This has undoubtedly been a trying week for me; for those of you who follow me on twitter, you know I’ve been battling an unusually terrible case of tonsillitis. When I say unusually terrible, I mean it—my tonsils were swollen so large that they essentially caused a tear in my eardrum, which, in turn, caused a particularly interesting case of vertigo—this is the kind of sickness that forced me to visit the hospital twice and the ENT in a three-day period. While I was doing everything within my power to get better and still carry on with my life as best I could, there were two things I realized and I will never forget.
I am human.
I can’t put unreasonable expectations on myself when I’m sick [and I probably shouldn’t be so hard on myself ALL the time either]. These expectations include still making the trek into the office because (1) I don’t want to be the person everybody hates for coming into the office sick, (2) My team kicks ass, they can keep on keepin’ on without me for a few days, and (3) I’ll never be able to produce quality work when all I can think about is a hot toddy and fat slobbing it on my couch in front of the Roku. Also included in these expectations is maintaining a healthy [paleo-ish] lifestyle, exercising and keeping my house clean. It’s okay to give in and rest until the ickle is over.
I am loved.
I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful I felt when people from all over the world started sending me well wishes on Twitter. A ginormous thank you to everyone who sent me get better notes and an even bigger thank you to Will, who
offered threatened to drive all the way from BHM to ATL to take me to the emergency room [you’re crazy].
When the vertigo hit the hardest on Wednesday night, I wasn’t able to walk in a straight line; I was smashing into things and my world seemed to be moving when I knew I was completely still. Never experienced it? Imagine that feeling where you’ve had about three drinks too many and you finally lay down to sleep, but every time you close your eyes the room starts spinning and you can’t stand to keep your eyes closed a second longer [Mom and Dad: I have no personal experience in this area, this is just what I’ve seen in movies and read about on the internet]. I’ve had bad cases of tonsillitis in the past, but I’ve never been frightened by how my body was reacting like this.
I know you’re all wondering, ‘but Jack, what did you do?’ and I’m not ashamed to tell you, I did what every almost-30-year-old-woman does, I called my parents and I texted my best friend. Whitney was at my side within the hour and my parents showed up shortly after. After a failed attempt to get me to go to the ER, my parents took Autumn so I wouldn’t have to walk her alone with my dizzy spells. They also stocked my pantry, freezer and refrigerator with tons of junk food, lots of gluten and Arby’s. Whit stayed with me until I went to bed. I couldn’t ask for more loving and caring people.
When I finally made it into the office yesterday, two managers in my group stopped me in the hall to see how I was feeling and to tell me I had crossed their minds during the lecture at Creative Mornings. The speaker told a story about a colleague who was always happy to see him even if this person saw him two hours prior. He said this person’s reaction made his day every time it happened and these two managers both thought of me during that story because I’m ‘the one in the office that is always excited to see people.’ This is true. I am genuinely thrilled to see people around the office; I cheer for my developers when we pass each other, I high five QA and I leave silly notes [and sometimes glitter] on desks.
These people are my heroes.
These people I just mentioned are the people we need to be celebrating and lifting up, not the Justin Biebers [ahem…#teamselena], Kim Kardashians and Housewives of X of this world. The people who make you and your life a priority are the ones you should be admiring. Those who are willing to volunteer their time to sit in traffic just to bring you ice cream, who will blow off cuddling with that special someone to meet you for dinner and the ones who are too far away to help, but are willing to drop everything for you no matter the impact it has on their lives [like answer your silly questions about New York City or be the first person to jump up and protect you from that guy who broke your heart last summer].
Before last night I never thought of heroes as the people I know, love and interact with in my everyday life but I’ll be better at recognizing them now. And I will make certain they know it. I challenge you to do the same.