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August 2, 2007

Another of life's unfortunate juxtapositions

How is it so that just when I am coasting high on the success of decisions well made, I crash to the ground with a thud shortly after? This past week has been so varied as to be laughable and I write this still confined to my bed, aching in every corner and grouchy with illness. The primary cause of this bad mood is two viruses, the worst I have had for years, which have caused my throat to swell almost closed and my head to pound relentlessly for days. I have barely crawled from the bathroom to the kitchen and back again, barking at the cats as they rush around the house. I have sweated my way through horrible restless nights and shivered through tedious days. My immune system's timing for collapse was impeccably bad, with one colleague away and others dropping like flies; I feel like I have failed some altogether unspoken test of resilience at my new job. Add to this the general uneasiness I have been feeling at my new grey desk and it's a terrible recipe for temporary disaster.

Rewind: I'm glowing and spending money with glee as I stifle my hedonistic tendencies (I lie; I think they are dead) and agree to Buy a Unit. Briefly distracted by such goodies as a purple corduroy modular sofa, champagne glasses and appliances, I have tried to forget that this isn't my home. And I enjoyed it! Oh I did. Even though I will be poor forever, even though it's all terrifyingly grown up and I am generally unsure of where I want to be in the world right now, this small enclave seems as good as any as I work out my thoughts. Part of the issue, I think, has been two days of mindless trawling through Facebook, looking on from my bed as my friends and acquaintances clamber to make their lives look adventurous and appealing with tales of travel and glittering parties. I am faintly amused that not one iota of miserable thought makes it onto those pages - if we are all the same, where is the talk of uncertainty, misery, loneliness and desire to be free? However, all the talk of foreign climes makes me feel sad and longing, while I worry that the relentless tick of time steals my youth and opportunity. Why haven't I been to Rome yet, I wonder, or visited Russia or Turkey or the Greek Islands? I feel slightly maddened at where I have ended up, but aware it's not forever. In the meantime, I have been working on mustering up enthusiasm and eagerness in the face of a slightly grim pall. But ...

Lessons: I made too many promises to a faceless god and now it has visited vengeance. I knew the relentless pull of parties and nightclubs was no longer my style and would leave me bereft, but I chased those disco lights at the bottom of the glass with reckless abandon since I arrived. Week in, week out, I have ignored my body's signals to slow down and stop, a timid whisper that turned into a roar. After the weekend just gone, which featured recklessness fuelled by alcohol which makes me cringe, my body simply pulled the rug out from under my feet. "If you won't listen," I could almost hear the God thunder, "then see how you like THIS for size". And with two nods of his terrible head, he visited me with illnesses which robbed me of my energy and desire to speak, read and write. In a mocking twist, I was left with my thoughts, which have lectured and tattled and admonished until I'm almost climbing the walls.

Yes, I know now.
Yes, I knew already.
I know my weaknesses and I loath them.
This time, I promise, I have learned.