Okay, just to allay any fears: this has nothing to do with the coronavirus/COVID-19.

For the first time in two years, I caught a cold. Nothing major, and I’m not entirely sure how much of a cold it really was, since it just knocked me on my ass for a few days with a sore throat, fever, and exhaustion. Consuming an array of chicken-related soups (traditional chicken noodle, Chinese hot and sour*, Campbell’s chicken pot pie), a number of Screwdrivers and Greyhounds**, and a ton of rest*** seemed to have done the trick, for which I’m grateful.

It was sometime in the middle of the “Robots of Death” serial that I got to thinking about how I had essentially let myself get sick. I’d been pushing myself pretty hard (despite New Year’s resolutions to scale back on my ambitions****) between self-imposed publishing deadlines, personal health goals*****, and general life maintenance******, with on top of all this the current house renovation project.*******

So, yeah. I might have gotten a little stressed. Combine that with lack of sleep (curse you, sagging mattress!) and perhaps not eating the most nutritiously (green vegetables are for summer, right?), and BAM! The universe forced me to take a time out.

Well and good.

So between robots killing humans on a mining ship floating over the surface of some planet, I had a crazy thought.

What if I stopped trying so hard?

Not that I hadn’t heard this from well-meaning loved ones before, but for some reason it resonated with me this time.

What if I didn’t try to do ALL THE THINGS?

Deep down, I fear that I would turn into a pile of goo. No structure? No goals? No To-Do Lists? How will I ever get anything done? The next thing I’d know, I’d be lying on the couch, wrapped under a blanket, drinking Screwdrivers and binge-watching old Doctor Who episodes.

<full body record scratch>

Wait a minute.

All right, I’ll have to admit it. Maybe my goals are a tad unrealistic. And maybe my expectations for the amount of time (and effort) some activities will require are, shall we say, a bit on the underestimated side********.

That being said, what if I stopped trying so hard?

Wouldn’t the world collapse around me? Surely the sun would stop rising and the End Times would be nigh.

Or maybe I could just get over myself, seriously scale back, embrace a little more Wu Wei, and choose to, I don’t know, relax. And trust that I’m not a lazy person, and that stuff will get done in the fullness of time.

Bizarre concept, that.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Once I finish my Screwdriver and this episode of “Rise of the Cybermen“.


*Note to self: if have a sore throat, do not add the hot chili oil to ‘hot and sour soup’. For some reason, sore throats don’t take kindly to spicy hot flavors.

**I figure they are the perfect medicine for colds: citrus for the Vitamin C and vodka for the ‘kill everything while it goes down’ aspect.

***By ‘rest’ I mean: sleep followed by lying on the couch and binge-watching Doctor Who (some classic Tom Baker episodes, followed up with series 1 and 2 with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant—my top three favorite doctors, in that order, I think).

****By ‘scale back’ I mean: continue to pursue a vast variety of activities but in limited frames of time. For example, doing one sun salutation (not ‘an hour of yoga’), or playing the clarinet for 15 minutes (not ‘practice until my lips are numb’, although that tends to be around 15 minutes currently).

*****Ironic, isn’t it?

******The house won’t clean itself yet. Dammit.

*******The joys of that to come forthwith.

********Despite my best efforts to apply the Star Trek Engineering ‘Time Something Will Take’ Rule: take the amount of time you think something will require to complete and multiply by 4. If you finish before that time, you’re hailed as a genius. If it takes the full amount of time, then you’re just plain good.