the Wednesday illness

So my computer and my wi-fi had a bit of a disagreement. I couldn’t get them to speak to each other no matter how hard I pressed them to [pun intended], which was a pain coz then I couldn’t post. But no matter, seems like they’re talking again now.

Meanwhile, I have been going through boxes of tissues like the world depends on it. One morning, I walked out into the living room to have my flatmate take one look at me and go “Woah, you look serious.” Sitting at my desk at the office later that day, I turned my head looking for something only to have the girl sitting next to me glance up at my face and go, “Woah.”

It was a Wednesday.

Every Wednesday for the past three weeks, I wake up with my nose completely bunged up. I blow my nose throughout meetings, collecting little snot dumplings in front of me as I try to squint at presentations through watering eyes. Trying to sneeze and blow your nose discreetly in an open plan office takes a lot of talent I realise. I mostly fail. Throughout the day at my desk, I transform entire boxes of tissues into piles of squidgy balls in the bin. My nose reddens and peels from all the friction and people talking to me can’t help but focus on it.

On Thursday, things would abruptly start clearing up. I no longer have to haul a box of tissue with me around the office. I can once again talk on the phone and be understood. I no longer wipe tears from my eyes in meetings. By Friday, I feel good enough to go to the gym after work.

I generally enjoy my weekends snot-free and breathing happily. Then Monday rolls around and I would come home from work, feeling a bit under the weather. I would just assume I was just tired from a long day. But inevitably, I would feel significantly worst the next day. Where is the tissue? I would start looking around for the box. I blow my nose intermittantly and rub my eyes. By night time, I could no longer breathe through my nose.

Then Wednesday…and we all know how that goes.

I’ve taken to calling this The Wednesday Illness and it’s been going on for a few weeks now. I can’t explain it. I look and feel terrible in the middle of the week, it gradually clears up for the weekend, and then the whole process repeats itself again.

Maybe this is it. I’m allergic to work.


looking good

In the office pantry yesterday, I bumped into someone who looked at me all serious and said, “Lately, you’ve been looking….” She paused, trying to find the right word, obviously trying not to cause offense.

“….beautiful?” I grinned, thinking that I would give her a way out.

Not missing a beat, she smiled, “Well that wouldn’t be just lately would it?”

We paused. Then she continued, “You have been looking…..expressionless.”

I’ve been told innumerable times that when I don’t smile, I look pissed off. So really, she’s diplomatically telling me that I look pissed off these days.

“Well, you know, it’s been crazy busy days around here.”

Usually, water cooler conversations would just drift off with some sort of well-I-guess-I-should-get-back-to-work-then-huh type of ending. But she said something I didn’t expect.

“Well, whatever we look like, we still have to do the work right?”

I stood there watching her walk off, and it felt like someone shifted a block in my mind. Whether we like it or not, there will always be things we’d rather not do but have to. So why not do them with joy? Why not do them with laughter?

Every day,  I thought I didn’t want to be at work. I thought I hate going to the office. But then I thought again about why I work. I can leave tomorrow if I want to. No one can stop me. But I’m there. I want to be there. I want to be there this year so I can save up to do what I hope to do next year. This is a part of the plan that I made for myself. So I do want to be there. And if I’m going to be there, why not chill a little, smile a little, and feel a little lighter?

Perspective. When water cooler fodder isn’t.

the things we keep

My first job out of university was at a veterinary hospital. On one level, I loved it. I’ve always loved animals and loved taking care of them. On another level, it was a total disaster. I was (and still am) a big softie and took home nearly all those that were given up. I even offered to pay out of my own pocket for the surgery of a hamster that had a cancerous tumour on this face. Working long hours but living with my parents then, our apartment turned into a zoo with my mum as the primary caretaker, doting on the animals, applying antibiotics, feeding medicines, and loving them all the same.

Long after I left that job, when the last of the animals died – our first cat and from cancer – I told myself I couldn’t have another cat again. I’ve had enough of sick and dying animals.

Helping out a friend last summer, one thing led to another and I find myself becoming a cat fosterer for a local rescue group. When the first two cats left, it was very upsetting. They’d been with me for three months and made all the difference when I went through a really shit period.

Then I was given a five-month old kitten. Smart, handsome, and full of life, it was the first kitten I’ve ever had. It was also because of those qualities that he was adopted very soon afterwards. When the call came from the people wanting to see him, my heart caught and I selfishly wanted to hang up and process the adoption for myself instead.

But of course they adored him and he eventually went the very lovely couple and I was very happy for him. I came home from work the next day and missed having the little bugger greet me at the door. Our little flat was once again a little emptier and quieter.

Looking back now, isn’t that just a reminder of how life is? We hold on to so much. To our possessions, to our relationships, to the people we love, but to what end? None of them will ever be ours forever. In the end, we will leave just as we’ve come: empty-handed.

So we love and we give and we cherish. We spend time with each other and laugh and play and cry. Just because we can’t own anything doesn’t mean we give up on everything. It just makes everything all the more precious. And once you realise that everything and everyone will one day go anyways, you hold on to less. You learn that letting go is just as natural as living life.

I’ve now got another two cats, and I totally adore them. This is also the first sickly foster cats I have, requiring vet visits, antibiotic tablets, and eye-drops. They’ve got yet another different set of personalities and bring a new focus into our lives.I know they will one day leave me as well. And that’s ok.