Covid Symptoms

Well, it finally happened. This morning as I got up to turn off my alarm, the first thing my barely conscious brain registered was a slight discomfort at the back of my throat whenever I would swallow. Despite being vaccinated and receiving my booster, I knew it was only a matter of time considering I work with the general public every day. I wiped a little one year old’s nose Tuesday. A twelve year old boy came in maskless and coughing Wednesday. The nurse that came to our meeting yesterday has been working on the Covid unit. I should have known at least one of these regular possible exposure situations would eventually result in getting sick myself. Not to mention I live in a very rural, conservative area where no one ever fully followed the CDC guidelines and I’m sure there are plenty of people that, to this day, never wore a mask. It’s shocking I haven’t experienced symptoms sooner.

Unlike my usual groggy morning self, this morning I was wide awake. My mind was racing with all of the things I am supposed to do today and this weekend. I starting making mental bullet points of all the things I needed to cancel, where testing is available, etc. I felt frustrated that I just put on new fake nails that no one will get to see. I worried about the things I left at my office that I won’t be able to get for god knows how long now. A small part of me wanted to somehow think of a way I could avoid quarantine all together. In the end I knew I had to text everyone at work and my yoga studio to let them know.

After finally coming to terms with what has so far only been a minor inconvenience, I began to have very different thoughts. Given that I still feel rather normal and healthy aside from my throat, I did my morning workout as I normally do while I waited to hear back from my boss. Instead of feeling annoyed and reluctant to move my body first thing in the morning like I usually do, today I felt so overwhelmingly grateful that I could. I considered just how unbelievably lucky I have been so far during the course of this never-ending pandemic. Not only that, but how lucky I have been in life, especially regarding my physical health.

I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, so part of me wants to believe that this sore throat is something unrelated, but knowing that I haven’t had so much as a cold for over a decade, leaves me feeling pretty confident it’s Covid. Yet realizing I’ve been so healthy for such an extended period of time is incredible. Not only that, I am so fortunate to be young and healthy in the face of this pandemic. My biggest fear is losing my sense of smell and/or having lingering fatigue. Although these still seem horrifying to me, I have to remind myself that so many people are afraid of literally dying from this virus.

It’s funny, I was just thinking yesterday that there is something beautiful about the sudden negative turns in life. Despite the content or context, they are like being jarringly awoken from a dream. Everything around you becomes so much sharper and more defined. Reality takes on a crystalline, vivid nature. We see everything more clearly, as if for the first time. We become painfully aware of all that we have, and also all that we stand to lose. We are reminded that we should never take anything for granted, whether it be something as significant as our ability to breathe with ease or as seemingly trivial as our sense of smell.

Even the most inconvenient or potentially devastating life events can be a blessing in this way. Today I am going to spend my time off counting my many blessings. I’m going to be exceptionally kind and gentle with myself. I’m going to give myself my favorite foods and savor my ability to taste them. I am going to give my body rest and tenderness. I am going to center my loving awareness on the people most dear to me, and be thankful that I live alone and haven’t had the chance to potentially expose them to my sickness. I am going to spend quality time with my fur babies and be grateful I have a job that allows me to work from home when needed. Hell, maybe I’ll even take an afternoon nap which I haven’t done in years.

Whether I end up testing positive for Covid or not, I am so humbled by all that life has given me. I am going to use this time of fear and uncertainty to meditate on this beautiful slice of consciousness that the universe has gifted to me and all that it entails. My heart goes out to the rest of the world and all those who have suffered or are currently suffering from this virus. May you be safe. Maybe you be happy. May you be healthy. And may you live with ease. Today I will let this be my prayer, my mantra, for myself, my loved ones, and the world.

5 Face Mask Facts for Kids - Carithers Pediatric Group

Long-term Pessimist, Short-term Optimist

I heard a guest on one of the podcasts I listen to describe himself as someone who is pessimistic in the long-term, but very optimistic for the short-term. He said this in a light-hearted, humorous manner, but it has resonated with me ever since. This is precisely how I would describe myself. I may fully believe that in just a few decades, the earth will collapse from underneath us due to our selfishness and our negligence. However, that doesn’t have to take away from the beauty and meaning still left to be found in the months and years we have before us.

It can be hard to hold these two perspectives in my mind at once, but I’ve been practicing it for a few years now and it’s gotten easier. At first, I only felt cheated and victimized by the current state of the world. Now I see that instead I should be immensely grateful for the life I have been given regardless of the length or the way it ultimately ends. It’s a bizarre frame of mind to be sure, but I am capable of being thankful for where I am and what I have even as everything around me slowly crumbles. I’ve heard before that death is a gift because it forces us to more fully appreciate life. And to a certain extend I view the impending climate crisis in the same way. It has made each small moment that much more poignant and precious to me.

I may not know how long I have left, but I do know that I have been blessed with the most amazing people to share this life with until then. In twenty or more years, the earth may be decimated, but in a few months, I’ll be in the arms of the man I love. I’ve managed to find someone to share my remaining years with, someone who understands and respects my beliefs and opinions. Someone that acknowledges the threats we face as a species, and as a planet. Someone that can hold my hand through it all and face it with me when that day comes. I have a job I love to go to everyday with people that mean so much to me, that help me grow, and that allow me to do something meaningful. I have a family and friends that love and understand me even when I don’t always understand myself. I have three soft fur children that adore me and depend on me, that bless me with indescribable tenderness and warmth each and every day.

In ten years I may not have access to clean water or food, but right now I have everything I could ask for and more. Each week I get to go collect a fresh, vibrant bounty from the store to nourish me and keep me healthy. In a few weeks my entire country will celebrate that bounty and the company of those most precious to us as we brace ourselves for the cold months ahead. I reflect on this miracle each day as I prepare my colorful collection of fruits and vegetables and turn them into delicious meals.

I have a home. I am loved. I love. When I am thirsty, I may always drink. When I’m hungry, I may always eat. Each night I lay my head down in my soft, warm bed surrounded by my sweet babies. Soon that bed will even contain my loving partner. I have heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. I have electricity and running water. I have clothing that keeps me protected from the elements and allows me to express myself to those around me. I have a community to teach me patience and teamwork. I have a stable foundation laid beneath me from all the those that came before to ensure that future generations would have plumbing, highways, public services, and a power grid.

Despite the downfalls of the modern age, never before in history has life been so easy and filled with pleasure. When life has given you so many incredible gifts, it isn’t fair to complain when they eventually run out. Someday I may suffer, but the fact that I have never truly suffered in 28 years of life is unbelievable. And I am so grateful for all of these blissful years I have been given, and I am overjoyed to likely still have quite a few left ahead of me. The future may ultimately hold fear, pain, suffering, and uncertainty, but that future will not be here tomorrow, or next week, or next month. And for that I am also grateful.

1,048 Pessimism Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

So Grateful

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I don’t know why, but I have felt especially grateful lately. I feel as though things are finally looking up for me, even though not much has really changed on the outside. This morning I drove nearly an hour away to teach my yoga class in a horrific blizzard. My area does a dismal job of taking care of the roads, so it ended up taking me nearly two hours to make the drive this morning. Normally I would have been insanely stressed about that, as well as angry that no one had treated the roads at all. But instead, I was able to focus on the positive more easily than I usually am. I found myself feeling grateful that I had woken up on time and left early enough to give myself plenty of time to drive as slowly as I needed to. I was grateful that I remembered to heat up my car for ten minutes before I headed out. I was grateful that I had recently gotten new tires put on my car. I was grateful that I already got gas the day before. I was grateful that my car didn’t slide or go off the road, grateful that I made it to my class unscathed, grateful that a good bit of my students still came out into such awful weather to practice with me. So much to be grateful for!

Even on my way home, when I got directed off the highway in an unfamiliar neighborhood due to some accident, I remained relatively unbothered. I was just grateful that I was not the one in an accident. Plus the detour took me past an adorable metal dinosaur sculpture in someone’s yard, that I had never had any reason to drive past before. What a treat! Now as I sit at my home, I am so grateful to be back safe and sound with my sweet fur babies. Nothing feels better than being warm and cozy inside with the heat running and a mug of hot coffee nearby as you glance out the window into the blinding brilliance of a snow-covered world.

I’m not sure why I’ve been feeling more at ease lately. I’d like to think that I have made some important spiritual progress, but I don’t know. I have been reading some beneficial books, but it’s hard to imagine they could have already had such a profound effect on me. All I know is that I have been feeling more calm, more grateful, more open. I’ve even been having happier dreams lately. Without knowing what to attribute this shift too, I am worried that it won’t last. But even so, I am going to fully embrace and enjoy it while it does.

This Gift

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When I was only a few years old, I can remember one particular instance on Christmas day very clearly. My older sister and I were gleefully opening piles of presents from my parents under the tree. It was early in the morning. My parents were in their bathrobes, gazing at us sleepily, but happily, from over their steaming cups of coffee.

As my sister begins unwrapping one gift, her face falls. In her hands she holds the board game Operation. I hear her shout angrily, “I didn’t want this!” To be fair, neither did I. We were both fairly timid and anxious children. The idea of a loud buzzer going off if you make a mistake in a game seemed quite upsetting. However, I can still feel how absolutely mortified I was by her reaction.

I think I must have been too young to really articulate my feelings at the time. I genuinely may have not been able to talk. (I have memories from far earlier on in life than most people I’ve learned.) But even being so young, I knew how terribly rude and ungrateful my sister was being. How could someone complain about a gift! Even if it is something you hate. It is still a gift. And gifts should be met with gratitude.

I think back on this memory a lot. Today it came to mind because I have been struggling with my anger once again. I have a tendency to get angry at the smallest inconveniences and keep that anger with me all day. Some days are worse than others in this regard. In order to quell that anger this morning, I meditated on the fact that this life, this entire existence, is a gift. Every moment of it.

How silly it is to let such small moments make me ungrateful for this gift. This unimaginably wonderful gift! I got to wake up this morning. I got to see the sun rise. I got to listen to music. I got to feel soft sensations against my skin. I got to snuggle and kiss my sweet fur children. I got to sip amazing coffee with pumpkin spice almond milk creamer!

It can be so easy to let our minds ruminate on the things that displease us. It can be so easy to forget to be thankful. The next time I find myself pouting about something, or getting upset, I am going to silently whisper thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you, universe, sweet mother earth, for giving me this existence, this consciousness! How could I ever be so selfish to ask for anything more? It is perfect in every way. Because I wasn’t owed any of it. Yet all of this was given to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am so grateful.

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