Old Diary

Head colds and Change

illI’ve been playing footsies with a head cold for the last few days. It’s nothing all that bad, but as is often the case when I’m not “up and at ’em” I find solace in thinking. This time it’s been about how we react to change as it affects our health and other things.

Let me explain.  I usually get a “cold” in December. Just the runny nose, congestant type thing that a lot of us deal with. Nothing all that exciting, we just live through them and go on with life. The thing is, in recent years the cases of cold seem to be getting longer and more bothersome.  Not by great leaps and bounds, but noticeably.  Duh…. I’m not as young as I used to be.

The thing is, I’ve always taken my health pretty much for granted. Because I have been healthy I have rarely thought much about altering my behavior to accommodate illness.  I know that’s a rather stupid attitude but, hey, I never claimed to be wise.  I have gotten away with taking my health for granted — but maybe not for much longer, because that’s what’s been on my mind.

For the first time in as long as I can remember I’m planning on not attending a public event solely because that will put me in contact with a bunch of people who’s health I have no ideas about and with my immune system temporarily struggling it’s not a good idea to expose myself to other possible germs. When I have been healthy I never, ever, thought about not going somewhere or doing something because of other people’s illnesses.  It was just unheard of that I should think I might catch something from anyone.  It was not a conversation I would have with myself.  But nowadays I have to factor in health as a variable factor and take it into account in what I do, day by day.

But that brings up a much more far reaching and provoking conversation.

How often do we either hold ourselves back from activities, or push ourselves forward into activities because of our limitations.  It works both ways.

What about the times we have an opportunity to do something and we say, we can’t because we never did that before.  Not going swimming because we don’t know how to swim; not traveling because we have never travelled before; not climbing a tree because we are afraid of heights.  We have all been there. Sometimes we put off things for no more reason than we’ve never done it before. But we can learn, and once we have learned we can do those things over and over and over again — if only we convince ourselves the first time that it’s worth trying.

Then again, as with this health thing, sometimes we have been doing the same thing for so long that we never consider that we might, could, should do it some other way. Maybe I shouldn’t expose myself to infection if I’m currently under the weather.  Maybe I shouldn’t drive home after that last drink.  Maybe I’m overreacting to how I’m being treated at the office and I should hold off quitting until I find a new job.

Look before you leap, discretion is better than valor: there are a lot of sayings about how we should behave.  All of them arose out of some experience, all of them have some kernel of truth in them, but relying on the same sayings as a way to rule our life turns us into a very one sided character, and it may just make us more vulnerable to problems as it is to help us along the way.  Isn’t it better to take each situation as it comes and deal with it, one on one?

I, who have always been healthy, now find I have to consciously think about matters of health.  I cannot take them for granted.  I probably should not have been taking them for granted all these years but I can’t change the past.  I can, however change the future.  And the best future I can create will acknowledge the fact that I’m not the person I used to be.

That single fact, whether you’re seventy, or fifty, or twenty is always the most crucial.  You are not the person you used to be.  We ALL change.  At every stage of life.  None of us can really afford to put our life on autopilot, behaving mindlessly because other people are doing something, or because we never thought about doing something else.

Some of the things we try we’ll fail at.  Other things we try we will succeed at. Each one will change us. We’ll get better at that thing, or we’ll get worse at it. We may find we have a talent for that thing, or we may find that our talents exist elsewhere and others are better suited for that activity.  In both cases we have changed ourselves.  We are not the product of some grand plan.  We have the power to alter our life of our own volition.

I may not have the power to rid myself of this head cold.  But I can prevent the head cold from turning into pneumonia, or worse.  I can prevent myself from passing my cold onto other people.  I can be easier to live with  if I take a decongestant. 🙂

I don’t know how change seems to have taken over my blog but there you go. Sometimes things happen that you have zero influence over and all you can do is adapt. In other words: Change.  🙂