Kris has been in Colorado this week, undergoing some sort of top-secret forensic scientist training. I took the week as vacation. I had grand plans that I would clean up the yard, work on Kris’ car, whip all my web sites into shape, and maybe write a short story or two. I was also going to spend a lot of time with friends.
I took Kris to the airport on Sunday morning. I came home and wrote three articles about personal finance, and an entry for foldedspace. I went outside and cleaned up the yard. After an hour of work, I came inside to take a hot bath. But while I was soaking, I started to sneeze uncontrollably. When I got out of the tub, my nose was running.
“I can’t be sick,” I thought. “I just got over being sick two weeks ago.” No matter: I was sick.
In the evening, I went to our monthly Monday Night Football gathering. (Yes, you read that right: our Monday Night Football gathering now occurs once a month on Sundays.) Jenn and Jeremy hosted a family game night, and I tried to play along, but I felt like crap.
On Monday I had lunch with Matt. He spent some time giving me tips on how to improve Get Rich Slowly. I was eager to hear his advice, but my sinuses were killing me, so I left early. I stopped at a drug store so that I could get a bunch of sinus medication. Later, I met Mac in Wilsonville for dinner and a movie. I was miserable the whole time. (Though I must say, it was the most fun I’ve had at a movie in ages. The Prestige is highly entertaining, even if you guess the plot twists. It was great that Mac and I were nearly the only ones in the theater. We could carry on a low-level conversation without bothering anyone.)
I had planned to dive into web work on Tuesday and Wednesday, but instead I lay on the couch, wallowing in my illness, watching Seinfeld on DVD. (Great fun!) Outside, the rain came down in torrents. The sky was grey — almost black. I missed Dave’s election party. I struggled to write anything of any sort. My mood turned as black as the sky.
Basically, I wallowed in stuffy sinuses and self-pity for two days. This morning I woke feeling slightly better. I made a slow start to the day, but managed to make it outside, to talk with the neighbor for a while (as usual, he has lots of advice for trimming our holly trees), to take Kris’ car in for new tires, to spend some time at the library. I even managed to write a couple of articles.
But I’m exhausted tonight. I spent some time soaking in the tub again, reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Worry dogs me, and I know it, but I don’t know how to stop. Carnegie shares the following quote from Thoreau:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
I know that quote, and love it, but I don’t often act upon it. In fact, I act un-confident. I am afraid of social situations. But why? I never used to be. I love interacting with people of all sorts — friends, families, neighbors, strangers, colleagues, etc. “I thrive on social situations,” I told Mac the other night. “I know,” he said. So why do they frighten me so?
I’m also reminded of this litany from Dune:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Only I will remain…