In Sickness and In Health

Uncontroversial opinion: mono is terrible.

I shouldn’t complain too much, because some people have horrific mono that lasts for over a month. I had horrific mono that lasted for two weeks, and fatigue that continues to remind me I really need to sleep don't even think about skipping out on an hour of sleep or you will regret it.

What’s really unfortunate about mono, however, is that it forced me into an unplanned hiatus. It’s hard to record podcasts when you have tonsillitis and can barely talk-- it’s hard to do anything when you’re perpetually exhausted and sleep for fifteen hours a day. So there’s a pause on schoolwork, a pause on writing, a pause on podcasting, a pause on exercising, a pause on eating well, a pause on keeping up with friends… You get the idea.

The only thing is, I don’t have exactly the best track record with any of those things when I’m perfectly healthy. College is busy, okay? I can’t be expected to keep up with all of this. I have to go to class, go to work, eat, sleep, do my homework, talk to my friends, and then I’m basically ready to go to sleep and do it all again.

At least, that’s what I tell myself. But honestly? I know that I waste a ton of time every day. I could be listening to audiobooks that enrich my mind as I walk to class, instead of podcasts about nothing in particular. I could be getting my homework done straightaway when I get out of class instead of lazing around on Youtube for an hour after dinner. I could spend my lunch hour catching up on emails and readings instead of on Twitter.

There are a hundred different ways I could be more productive every day, just like everyone else who isn’t Beyoncé (I have a sticky note on my desk that says “Don’t Worry, Be Yoncé. It’s strangely motivational). And if I was perfectly productive every second of the day, my head would explode and I would be miserable. I can’t spend my time beating myself up about not being perfect.

I can, however, acknowledge that I am not the busiest person alive. I could make time to get more work done, to exercise, to connect with friends. Gandhi said it best: actions express priorities. (See, if Gandhi didn’t have time to call his grandparents, I wouldn’t blame him. That was a busy guy. Although, he was probably just the kind of person who would remember to call his grandparents. Dammit.) My choice to spend excess time on my phone expresses that I am prioritizing Twitter over my work. That’s not the decision I want to make. It’s time for me to acknowledge that this is the choice I have been making, and that I have the power to prioritize my life in a way that’ll help me achieve my goals.

Will this (rather lowkey) epiphany turn me into an incredibly productive person? Hahahano. I’ve given up hope of ever being able to epiphany my way to efficiency. Getting stuff done requires just sitting down and doing it. You can try to “four-hour workweek” all you want, but 99% of the time, you just have to do the work. Not when you have mono and can’t lift your laptop. But those times when you would rather just watch The West Wing? Yeah. That’s the time when you have to do the work.

To bring in a musical theater related example (I warned you), Aaron Burr sings that he’s willing to “wait for it,” “it” being all the success and achievement of his dreams. Alexander Hamilton is “non-stop” and writes like he’s “running out of time.” Guess which one ended up on the ten dollar bill? Don’t just wait for your dreams to come true. Work your ass off like Hamilton, and one day you too can become an incredibly flawed human being vital founder of a new nation.