Dearest, most loyal blog reader.
The doctor instructed I rest.
And for a good five weeks I spent my days half asleep on the sofa, sitting in the garden and in between having needles drain out the slight bit of blood I have in my little body.
I was on sick leave. This, my dear reader, made me realize we all need a leave, not from work, but from the world.
I was on leave not just at work, but leave from Twitter tweets, from Instagram pictures, Facebook feeds, leave from shopping, and ladies and gentleman, sick leave from the world’s news.
Hibernating has taught me quite a bit.
So many of our illness come from stress, and something us Kurds call ‘kham’ (the definition I can think of here is grief). My people happen to know Mr. Kham a little too well as life hasn’t always been rosy for our people.
I learned ignorance is bliss. Before this sick leave for nights on end I had nightmares of pictures I saw, families I witnessed mourning the loss of their loved ones and children crying. The harsh reality of our world haunted me in my sleep. Then again, in real life we can’t live in blindness, nor can we stay silent against the atrocities we see. Mentally I felt so much at peace not knowing much.
I remember at one point a dear one switched off the Wifi at home when the owner of my favourite teashop in Erbil died. Just so I could sleep that night without finding out. I spent hours on end sitting, observing the birds in my father’s garden. He would tell me about their different personalities while I watched how they ate, how they interact with one another and heard their tweeting. My friend, I heard the tweeting of real birds that flap their wings and fly, not the twitter feed tweeting on my phone.
As much as I was pushing people away- literally! There were individuals who would drop off a plate of dolma, or come by and sit with me in the garden when I couldn’t move a single muscle. I would find surprises behind our entrance door, letters and lots of miss calls (let’s just ignore the fact that more than half were work related!).
I was reminded once again the close people in our life matter. It doesn’t make a difference how many Twitter followers you have, how many Facebook likes you get, or how many people double tap your Instagram picture. You can have four hundred Facebook friends, but when you have no one to ask how you’re doing when you are down and unwell then what’s the use?! I am back now. No longer on leave. But I carry the lessons with me.
- When with people, the phone should be not seen, not heard.
- When at home put the Wifi on, use the internet when needed then turn it back off. The continuous notifications give a sense that it’s the end of the world if one doesn’t see the new comment made.
- Stock up on new books and board games to enjoy. Once there is less internet in your life you realize that 24 hours is actually a lot of time (that is, if you don’t have an 8-5 job).
- Follow the news. But not every minute of every day. You could, and you would love to, but a morning and an evening read suffices.
- Make a solid effort to appreciate and notice the little things- like the new plant in the garden or the flower that has just flourished.
- Finally, our body is the most precious machine. The mind and soul above all; look after them well. Don’t take your good health for granted.
Writing all this makes me wonder: Wouldn’t it be great if we were all able to take a leave from the world every now and then? I feel so many people in Kurdistan need a leave. They need to live stress free days without Kham, days without fearing their or their children’s future, days without hearing news that shatters their heart. The people of my land deserve to be happy. My heart goes out to all the families suffering in Kurdistan right now, in particular those who have lost their loved ones on the front lines to keep our land safe. I feel your pain.
I don’t know how long I will last, but for the time being, I feel much lighter, happier and above all, healthier.
Meanwhile, blogging is back on my ‘to do’ list, and I have some amazing people, places and things to tell you about, so please drop by (with your cup of chai) when you can.
Lots of love
From my nest in Kurdistan