my choices, and focusing on what’s really important on a daily basis. From our lowest lows come our highest highs, and being sick is a nice way for life to tell us to slow down, think about things like this, and spend our moments making a difference in the lives of others in whatever way we can.