This week I have been ill. So ill. I had to take three days off work – three days! I have been feeling very sorry for myself indeed. After countless naps, energy drinks, dry toast and bagels, and a much needed shower, I am sort of on the mend... *clutches hot water bottle*
In between all the confusion that come with being ill, I managed to squeeze in quite a bit of daytime TV. I used to love watching This Morning and Jeremy Kyle when I was at university, and when I was looking for a job afterwards. It was entertaining, and somewhat therapeutic – filling in job applications, writing blog posts and emailing potential employers while listening to Holly and Phil natter in the background. But something has changed.
Maybe it's me, maybe I've caught the full time work bug, maybe I really am a grown up now (ahhhh!) or maybe being ill just sucks the fun out of everything, but daytime TV has lost its easy watching appeal, and I only realised it this week when I was whinging all over Twitter about how much I missed food and needed someone to bring me Coca Cola. However, this boredom and disinterest in "reality" TV pressed me to think about why I ever watched it in the first place. It was then that I realised a few things...
- I have a job. When everyone throughout school and uni warned there would be nothing for my generation, I finished uni and got a job. I'm on the "career ladder" or whatever it is they call it. I guess all the stress of exams and coursework was worth something.
- I have a strong, loving family who have and never will betray me or hurt me. They will always be my family and they may not be my friends but that's not exactly how family always works anyway.
- Happiness isn't intrinsically reliant on money or experiences. The relationships with the people in your life are what glue all the pieces together. I might not be exactly where I want to be in my life right now, but I have everyone I need – no one has died or is seriously ill – and I am fortunate enough not to have experienced the death of a close loved one. Surrounding yourself with positive people makes for a positive outlook.
- Being ill isn't fun. No one wants to be at home while everyone else is at work. As human beings we like to be where there are people – where everyone else is. It's solidarity – togetherness. A television screen shows images and sound and makes it appear like there are people with you, keeping you company, but it's robotic and, at times, hypnotic, however engaging, however persuasive it may be.
- No one wants to be out of a job and relying on benefits to pay the bills, feed families and just to live. No matter what you think, no one wants that kind of life.
- A cliche, but one worth reminding ourselves of as often as possible – life is short, precious and unpredictable.
At the end of the week I was glad I had just had a stomach bug. The things I had seen on daytime TV – arms being ripped off by sharks, children dying, murders, missing people – all seemed unbearably horrific. It made me thankful for what I have.