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I despise getting sick.

If the physical pains weren’t enough, than the challenges of self-exile – the solitary confinement necessary to avoid spreading my own misfortune – add a new dimension of suffering.

Stuck in bed, left to my own devices, overwhelmed by the claustrophobia of a bedroom with a ceiling which seems to bend under the weight of the summer heat, and possessed by thoughts running amok in the fertile plain of convalescence: to be indisposed seems more of a punishment.

A man used to waking up with a perfectly fine health despite his vices – and believe me, I have quite a few I’m determined to quit if I had more will – is not one to enjoy his body’s sudden betrayal. That even though I dread the stresses of work, I feel more restless when resting. I feel like I’m missing a lot from life in spite of my daily routine being practically the same. In bed, I’m useless apart from being a rabid complainer indignant towards any form of pain.

After all, I take pride in my office attendance, as if my physical presence is the primary measure of my work ethic. I come in too early, and I leave late, and I’m always saying yes to requests even though my body says otherwise: yes to overtime, yes to weekend calls, yes to Sunday work, yes to late night projects, and yes to early morning call times. Now perhaps, vices aside, I’ve spread myself too thin by juggling more work I could handle, or claiming too much responsibility I can keep up with.

I’ve always been a man full of human respect. It’s in the system of the kind of person who prefers to have control over his life (and precisely why I yearn to quit the vices controlling me). I wrongly think of declining as an admission of incompetence and thus, why I have way too much on my plate. Nothing more but a classic case of biting much more than I can chew until I choked. And now the air of invincibility, including the arrogance of assuming my chain smoking and late night sleeping has had no impact on my health, has been taken away.

My body is frankly, just tired of all the shit I’ve forced it to put up with. My bones, eloquently frail, have finally lived up to its appearance. My skin has aged in shielding me from the torrid city-climate commuters deal with. My feet, corned and bruised, have carried a weight for far too long. Now streaks of pain emanate from the inside as my eyelids battle the strains of gravity. The sounds speak for themselves: joints squeak, cheeks droop, knuckles crack – the heart whines.

Is it not funny our mind – filled by the wisdom and regrets of hindsight – becomes more sensitive to reality in sickness and convalescence; much like how death pushes joyful memories from unfathomable depths to console us in our griefs? That one has to be physically sick in order to realize our modern lifestyle tests the malleability of our bodies is a caustic humour that fills me now. And though I feel pointless and useless in bed, trying to read with a fever, or hoping I could recover any form of appetite to nourish a body I’ve abused, it is also so empowering to be weak, to be reminded of our mortality when our busy times seemingly demand divine strengths?

And maybe soon when I’m up on my feet again, I will learn to take things easier by steadying my pace, resolving to finally quit my bad habits, and saying “no” as my body does – no to this obsession with control and human respect, no to aiming at impossible imperfections, no to thinking life is mine to keep.

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