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I’m starting the New Year sick. Well, not terribly indisposed to merit medical attention but tired and exhausted and feeling unenthusiastic about the passing hours. Perhaps the holidays have finally taken a toll on me: traffic, crowded malls, late nights, little sleep, colder weather, gluttony, chocolates, liquor, the haze of New Year’s fireworks. My body could no longer feign strength and vigour so this morning, when I woke up, it simply refused to cooperate. And now I’m on some much needed rest but cheating by writing and posting this.

There’s a cup of peppermint tea on my bedside table, its scent meant to restore my lost sense of smell, its warming effects I pray will clear my airways. There are paracetamols and decongestants and vapour rubs to aid my convalescence. There’s also music, courtesy of Tchaikovsky (read his biography and you will realize why I have a connection to him), which is keeping me sane while in this self-imposed room imprisonment (I don’t plan on spreading the virus to my family this time around). There’s the rain.

And of course, I have the company of my thoughts, fleeting, good but the last few days, dark. The recent Christmas tragedies on the news keep repeating in my head. Grief, graphic images, recovery, lives lost. It’s not something you want to think about on the first day of the year but in my rest, and under the gloomy weather, it’s easy to have snarling thoughts on death, mortality, and pain, the kind which make you limp for a few seconds, and then sad. Then there’s the thought of going back to work. Homesickness is starting to creep in already as the clock ticks faster to the first working Monday of the year.

But I don’t want to dampen the mood, if you’re reading this. It’s a whole new year. There are many things to worry about, pleasant thoughts which should be filling my mind as I try to get better. It’s just a nagging feeling – maybe because of my physical state – that there’s so much ahead that’s making me sick in the head too. Maybe once I get better, my thoughts will too. I need as much positivity as I can if I were to get through the first working week. Both body and mind must be up to the task.

If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.

– Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

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