I’ve been fighting a nasty cold since Saturday. It’s the kind of cold that little kids get, wet and croupy, the kind of cold that inspires parents to break out the vaporizer and the mentholated chest rub. In this adult version, the weapons on my side include several boxes of extra soft tissues, Mucinex, the Chinese herb Yin Chiao, homeopathic ColdCalm, and a witches brew of ginger, chamomile and echinacea tea. On the cold’s side are tens of thousands of years of co-evolution with homo sapiens that maximizes the rhinovirus’ capacity to use my lungs and sinuses to reproduce. Guess who is coming out ahead.
Unlike the virus donor who left this particular gift on some surface for me to find, I stayed home this week. I reneged on attending my harp lesson, my yoga class, playing at Hospice and both ensemble classes. Canceling so many activities brought me face-to-face with my overdeveloped sense of responsibility to show up when and where I said I would. In this over-responsible world view, I am letting people down if I don’t show up. I am disrupting my harp teacher’s schedule, disrespecting my yoga teacher, not fulfilling my commitment as a Hospice volunteer, and not pulling my weight with the ensembles. In this world view, it is likely that the earth’s rotation will grind to a halt if I stay home.
I retired over two years ago. I know that in my current life, there are no real, tangible consequences for not showing up. There’s no meetings with disgruntled bosses or bad performance reviews because I am absent. My time is mine to claim, mine to use.
This week, as I made calls and sent e-mails telling people I was sick and staying home, I felt that sense of freedom for the first time. I don’t HAVE to do any of the things that fill my week. I do them because I want to. All of my activities are choices, all are things I do because I enjoy them, because they make my life rich and full. My harp lesson, my yoga class, all my activities are important to me, but not as important as ridding myself of this viral invasion. And I know that the most significant thing I can do to get well is to rest, is to reduce the drain on my energy reserves as much as possible so that my body can vanquish the virus. So home is the place to be, and the place to stay.
On a completely different note, sometime during the past week, one more reader signed up to receive e-mails when I publish a blog post. I passed a milestone I never anticipated – there are now 100 subscribers to Heart To Harp. I still remember telling my harp teacher that no one would be interested in anything I wrote about learning to play the harp. She said I was wrong, and you proved her right. Thank you! Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for subscribing, and thanks for being part of the journey.