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Annual Illness Gifts...

It seems to happen every year. For my birthday I get sick. Like almost every fucking year. This is not a new thing. It has happened since I was a kid. And has been a constant in my life, well, since forever.


This year is no different apparently. Still testing positive with COVID even though I don’t feel badly.


Every year when my birthday crawls up, I am immediately filled with dread. Not because I am upset about turning another year older...that is just a blessed fact of living. But dread comes up because I am sure that I am going to get walloped with something...and I am usually correct.


But this year, I am not taking it personally. I am not sure why the universe seems to want me prone and in bed for my birthday and Thanksgiving every year but it does and after almost 53 years, I have reached a level of acceptance with it.


I have learned, somewhat begrudgingly, to just roll with it. We had Thanksgiving yesterday on TV trays in the living room - the three COVID patients. We didn’t see his family or mine, instead isolating in the house instead of feasting with everyone. I am glad that we kept them safe by staying away, but it did make me sad that I didn’t get to have the holiday we all intended. But again, I have become particularly adept at letting this particular thing go. I mean, I literally have had to do it almost every year.

Birthdays are funny things. And our reactions to them are even weirder. Some people make a big deal. Others just quietly let it pass, sincerely hoping no one will even notice. Me, I have spent the whole of my life wanting it to be one thing and then being forced to deal with it as something else completely.


And it has turned into a lovely lesson in letting go. Tomorrow is really just another day and yesterday was also just another day. We humans attach such importance to these days that we have somewhat arbitrarily given special meaning to. I was thankful yesterday: for my relationships, for my family, that I didn’t feel worse, that my parents and his mom were not here and we got them sick, that my daughter is healthy and on the mend, that my son was celebrating in Alaska, all in all it was a good day. Food cooked and eaten. Football watched and fallen asleep to. Netflix binged and also fallen asleep to. It certainly wasn’t the day we planned, but in the grand scheme of things, it was a fine day with beautiful weather.


Tomorrow will come whether I feel up to it or not. And I will turn another year older, no matter how I feel or what I want. This year I have decided to let the annual illness just do what it is going to do and give up all expectations to the contrary. It is, after all, just another day. And I am finally, maybe, getting a little wiser.


It has also occurred to me that perhaps the universe levels me each year at this time because it is its gift to me. Time to just be down and do almost nothing. It would seem that with the frequency with which I get sick at my birthday every year that this is what the universe deems I need most. Time to rest, restore and let go of all the stuff that I have placed before my own health and wellness.


Fuck, who knows, but that is what I am going with this year. I am down and that is just the way it is and really, what I know for sure is that whatever is happening is what is supposed to be happening, because it is. And I can rail against it and get all pissed off, or I can do what I have learned sets me free every single time: look for the lesson and then just surrender. I truly have everything that anyone could ever ask for...and perhaps a few days in bed every year help me keep it all in perspective.


So this year I am grateful for my annual illness and I will not allow self pity to seep its way in. I am sick and it is ok. I will get well again and celebrate some other holiday in the manner I would like. It is just ok with me, this annual illness. I accept it. I am doing my best to enjoy it and I know that like everything else in this life, this too shall pass.




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