- Involuntarily wake up at 4:15am. Your alarm is for 6:30am. Now you’re in this no-man’s-land of “want to sleep but can’t” and “awake-enough-to-function but also so excruciatingly tired.” Empathize with new parents.
- Sprain your lower back muscle during a workout. You had such good intentions for 2021: Do bodyweight workouts 3x per week. So far, so good! And now THIS?! Exercise, I trusted you. 2021, I trusted you.
- Your back sprain is so bad, you can barely move. And when you do, it’s like Frankenstein. Or a robot. Actually, let’s go with Frankenstein, because there’s lots of groaning.
- You feel fragile and mortal. Just burping is painful. You survived the pain of 2 brain surgeries in your life, yet when your cat knocks your keys off a table, you wince in pain to pick ’em up and feel so, so vulnerable.
- Drop your phone into mustard. You grab your phone to take a photo of lunch — an open-faced burger, topped with a big dollop of mustard. Your grip loosens. The phone drops onto the mustard. There’s now mustard in every crevice of your phone — like the little speaker hole thingies.
- Your cat catches on fire. Yes, your cat accidentally sets itself ablaze. You’d lit a small lavender-scented candle to relax after a rough morning. It’s within 1 foot of your laptop on the kitchen island, where you’re working. Ah, the calming aroma of lavender and… burning hair? You look up. It’s your Persian long-haired cat and she is on fire. She is sitting there in front of you, completely unfazed that the candle flame caught her tail hair and has run its way up her back. The flames are about 6 inches high, flapping off her body like orange whips. You pounce on her and pat out the fire. This all happens in, like, 3 seconds. Your heart is pounding. Your cat looks annoyed, as if you interrupted her. “What was that for, dad?” she’s thinking, completely unaware she was on fire. She just keeps purring. You gently pet her, kiss her, then check every square inch of her body for burns. You thank God the fire only burned some of her hair, and didn’t reach anywhere near her bare skin. She’s okay, and that’s all that matters.
- There are now ashes of cat hair all over the floor. And the apartment smells… horrible. Yes this involves bending over to sweep the ashes. But again, she’s okay, and that’s all that matters.
- Your cat looks… A mess. You tolerate any back pain to bend over throughout the day to snuggle and pet and kiss her. You realize how much she means to you. You have flashbacks of her totally innocent, unfazed look on her face while she didn’t realize she was on fire.
- You cry. There are 2, maybe 3 hearty bouts of solid crying thanks to this whole day. Real Olympic-level stuff. Heaving. Squeals. Pounding on tables. Silent-scream-crying. All of it. From guilt to shame to love to depression to self-pity to overwhelming gratitude, you feel it all. And you feel it fully.
- You feel… better. Like, A LOT better. Wow, what a turn of events —
- It starts raining and you get a work email at 4:50pm about a new project. Well, shit.
- This all happens on a Friday.
Update: 3 Days Later
Everything is fine. Back still hurts, but a lot less. I can wear my socks with 80% less groaning and wincing.
I am grateful — I thank my body. Pain is a reminder not to take this body for granted. Hey, body, I love you. Thank you, and sorry if I’m ever an a-hole to you. Thanks for the constant reminder that you need rest and care and aren’t an invincible machine. I appreciate the simple gift that is being able to bend over and put on my pants or pick up something off the ground, without thinking twice. Many, many people would give anything for that simple pleasure.
I’ve thrown out all my candles.
My cat is fine. She’s purring right now and still unfazed by, well, everything.
Sure, she’s looks worse for wear. But she’s still knocking over my keys. At least now, I’m able bend over and pick ’em up without using my toes.