This time last year, I hurried out to buy the regular flu vaccination as soon as it was available. I found it in my refrigerator in June. When I threw it out I told myself “good luck that I never used it” – but that’s only because I was lucky enough to pass winter without getting ill.
Forgetfulness was not the reason I didn’t get the shot, nor was fear of needles. Fear of side effects from the vaccination was.
Now I’m not against vaccines at all. On the contrary, I think the parents who don’t get their children the “classic” shots are irresponsible. I did however spend several months constantly nauseous and generally “off” after a hepatitis B vaccination. Since then, I haven’t been as “shot-popping” as I once was. I do the strict minimum.
This year I didn’t even bother to buy the regular flu shot when it came out. But now I’m asking myself if I should get the H1N1 flu shot. And even more important: should my son get it? Is it wrong to do it – or not to do it?
In France (where I live) parts of the population considered “at risk” were offered to get the shot this week. Of the people I know, some have done it, others haven’t. None of those who asked their doctor “should I get the vaccination?” got a clear answer.
When French medical workers were offered the N1H1 flu shot the week before, only 10% got vaccinated. Is it any wonder why 76% of the French population say they’re not getting the shot either?
As for me, well I still haven’t made up my mind. People often criticise the police state side of society. But in this case, I’d really like someone to take over – and take the responsibility if the wrong choice is taken…
Some days gloominess takes over without any apparent reason. You get invaded by this nagging feeling of emptiness and despair. Well I do anyway. It’s like my heart becomes heavier and I get drained of everything positive. Experts tell you to take a walk or go running when you’re feeling down and out, but I don’t buy that. Maybe because I know that after 2 minutes of running I feel dizzy and want to throw up (or maybe simply because I’m too lazy to try the exercise option).
No, when I have an acute case of gloom, I emphasize the mood (once you hit rock-bottom, the only way is up, right?). This can be done by listening to heartbreaking songs (country music is a good bet), watching weepy movies (think “Tears of endearment” or “Steel Magnolias”) or just going to bed and eating tons of chocolate, which in time will make you feel both sick and sad (about your total lack of willpower).
Recently however, I’ve found a new – and much better – antidote to gloominess:Glee, the TV-show. It appeals to my inner girly if-I-could-sing-I’d-do-this self. It makes me laugh – and sometimes cry (which, let’s be honest, is necessary when you’re feeling blue). Sometimes it even gets me so on top that I (briefly) want to dance around and clean the house. It’s delightful. Gleeful. Gloom-lifting.
Of course, even more so if it’s watched in bed, chocolate in hand…
When I was young (and I realise that writing that makes me officially old), I wore an antinuclear badge and an Amnesty International badge. All other “views” of mine were confined in my diary: lyrics, quotations and sayings like “a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”.
I was against clothes “labels” and deliberately avoided them. The only time I recall ever buying a “label” it was a Benetton sweater. At the time I had a friend who swore that it was an absolute necessity to possess one and I listened to her. Luckily for me, it was one of the only times I took her advice or I might have turned out a whole lot different…
When I look at teenagers today I’m constantly amazed by the way they’re “labelled”. Some of them are wearing clothes and shoes that could pay my rent for several months. And the “badges” they sport often leave me unsettled. Today alone I saw a girl with a badge saying “ “Bad bitch”, another with a t-shirt saying “I’m a slut but not yours” and yet another who had written “I can get no satisfaction” in big black letters across her schoolbag (she was French and obviously didn’t know the real title of the song). Beside her, there was a guy wearing a t-shirt saying “I’m a pussy eater”…
I get to study young specimens every day on the subway. I notice them because they always seem to spend the whole journey looking at their reflexion in the windows. Teenagers are, by definition, pretty self-centred, but I have no recollection of having been so self-confident when I was that age. I suppose, in a way, it’s positive to have so much self-assurance. But there is no way I can understand why anyone would want to wear shoes that cost the same as a (cheap) laptop or walk around advertising that they’re a slut or a pussy-eater…
Finding excuses starts from a very young age. My son has already perfected the art to a point where he can explain quiet convincingly why he can’t: find the laundry basket / tidy his room / do his homework now (basically: because I said so, but of course that’s not how he puts it). I don’t blame him. Making excuses is a honourable attempt to avoid getting told off, especially when you’re a child (or a man, but that’s another story).
As you get older, you start making excuses for others, starting with the guy you’re in love with (who doesn’t call because he: is afraid of committing / has got a lot of work / must spend time with his friends) or want to live with (but who can’t leave his wife because: he still loves her / she’s the mother of his children / a divorce would ruin him / she’s sick, etc., etc.).
I’ve been quiet a good excuse-finder in the “boyfriend area”, but today the only other person I find excuses for is my son. I undertake this so others might see that despite him doing or saying certain “not-so-good” things, he is a wonderful child (it’s just that he’s tired / bored in school / still so young).
I spend much more time finding excuses for myself though. What has changed is that I’m not making all these excuses to avoid getting told off (my parents and friends have long stopped listening to my excuses and tell me off anyway). I’m finding excuses for myself in order to “feel better”. I know this is plain stupid. Because ultimately, no matter how good my excuses are for not doing the things I should, I don’t feel better for not doing them.
So I’m going to try a new experiment: I’m not going to make any more excuses for myself for a month and see where it takes me. Maybe I’ll feel less of a failure – and maybe, just maybe, I might get a few more things done!
There are so many things I’d like to do. Like the things I list every New Years Eve: learn Spanish, do sports, write a book, keep the bathroom clean… I’ve been enumerating the same stuff for over 10 years but just don’t seem to have the “get started – get going” gene it takes to actually do something about it. I have the material I need. I might even have the time. But I obviously don’t have what the French call “la niaque”, the fighter spirit. Where does one get that? I have no idea. I do know however that I have reached a place in my life – and an age – where things, some things at least, have to move in a new direction. Or simply move.
I googled “quotations” and “start” to find some inspiring expression about the “getting started” question, and found this: “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”. It’s by Maria Robinson. I don’t have the slightest idea of who she is, there are a lot of Maria Robinsons on Google. But whoever she is, she’s probably right. So today, right here, I’m getting started… on making a new ending.