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My Happiness Hat Trick
When you’re sick, weekends suck. It’s not like, “Oh, sweet, it’s the weekend, I can get lots of rest and feel better by the time the workweek returns on Monday!” No, not at all.
Instead, being sick on the weekend means being stuck inside, in most cases, doing nothing (or doing everything…in the bathroom, at least), while the rest of the world does everything you want to be doing.
While you’re up early because your maddening stomach pains woke you up, everyone else is up early to engage in hours of exercise.
By the time you’re on your third roll of toilet paper (I never claimed to be subtle or sexy), the rest of the world has successfully run 20 miles on the most beautiful day, followed by a much-deserved hot shower, a fancy brunch with friends and a sweet afternoon nap.
While your life sucks, everyone else is having the best weekend ever.
And not to be all negative or whatever, but this “hypothetical” weekend scenario was my life for the past, what, millions of weekends? Rough estimate.
The weekdays were easy. When I was healthy enough to make it to work, I had a nice distraction. If I had to stay home, at least I knew I had plenty of crap on the DVR to get me through the day.
But I dreaded weekends. I hated watching the rest of the world at play, and I had to really avoid social media because it led me down a dark, scary road of anger and sadness.
Three weekends ago, though, something happened.
I finally started to relax. And my body seemed to follow suit.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and went to a 7:45 AM yoga class. And then I ran home.
By the time I got back to the apartment, Brian and I agreed: “Let’s get out of the city.”
We rented a car and drove “out east” to my very happy place: the North Fork of Long Island. We got to our sweet little Hilton Hotel, took a long late-afternoon nap and then went out to dinner with Brian’s mom at one of my favorite restaurants in all the land, the North Fork Table & Inn (do it).
We slept in deliciously late on Sunday — hotel beds are my favorite — and then embarked on some hardcore outlet shopping. On the way back to the city, we stopped for a big ol’ steak dinner.
I went to bed back in our apartment that Sunday night feeling the happiest I had felt in months. All it took was being OK enough to leave the apartment.
Just five days later, it was time for another weekend.
This time, it was off to New Jersey for my cousin’s wedding.
I got to spend an entire weekend with my family at another one of my happiest places: Ocean City, NJ, where my aunt lives.
And unlike all 10 or so of the weddings I attended last year, I was able to fully enjoy this one. As in, I spent the entire night on the dance floor…not in the bathroom. How’s that for progress?
The weather all weekend was crappy, but I still got out for a little run on the boardwalk in the middle of a downpour. I had the whole boardwalk to myself and it was perfect.
This past weekend marked my third getaway in three weeks — this time to Saratoga Springs, NY. Brian had a bike race up there, so I tagged along, if only for the promise of a hotel bed and a hot tub. The abundance of competitive spandex-clad boys racing bikes doesn’t hurt either. (I only have eyes for one in particular, but ladies, if you ever want to tag along, I’m tellllllling you, there are men a’plenty just looking for a nice girl who wants to talk about watts and power meters and other seemingly boring bike stuff.)
Brian and I got back to the city around 5 PM (after making a pit-stop at the Woodbury Common outlets, because I can’t not) and I felt really relaxed for the first time in so long.
Whenever I start to get sick, I recall all the “familiar feelings” that come on so suddenly. The fevers, the night sweats, the aches, the frantic bathroom runs…even if it’s been a while, the minute those factors come back into play, it’s like they never settled down to begin with.
But the same is true with these happy feelings.
I’m not running much, but when I do get out there, every step feels so precious (ew, I just said precious…”Yeah, I can’t call you that…” anyone?). I am so deeply grateful for every run I get to take.
Today, I took the subway — the downtown 6 train — from my apartment down to my office. It was the first time in months I did an entirely underground commute (as opposed to taking a cab or taking the bus, which is less stressful because it’s not underground).
Some days lately have still sucked. At one point last week, the night sweats came back with a vengeance and I just about lost my mind in a state of panic.
People ask how I’m feeling, and the easy response is, “good!” The truth, of course, is that my standard for “good” is horribly low. What passes for good for me these days is still a poor quality of life, but it’s better than where I’ve been in the very recent past, and I’m not complaining. I wish “good!” didn’t mean “I still spend hours in the bathroom every morning, I still can’t really eat anything without pain or discomfort and my greatest fears are spinach, salad and restaurants with single-occupancy bathrooms.”
My days lately are filled with little victories, though — taking the subway, not having to leave the room during yoga, sleeping through the night or going out with a dear friend to a real restaurant.
So I’ll take the “good,” whatever that means, because it sure beats all those sad weekends.
WHERE’S YOUR HAPPY PLACE? Let’s talk, because I’ve been missing you. Where’s your weekend “gotta get away” hot spot? And can I go there with you? I’ll bring snacks.