I looked forward to this year with a lot of hopes and goals. But in all of my New Year’s contemplations, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be healthy on January first. However, as last year started to draw to a close, I became aware of some mild symptoms—an itch in my throat, tired eyes, a runny nose. That is what I call a pre-cold. It’s nothing terrible, just far enough from healthy to be mildly uncomfortable.
Usually my immune system is like a fortress, very few germs get in, and those that do are napped and slept into oblivion. Once I started working for myself I stopped getting seriously sick. I attributed that mostly to my ability to get sufficient sleep.
However, my sleeping patterns have been disrupted of late. I fall asleep rather easily, but I don’t sleep through the night. More mornings than not, I wake up close to 4am. And so, I imagine, my immune system has suffered. The itchy throat and runny nose that a few nights of sound sleep (and a daily nap) would usually cure suddenly became a painfully raw throat, headache, fever, and sucker punch cough.
Just as others were celebrating New Year’s with bubbly and sparkly outfits, I was in my pajamas nursing some ginger ale in a champagne glass. And despite taking half a dozen naps on New Year’s Eve, I barely made it to midnight. While the noisemakers sounded and the confetti fell, I was blowing into tissues and getting ready for bed.
It was humbling to welcome in the New Year not feeling fully myself. It was disheartening to realize I wouldn’t (I couldn’t) meet such an auspicious transition with energetic purpose. Starting sick meant I couldn’t hit the ground running in pursuit of my goals. It depleted my energy levels just to stand; how could I take any significant steps forward?
Whereas I usually face the New Year recommitted and reinvigorated, this year I was weak, full of phlegm, and feverish. Whereas the New Year is usually like an energy surge, this time it coincided with a debilitating deficit of energy and a hint of nausea.
Starting sick left me feeling disappointed, but I couldn’t resist the rest my body was demanding of me. And so I resolved that I’d have to wait to set about pursuing my goals. I would have to press pause on all of my ambitions and to-do’s.
Starting sick felt like starting off behind. It was extremely unsatisfying. But then I realized: Hey, that’s life. There are detours, delays, and obstacles. We make plans but, with so much beyond our control, any time we’re able to stick to them it’s a miracle.