Thursday, February 11, 2016

Colds, Specific, and Stoicism, General

I have, at the moment of this writing, a cold. Like most of my colds, I was perfectly fine yesterday morning, just minding my own business when it snuck up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. And when I turned around to see what it was, it slammed me into the wall, the force clogging my sinuses to the point of being unable to breathe through my nose and making sleeping in larger than three minute segments next to impossible. My brain has largely been removed and replaced…temporarily, I would hope…with chunks of brick and broken concrete. Were I to fall into deep water would undoubtedly immediately sink to the bottom.

So what am I doing trying to write a blog under such conditions? Well, it’s rather like continually blowing my nose hoping to clear the nasal airways sufficiently to breathe: I don’t want to totally lose the power to think, though it is a battle, so I force myself to write. Though I’m not particularly sleepy, part of me wants to just go lie down “for a minute or two,” knowing full well that not only would it not be for a minute or two but that when I got up again I’d be even more tired than I am now.

Because, as I’ve mentioned, I try to have a backlog of blogs stored up like cordwood beside a fireplace, by the time you read this I will undoubtedly be back to normal and debate whether I should even post this, now that the cold is gone. I will, of course, simply because I find it nearly impossible to just throw away something I’ve written.

I don’t like colds. I don’t like being anything other than as I normally am (which is once again a reason I am so disturbed by the fact that the medical treatment without which I would not be alive turned me into someone I never was before). However, when I am however slightly out of sorts, I do have a tendency to pamper myself shamelessly…lying on the couch reading, for example, when I know I should be sitting here at the computer writing.
Those who are fortunate enough to almost never experience anything but good health tend to overreact when illness does come along. I cannot remember, quite honestly, when I last had a headache, or a seriously upset stomach (and I don’t have either now).

A friend from grade school, with whom I reestablished contact after 50 some years, lost his wife recently. She had been ill for a number of years, her activities seriously curtailed, with frequent trips to various doctors and hospitals to determine exactly what was wrong with her. But she never complained. The way she was was simply the way she was, and while she most certainly would have preferred it to be otherwise, the fact that she could not change her condition largely inured her to it. So what right do I have to complain about a common cold?

There is much to be said for stoicism, in major crises and minor irritations, and I greatly admire those who adopt it.
Stoicism in a culture, such as is practiced by many Asian societies, is often a deterrent to progress: accepting things as they are means there’s little point in working for change. But individual stoicism can be an invaluable asset, if it is accepted that there is nothing at all we can possibly do to alter one instant of the past, but that that should not stop us from working for a better future.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

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