Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Every Breath That I Take

I know, I know. It's an old story. We never seem to appreciate the good things we have until they're gone.

This comes up in many ways. A person who's value isn't appreciated until they go on vacation, a store we don't realize we like so much until they've closed down, a product we expected to find in the store until it lost its hechsher. The list goes on. And on.

But one place where this phenomenon sticks out more than any other is in the area of breathing and the common cold. About 95% of my mornings start out the same way; I wake up, contemplate calling in sick to work, decide that being tired doesn't qualify as sick, get out of bed... I won't bore you with the details of my morning, but I assure you that nowhere in my morning routine is there a time slot for "think about my breathing."

And then it happens. I catch a cold. A common cold, as they call it. And then I wake up, wondering why I can't breathe. My mad dash for a tissue is accompanied by runny eyes and a runnier nose. And, being the non-morning person that I am, it takes me a couple of minutes to process the difference. I can't breathe. Not like I usually do.

And each time I get a cold, this goes on for a couple of days. I cant breathe. This is weird. Wow, I normally breathe without thinking about it? And then, inevitably, there is the morning where I wake up with a clear nose, clear eyes, and I don't need to put my face up to the light to make myself sneeze. "One second," I think to myself. "Something is different."

And then it hits me. For a change, I am thinking about how easy it is for me to breathe. And I like it this way. I think I should do it more often. It's kind of nice, thinking about what I have, instead of what is missing.


Mystery Woman said...

Ok...I'm going to totally miss the point here...but you really should try Afrin. It's a nasal spray...and for 12 hours, you totally forget you ever had a cold. You can go to sleep, and breathe through your nose.
But then you don't get that whole perspective thing. So you gotta weigh it, I guess. :)

Primum Non Nocere said...

Thanks for sharing! I once ran a tefiloh workshop for some foreign, unaffiliated Jewish teens and had them run through the thought exercise of how much money they would accept from Bill Gates in exchange for losing one arm... both arms...or both arms and legs. By the time we had reduced them (in the thought experiment only) to quadriplegics, the teens were unwilling to accept any amount of money for such a condition. It was at that point that I asked when was the last time they felt grateful for having arms and legs, which they had just valued as absolutely priceless...worth more to them than a Lamborghini. As you said, we take for granted what we have.

Primum Non Nocere: General Lee and Shidduchim

Mushkie said...

Wow, nice thought. Thanks for giving me that perspective - and the memory of winter on a shmoiling hot day :)

aminspiration said...

Here is my post..when i finally realized how important breathing is