I’ve been wanting to write something here for the past several days, but I’ve been struggling to figure out what to say. So, as a reward for vacuuming, I’ve set a twenty-minute timer to just write. Let’s see what happens.
I am on day eight of a meandering stomach bug. After two days of rather intense symptoms (I will spare you), things have now subsided into waves of general discomfort and an overall lack of normal tummy behavior. My prayer is that today will be the last such day, because I hate stomach bugs. They’re just unignorable. With a fever, in a pinch, you can take an Advil or something and be on your way. Even if you can take something for a stomach bug to get to a baseline level of function, it’s really not enough. You just have to be patient and wait as your body fights it off and heals after the war. And that is no fun at all.
On the bright side, though, the weather is finally getting spring-like where we are. We had an utterly miserable winter and most of spring in central Illinois, which is the farthest north I have ever lived. Southern California and northern Alabama are both generally warm, with the obvious differences in humidity. I never realized until this year how much I rely on warm weather. I like winter, usually—I like sweaters and tea and rainy, quiet reading days inside. But so cold I can’t venture outside for a 20 minute walk? I can’t do it. (I’m sure that the car/ditch situation didn’t help my overall view of Illinois winters, but that’s neither here nor there.)
I think the tummy bug and crummy Spring have done a lot to challenge my ideas of my own mental and emotional elasticity. People talk a lot about how young people operate under delusions about the own mortality, or lack thereof. I think I also was working with the assumption that I was a lot more able to change, potentially infinitely, than I realized. I’m starting to think that human personalities are actually a lot more stable than we realize.
An at times faltering project of mine these past couple of years has been to try doing things that I enjoyed as a kid, especially things I used to do a lot or even just did casually before school got too hectic. I have not had universal success in picking things up—I would be lying if I said I didn’t have hobby books and supplies sitting on shelves that I really do intend to pick up again one of these days, despite my best self-sabotaging efforts to forget about them. But a lot of things have been good. I remember being maybe 14 or 15 and volunteering to walk our lumbering basset hound on cool rainy mornings in the spring, watching the rain fall under my huge, goofy bubble umbrella while the dog sniffed every single blade of grass on our street—and loving it. I’ve enjoyed resuming these quiet rainy (and sunny) walks with Jonathan, and noticed how much I missed them when we couldn’t over the long, bleak winter. Like I wrote the other day, getting back into reading, especially novels, has been eye-opening.
I don’t know why I stepped away from doing so many of these things. Probably just life getting busy, or getting bored, or thinking it’s a waste of time, or feeling anxious about not doing something else. But despite my conscious and unconscious efforts to change—to abandon a hobby, to get my stomach back to normal, to be okay with sub-zero windchill—I’m a lot less malleable than I thought I was.
Sometimes things just take time. Hopefully, this time next week, my tummy woes will be a quickly-fading memory. Other things, I think, are outside of time. I don’t think any amount of persisting, doggedly, in overwork or dumb forgetfulness, will take away my love of drawing. I don’t think any amount of living in a colder clime will take away my enjoyment of a springtime spent in sunshine and mild rain. And you know what? I think that’s okay.
My timer just went off, so I will leave you with that today.