Earlier today I was confronted again with this idea that the rest of the world truly envies those of us who spend our days at home sick.
Trust me, I’m no stranger to the idea that we spend our whole lives cooped up and when we do finally get to a point where we’re comfortable leaving our home, or we’re well enough to go into work, there’s this overall attitude that we have some sort of privilege since we spend so much time glued to our couches and laid up in bed…
I’m here to admit that the able-ist idea that we’re lucky is hands down, indisputably, correct.
It’s the same attitude that exists with parents in the workforce who never are the ones who have to stay late… never are the ones asked to pick up an extra shift on their Sunday off… never get questioned when some new illness, or broken bone, or carpool dilemma comes up… Parents have an entirely separate life outside of the workforce, and at the end of the day, most employers don’t bother to question it or complain about it.
It makes other employees angry. It’s the idea that “well I can’t use that as an excuse” and those same employees most likely get held accountable for something they hold equivalent to the responsibility level of parenting.
Now, change that perspective to the person that’s sick. Maybe they simply have more absences than everyone else and it slides. Maybe they no longer work at all.
Somehow, people actually seem angrier when it’s a sickness. God forbid it’s someone who has a compromised immune system and they happen to be sick back to back with the flu and bronchitis… or worse, it’s that person around you suffering from something that isn’t visible to the naked eye.
I think you get the picture.
We all can relate because we’ve all been there or we know the person being referenced in a situation like this.
As much as I never want to hear: “I wish I could lay in bed all day” or “You’re SO lucky you don’t have to work” ever again, that’s simply never going to happen.
So my question to you is why are we getting so angry to begin with? Why, after years and years are we still having the same negative reaction in our heads. Wondering when will this person just eff off? Questioning why after all this time don’t they get it?
I could write a thousand times over what I WISH they would say instead… I really could.
But here’s what I want to start thinking instead. And I want you to try it too.
We’re really fortunate when we find ourselves in situations where we can just lay in bed. This time last year I was literally shoveling pills down my throat with the naive idea that if I could just get through these classes and if I could just make it through this weekend at work, I’ll be okay and I can start fresh next week…
Until, next week is just like this week. And suddenly your pill bottle is empty.
Don’t you just wake up and dream that you could turn off your alarm, roll over, and take on the day at the pace your body needed?
Don’t you long for your quiet house, and your personal comforts that help you get through the pain while you’re sitting miserable at work or in school?
So, now here you are? Taking that extra day off. Taking that time for yourself. Answering your body’s demands to just take a break, lay down, and truly rest.
But you’re angry with that person who envy’s you? I’m not angry anymore. I’m thankful. I am thankful that I have the option to simply stop. I am thankful that on days when I wake up in pain, or haven’t slept in the slightest, that I don’t have any obligations preventing me from simply taking care of myself.
The idea that it’s a bad thing to be home all the time… that baffles me. I mean, there really isn’t a worse feeling than using most of your paycheck on your rent only to find yourself not ever occupying the space. I’m thankful to have a roof over my head, a fridge full of condiments, and lots of cozy sweaters and blankets at my disposal. I’m thankful to take the extra time to make everything in my home perfect for me, so that on those really bad days, my home is a place I can be relaxed and as comfortable as possible.
Perhaps you’re wrong to be jealous of all the extra time I may have on my hands… because let’s be honest. Being sick is my full time job and it requires round the clock attention. I mean, I work overtime and if you broke down my paycheck to cover how many hours I work I get paid $1.47 for each hour… But I’m thankful. Because, I may not have extra time, but I have different time. I have as much time as I want to enjoy my morning cup of coffee… and who says I have to enjoy it in the morning? Often when I’m feeling my best, it’s the middle of the night… and I get to appreciate a whole different part of the world that everyone else isn’t privy too because they’re asleep.
Imagine if just for one day or one week you decided to respond to people with the idea of why you’re thankful instead of your pre-rehearsed response where you’re “trying” to be polite.
Of course being stuck in bed and stuck at home, unable to participate in the daily activities all your friends partake in sucks. But your attitude sucks more.
I miss my job and I miss doing homework for class.
But you see, I’m thankful for extra time I’ve had. I started learning French – and yes I may or may not have learned until I knew how to ask for a cup of coffee, but hey its a start… I started painting too. My entire life I was always the kid who was supposed to just be the tom-boy, like the sports, ride the skateboard, play outside… but hey I bought my own art set, a nicer one than the one’s I used to cry about not having as a kid, and now I’m making art.
I think it’s our responsibility to start being more thankful when it comes to all of this, because there’s plenty of people out there who will never get to just roll over and take the day at the pace they need. And if we’re not thankful, we’re just as bad as the people throwing shame our direction and pretending we’re the “lucky ones”.