A feel-good list (for those very sick days)

These days I generally feel very good, but as I go through some of these medical treatments they can make me feel pretty miserable, especially when combined with the effects of the MCAS. During times like that I usually just meditate in bed or in a recliner, generally not thinking about anything, just breathing, letting the inside and outside become one. I do this almost all of the time.

But other times when I can’t do that for one reason or another, I started to create a little “feel good” list to reflect on. This is something that when I’m not feeling well and I can’t meditate, it helps to remind me that life has generally been very good to me. I think about various things, all of the favorite times I’ve had in my life, meeting my wife, playing baseball, all of the dogs, good vacations, fun with friends, etc.

One thing I hadn’t thought about in a long time that came to mind recently was that when I was 32 years old I worked for a company I called the Evil Empire, and something good happened on my last day there. (That wasn’t their real name, but some of the owners of that company inspired me to give it that name.)

The good/ego-boosting thing that happened then is that two young women at the company voted me as the guy that they most wanted to go out with, even though I was already married.

The way it happened was that on the last day I worked at the Evil Empire, one of the young women came into my office and told me about their poll. Actually, what she did was walk into my office, close the door behind her, then sit in a chair on the other side of the desk and look at me without saying anything. This was very unusual — something she had never done before — so when she did this I was a little concerned about what was going on. I had been typing on my computer, and I stopped typing when she closed the door and sat down.

This girl was very nice and very pretty, having been in beauty pageants and worked as a model. She initially joined the company when I was working in England (something else to be grateful for), so I initially only knew her by her voice. Later, after I returned to the U.S., she and I were usually they first two people to arrive in the morning. When I had a class to teach she would usually be making the coffee while I would be setting up the donuts for the students, and we’d chit-chat. I thought of us as friends. As she sat in my office, she told me that she and the other girl had this vote, and that out of 60+ guys that worked at that company at that time, I was the one they most wanted to go out with.

I started to laugh a little bit and I was going to tell her that I was honored by that, but I could see that there was something else she wanted to say; she was very serious. She then told me that she knew I was married, but if there was any way to do it, she would like for us to be together.

I’ll skip the details of our conversation, other than to say that I tried to handle it well, but in retrospect I’m sure I didn’t handle it as well as I should have. I realize now how much she was putting herself out there, that she probably had to muster up some courage to walk into my office, close the door, and say what she did, and I only hope I handled it with a little grace and honor.

As for this part of my feel-good list, I know it’s cheesy and egotistical, but at least it made me smile a little bit one day in 2019 — after a medical procedure made me sick — that at one point in my life, two of the woman I liked most at that company, people I worked with every day and knew me well, thought of me as the guy they most wanted to go out with. Some days, when you’re feeling very sick and your ego needs a boost, little things like this can help release a few endorphins and ease the pain.

Hopefully one part of this ego-boosting story that might be helpful to other people is that when you’re dealing with other people who are very sick — especially people who are probably going to be dying soon — it’s okay to talk to them about good things in their past, it can be a good thing for them to remember the good times they had. I’m not dying atm, but I can say from my own experience that conversations that start with “Remember that time when” can be a good thing. I remember reading about this years ago and I thought it was cheesy, but I can confirm that especially during the worst years — 2014 through early 2017 — having a feel-good list and thinking about those good times made me feel better on my worst days.

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