“Loss of a Sense of Well Being”

By , July 11, 2012

I should have known I was getting sick when I started feeling sad on Saturday. I chalked it up to being tired. We’d just come off the Independence day celebration, with staying up way later than usual for fireworks, then camping out overnight at friends. Those events blended into a long anticipated visit from friends on Friday. By Saturday it made sense that the excitement, activity, unusual hours, and the rest would take a toll. Sunday I still felt grumpy and sad. By that evening I developed a sore throat. The next morning I had to admit to full-blown flu, with sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, coughing, sneezing, head and body aches, and exhaustion. Most of all, that strange symptom we see in our medical books, “loss of a sense of well being.”

In the Joni Mitchell’s beloved song, Big Yellow Taxi, she says: “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I don’t consider myself an overly positive person. In fact, I fancy myself a bit of a cynic. But, as I learned when I lost it, I have a very positive attitude, generally speaking.

One would have to have, in order to move one’s family out of the American mainstream into a life like ours. Conversely, if that attitude diminishes, for whatever reason, there will be trouble.

As the summer progresses, work piles up at a terrific pace. The projects we usually finish before June have stretched into the present, abutting against new growing, fishing, hunting and gathering seasons, and new projects. It’s bad enough that I lack the strength to work on these projects. Far worse, I have lost the will. Contemplating any of these projects, even trying to tackle the math and design involved, has filled me with despair these last few days. Even the simplest projects seem doomed to failure. I find myself brooding over past mistakes, misunderstandings, social goofs that had been mostly forgotten, or had acquired a sense of perspective, even humor, in better frames of mind.

The weather didn’t help. We got almost an inch and a quarter of rain from Monday morning to Tuesday. We just came through a 40-knot gale (46+ m.p.h.). Even if I’d been at the top of my game, many of my projects would have been curtailed. Luckily, I have an independent contract that I can work on no matter how I feel—no positive attitude required, just a willingness to doggedly move forward. I’m consoled by being able to earn some money, if not attend to the needs of the homestead.

This too, as they say, shall pass. I’m already beginning to feel my symptoms abate, and perhaps the fact that I can discuss the problem in a semi-coherent fashion means I’m on the road to recovery. No doubt I’ll be bullet proof again in a couple of days.

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