Joni Mitchell was invoking something different when she sang about paving paradise, and her point is the same as what I felt these past couple of days: you don’t always appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.
For me, the past few days, this has meant energy.
I’ve generally got a pretty high amount of it.
Enough at least to get up between 5:15 and 6:30 and do the combination of exercise, work, Dart Society, spending time with family and writing that makes up most of my days.
I’ll be honest and say that too much of the time I think more about remaining tasks than about appreciating having the requisite health to set, and then try to carry out, my daily agenda.
These past couple of days have grounded me in that reality.
I felt my lymph nodes start to swell on Sunday night.
Then came the chills.
Then the headache.
The worst part, though, was having so little energy.
I remember Mom and Dad talking about when they had hepatitis, a condition that caused them to send us away to relatives’ houses while they recuperated.
Dad talked about how he’d wake up feeling like he could do whatever he wanted.
Then, after standing up, making a meal seemed like as much work as running a marathon.
Mostly, they slept.
That was me the past couple of days.
I’d do something noteworthy like eat breakfast and then head down for another couple of hours.
Driving to the doctor’s appointment felt like a real accomplishment.
Fortunately, unlike millions of other people in America, I have health insurance, so was able to see the doctor, receive a prescription for the bacterial infection he instantly diagnosed and head off to CVS to have it filled.
I washed down the pills with some Gatorade he had also suggested I drink to avoid dehydration and the healing process was on.
I heeded the doctor’s advice to take today off from work, too, and gradually have felt my strength return.
I’m not yet back to 100 percent, and can see that trajectory on the horizon.
As almost every moment does, when we choose to pay attention, this experience provides an opportunity for reflection.
How much activity is enough?
What means most to us?
How much do we incorporate gratitude into our day?
I don’t have the answers to all of these, and I’m glad both to be regaining energy and to have the reminder not to take life’s foundations for granted.