By Jackie Hoffart
When I catch a cold, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and a box of tissues. I want to lie back and let a wave of television wash over me as I sneeze, cough and fall in and out of waking life. I want to be fed occasionally — healthy things like soups, but also sinful things like chocolate — depending on my mood. I want to never have to think about going back to work. Basically, I want to regress to childhood.
When I was a kid, I used to secretly love getting sick. Of course I didn't like feeling sick, but I loved missing school. It was like stepping into another life for a day, peeking into the world outside of my own.
I would watch celebrity talk shows, game shows and whatever movies I wanted. When mom went to the pharmacy, I could always get extra things I wouldn't normally be allowed. I didn't actually read comic books as a child, but whenever I was sick, mom would buy me an Archie comic book or two. I'm pretty sure I was allowed sweets and magazines too.
It's not hard to see why I would develop such a positive association with sickness, although I'm sure I would feel differently about it if I'd ever been seriously ill.
Nowadays, I'm less curious about what the world is like when I'm not at work. I know what it looks like, it's called being unemployed, and it's no fun.
There just aren't as many advantages to being sick as an adult. The work piles up, the television isn't that interesting and all your plans get cancelled because you can't get off the couch. And if you don't have a partner or someone to take care of you, it can all become a bit depressing.
But there are still a few things I secretly enjoy about sick days. Definitely the best part is being taken care of, and I'm lucky to have that covered.
It can also be a relief to pull yourself out of your life for a few days to gain some perspective, especially if you have a high stress job. It can be healthy to see that the world doesn't fall apart if you aren't in it for two days (while at the same time, reminding your colleagues how much they need you).
But, as they say, be careful what you wish for. I would never wish to be sick and out of work for a long period of time and I'm grateful that I haven't been. Having the ability to work and being employed in a full-time job are two things I cherish.
Peeking into the world outside of work might be fun for a few days, but I'm always glad to be back at work in the end.
Shukan ST: October 1, 2010
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