It’s 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday and I am in my pyjamas. I have spent pretty much the entire weekend in my pyjamas, and quite a large chunk of that time has also been spent in bed. Unfortunately, this is not because of some glamorous, decadent weekend. It is simply because I have been ill. Somehow, despite the beautiful weather over the last week or so, I have got a chill and snuggling up under my duvet and sleeping seems to be the best antidote.
Being ill has completely upset my imaginings for the holiday weekend. While I had few set plans, I’d envisioned a couple of days of pottering around, relaxing, doing some visiting, maybe doing some crafting. Instead I have been lying in bed, very sweaty and drinking a lot of orange squash (& discovering that my eyes feel like they’re rolling backwards in their sockets when I take two 500mg paracetamol tablets at the same time. Not good).
Being ill on a weekend is always annoying. Being ill on a weekend that is also the start of week’s holiday and one of my favourite weekends of the year is even more irritating. Having said that, I’m surprised by how un-annoyed I’ve been by the whole situation. I feel that I’ve accepted the situation fairly gracefully: I’m poorly, there’s nothing I can do to alter, so best just focus my efforts on feeling better. I’ve had a bit of a whinge about feeling rubbish, but have managed to avoid casting around bemoaning how unfair the situation is. Being ill just is, and there is no point resisting it. In fact, part of me feels as if there is a timely lesson in being ill right now: a reminder that we are not always in control of events. I may have all these ideas about what I want to do with the weekend, but I’m not always in a position to really make those decisions. Other factors can make decisions for us, removing our sense of control. The only real control we may have is the way we react; as the economist Nassim Nicholas Taleb comments, ‘If you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour’. As I sit in my crumpled sheets speckled with chocolate from Easter eggs, wearing smelly pyjamas and with hair like a cockatoo, I may appear to have failed in the obvious criteria for assessing elegance. But in terms of my attitude to being ill, I think I’ve done pretty well.