My annual attempt at reflection
Like this puddle in the middle of a concrete jungle, life over the past year had its moments.
Just days ago, I was battling through high fever, suspecting of finally getting the virus that caused a pandemic. I started to burn up, my body temperature was at 38.3 degrees Celsius, then 37.9 Celsius, then back to the 38s, then highs of 37s. These numbers were taken within four hours. Is the new variant of virus this bad? Maybe.
I took the next best action: I gobbled two tablets of paracetamol to fight the fever. I drank glasses of water. I also forced myself to eat, while my taste buds started to turn bitter (perhaps due to the number of paracetamols I’ve downed).
For three days, I was lying in my bed, with sweater and socks on. My body was fighting the virus, I thought. Good. I would dose off, then wake up soaked in sweat. My wife would then remind me to change my shirt, and to rehydrate. She’s a natural nurse, as I would soon find out.
The fever did not make me delirious, but too many things raced in my mind and they were all incoherent. Sometimes, I believed I was daydreaming, falling between sleep and waking up, with dreams I soon forgot. Some thoughts remained clear like work deadlines or the recent images of my losing basketball team. I wonder why was basketball still in mind when i’m burning with fever.
I needed to send a few chat messages to cancel some appointments, delegate some work, and say sorry to my class for missing another Saturday. I was still hustling, in my mind.
Ouch! All that thinking hurt my head. Physically, I was struggling. Mentally, I was exhausted. This fever was different. Between these times of clear thought and confusion, I got calls from our company doctors and nurses. I was asked to “quarantine” for a week. I reported back that a personal antigen test showed I was negative of that deadly virus.
By the fourth day, the fever broke! I checked my temperature again, and it was hovering between mid 36s to low 37s. Doctor said those temperature range were now “normal.”
But there was something wrong. My body ached. I couldn’t stand for that long. I would lose my balance. I was also in a daze. Perhaps from too much lying down or sudden movements?
Then, my wife suggested that I should check if this fever was caused by something else, having overheard my discussion with my doctor. I hesitated partly because I was in denial that the root cause might be due to a nasty bite of a mosquito.
I had my blood tested the next day. The night before the day ended, the doctor sent me the lab tests. One result was clear; dengue antigen test: POSITIVE.
Weird, but I felt relieved.
Relieved that I knew now what made me sweat those three full days, and why suddenly skin rashes started dotting my torso, neck, and legs. This also explained the body pain, the weakness, and the fatigue.
Today, as I’m writing this, I’m waiting to get my latest lab result that would show if my platelet count has improved. And did I say that this was supposed to be my annual reflection when I turn another leaf in my life?
Of course, I have to write my year’s reflection down, bulleted-style.
Life is short. Don’t waste it. It sounds cliche, but it has been that theme of late for me and some good friends. I keep reminding myself that time is finite, and in this world, it doesn’t belong to us. We’re just borrowing time.
Family will always be there, no matter what. They are not only your biggest fans, but your supporter, your caregiver, your critique, your constant reminder of good, bad, and ugly decisions, too.
Change will always happen, and it happens when you least expect it. 2022 rolled off differently, as I felt not my best version at the start of the year. Then, in a month, that changed. Now, the spark was back. I was no longer stuck. I felt reenergized. I looked forward to waking up again.
It pays to take action, make mistakes, iterate and reflect, then move again. Don’t just move for the sake of it, though. This is partly from listening and reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Want to change your habit? Do it, one stone at a time. As one saying goes: done is better than perfect.
Take pride in friends who correct you, inspire you, and push you to be the best version of yourself but not at anyone’s expense. These friends (not the Facebook-kind) know when you need help. And they don’t expect much in return.
Never stop teaching and learning. Do my students appreciate what I share with them? Not to sound self-congratulatory, but some former and graduating students have asked me to write recommendation letters, while thanking me about the lessons they’ve picked up along the way. One shared that she remembered me telling her thesis partners to use the class projects as guide for one of their topics. They did, and in a couple of weeks, they are up for defense. There’s no simple way of putting it. But that is my paying it forward.
Don’t forget to spend some time meditating. It takes 2 minutes to develop a new habit, I learned recently. So I spend at least that time to pray, reflect, and just being mindful at the start of the day. Everyday is too hectic. Find time and a place to calm the mind.
Keep on writing, reading, and writing. Once a writer, always a writer. I promised to read more books this year, and I think, I’m halfway through my 12 books in one year! Thanks in large to audiobooks.
I would describe the first half of 2022 as the most emotionally draining and socially challenged that we, Filipinos, have experienced. You know why.
It was the first time that I voted again for the country’s top position. It was also the first time I got vocal again. My recently revivived band and I even did a song and a music video after years of silence.
Sadly, the most-feared happened. Popularity won over rationality, and now I’m still shocked and uncertain of the next six years, as the winners would soon take on their positions by end of my birth month.
Should I be celebrating that I’m officially 49 today? Or should I mark myself, “safe for now” while I recover from my bout with another infectious disease that is constantly and seasonally infecting Filipinos like me?
Dear reader, I survived (ICYMI) for now.