Monday, January 3, 2011
Just Say Yes--and Happy New Year
“Can you sit up and tell me about it?” the doctor asked.
“I’d prefer not to,” I remember saying. “I need to stay lying down.”
And then the doctor finally said: you don’t have a rash, do you?
And I said, well, not really..but I have three weird little dots on my lower back.
Her eyes widened. “Are you under a lot of stress? Have you been working really hard?”
If I hadn’t felt so awful, it would have been funny.
I had shingles. And it was horrible.
I slugged down medicine, lived on nothing but ginger ale for about a week. Had a horrible headache. Slept, slept, slept, slept, slept. Finally, finally, my brain stared working again, and now, about two and a half weeks later, I’m, knock on wood fine.
But here’s the point. Nothing got done. NOTHING. Nothing I had planned to do, nothing I had told myself was absolutely necessary to do, none of it got done.
“Sick,” I’d email, trying to type while lying down. “More later.”
No one got Christmas cards, emails didn’t get answered for a week, Christmas presents were last-minute gift cards.
And no one cared. It was ALL FINE.
Yes, I made my article deadlines, made them fine, instead of worrying about them for two weeks and then writing them, I just wrote them. Luckly, by some amazing luck, I had no appearances scheduled so I didn't have to cancel and ruin anyone else's plans. .
Being so sick took away my choices. And when I was lucky enough to reenter the world, it was all fine.
So now I’m thinking—hmmm. What if I spend too much time trying to be perfect? Trying to do everything?
And what if, suddenly, the universe sent me a message saying: “Guess what, girl. You’re done for a while.”
The incredible Wally Lamb once told me he keeps an index card by his telephone. On the index card, he’s printed one word. NO. He’s the most charming, most generous, most giving, most loving—but even he, sometimes, has to remember to protect himself.
(And just for fun--Three copies of DRIVE TIME are up for grapbs! I'll choose winners from the comments...and Happy New Year!)