I Got COVID. Again. How Do My Lessons Hold Up?

Don’t ask me how. Don’t ask me why. I live in a country where masks are mandated, I’m been vaccinated and boosted, and I don’t really go out other than to do the groceries, run, or walk the dog.

But that doesn’t matter. I tested positive once more. Thankfully, the symptoms don’t seem as wild this time—just a terrible sore throat and a cough.

Which means it’s the perfect time to revisit an old post of mine to take stock of what I think this time around.

Do I still think the previous lessons apply?

It’s interesting how my mind goes through the same thoughts as when I was proper sick last time. The first being how easily these inconveniences can derail your plans.

Admittedly, I’m doing a much better job at maintaining my ‘write and exercise every day’ routine, because I’m not curled on the sofa shivering half to death, but I still feel susceptible to using my sickness as an excuse.

Oh, I have two lines on my test kit? Better not write then, even though I feel relatively fine. Scumbag brain.

Secondly, unearned recreation still sucks. I have to admit, the first day I tested positive, I ended up glued to the TV and phone. Thankfully, I got over that real quick.

Not making good use of my day sucks. As a pro procrastinator, that’s something even I find hard to admit. Maybe my mind’s just going meta. Maybe it’s starting to feel bored about being stimulated all the time. That’s some Inception shit right there.

Finally, that part about not comparing myself with anyone else (even myself) still applies. My output has understandably dropped when compared to my healthy days, and that only serves as a reminder that we all have our ups and downs, even without falling sick.

Any new lessons?

Oh, yes. Besides being the master of pulling ‘lessons’ out of my butt, I’ve found that the boredom from isolation does help me write more. And so here are my observations for this round of falling sick.

1. You determine your own meaning

I could very easily succumb to the fatigue that comes with my immune system clocking in to its day job. But that’s just the brain trying to find any excuse it can to give up.

Didn’t get enough sleep? Maybe I should take it easy. Don’t have a keyboard? Guess I can’t write. Family’s here to visit? There goes my healthy-eating schedule.

I find it funny that we can make serious promises to others, yet we don’t do the same for ourselves, towards our life purpose. “Through thick and thin, in sickness and in health…”

Those words convey a meaning that we’ve made up. Can’t we make up our own meaning for our own pursuits, then? I believe we can.

2. Sometimes it’s not about me

I don’t like wearing a mask at home, or going through the trouble of separating our cutlery, using different sinks or sleeping on the couch.

But I could very well infect my partner Len, and she could in turn infect her parents who currently have their own healthy issues, and who knows what’ll happen next?

Sometimes it’s not just about what I want. Sometimes I’m reminded that my job here is to better the lives of those around me.

That could mean forgoing my interest in pens in place of my future child’s education fund, or forgoing the freelance life for a stable income just so I can better take care of my loved ones.

It may not sound sexy, but it beats the sex and drugs lifestyle for sure.

3. We need to be our best company

The only person that’s going to spend your entire life with you is you. So it makes sense to learn to love your own company.

Because there’ll be times when your mind is all you’ll have. And you best be friends with it long before then.

Falling sick (again) has reminded me that I need to constantly foster a good relationship with myself. So that when I’ll need to spend entire days cooped up with that sucker, I’ll at least have someone who enjoys my presence.

4. Busyness isn’t purpose

My day typically consists of me flitting from one task to another. It’s my morning routine, then it’s work, working out, doing the chores, then pursuing my random hobbies like sketching or writing pen-pal letters.

Getting sick has a way of making you rethink your daily activities, because you have to be a lot more selfish with your energy when the supply drops.

A healthy body is a healthy mind, and a healthy mind can do a heck of a lot more than an ailing mind can. But sometimes it takes an ailing mind to highlight which parts of life means the most to you.

Sure, I’d love to be productive and do all the things, but having limited energy has only solidified one of my life’s biggest non-negotiables, and that’s to write.

5. There’s always a silver lining

Always. Can’t find a job? That means I can finally focus on my creative work. Quarantined in the living room? That gives me more time to reorganise the space like I wanted to. Got reinfected with COVID and don’t know when I’ll be well? I get to write another blog post and possibly inspire others.

I’ve learned that it’s not a matter of ‘if’. Life will hand us lemons. So we best have all our lemon-based recipes ready, because lemonade is so 1920s.

And you know what’s cooler? The more you train yourself to see the positives, the easier it becomes. Those are the exact muscles that gratitude journalling helps train too.

A great reminder

I guess the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from this is that I’m never truly in control. I could take all the precautions in the world and still get reinfected.

Similarly, I could strive for something with everything I have and still come up short. And this recent tangle with COVID has taught me that it’s okay.

Because we’re all going to die in the end.


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119 thoughts on “I Got COVID. Again. How Do My Lessons Hold Up?

  1. I’m late seeing this so hopefully you’re on the mend now! I’m so sorry that you caught it again. I hope you’ve been successful at keeping your partner and her parents from it. ❤️

    • Partner wasn’t so lucky, and she was floored. I myself got through it within a week. Maybe being pre-infected did help the immune system with its job. Thankfully, the spread hasn’t reached my partner’s parents though. Thanks so much for the lovely support, LaShelle!

  2. Covid test are also positive on ordinary summer flu also as on Covid. It doesn’t mean it is really Covid but fir a Government it is Covid so you are in isolation. Fears can make you weak. Treat it as a flu so be strong. I have a real bed Delta Covid before several months, alone at home. Hard was going to toilet, dizziness, breeding was a problem, pneumonia, I was sleeping next to window fresh winter aur 24/7 all time truu 3 months, blankets to cover my body, no higher, just temperature little than normal I had. Sour ugly throat, I needed to drink a medicine for that, pure propolis and honey, I couldn’t eat, just instant soup and tea, orange and lemon juice. After death goes, I order a food from a restaurant, I am living alone so cleaning and preparing a food was a problem, I was too tired all the time. And after. Family left a food outside my apartment. I lost 10 kilograms. After I recovered I was constantly thirsty and hungry. I was in contact with a priest and friends and they prayed for a me. Covid is something evil. I promised to God “if I survived I will make a confession in a Church” and change my life. It works. I survived. Anyway, how are you now, it seems a week passed now?

    • Wow, that sounds like a crazy ordeal. And living alone? That’s even worse. I’m thankful to have had a partner help out with certain things like ordering food when I was down the first time. Glad to know you survived through all that, and I’m sure it’s made you stronger.

      I myself am fine, since this second time wasn’t as bad. It only took a week before symptoms cleared up, but like you said, it’s isolation for official purposes. I passed it on to my partner though, who had it much worse.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!

  3. Darn sorry you got it again. Seems to be par for the course these days.
    Love your opportunities to flitter from thing to thing Stuart.
    Yeah, we’re not in control of everything.. darn… I always have to shed my batwoman cape and remember.
    ” Just click on the button below so I can start infecting you with awesomeness.”
    This you do so well.. Keep feeling betting Stuart!
    💖💖

    • Yeah, it’s like driving on a highway. You could be the safest driver in the world, but it’s not all that matters, especially if you have drunk drivers around you.

      Here’s to accepting that we can’t control so many things in life, and thanks as always for stopping by, Cindy!

  4. Ugh, so sorry you are sick! Here to interject a bit of devil’s advocate reframing. Instead of thinking of your day as being useless towards your usual goals, maybe think of stillness as a very useful tool towards the goal of recovering quicker. It may not be as flashy on paper, but it’s certainly useful! (I say that while knowing I go absolutely stir crazy when sick, especially when I only feel mildly crummy). Either way, feel better soon!

    • You have just reminded me to always be mindful of how I frame things. This is a great suggestion!

      I’ve always been working on always seeing the silver lining, and seeing rest as a means of moving slow to go fast is a byproduct, but not one that’s easily maintained. Thanks for the reminder! <3

    • Oh definitely. After the first round, I was bracing myself to go through that crap all over again, but my previous infection could’ve lessened the symptoms. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Saya tertular saat gelombang pertama. Butuh 1 bulan saya untuk pulih.

    Setelahnya saya tidak peduli, istirahat cukup dan tidak stress cukup membantu. Tetap sehat teman Jiran ku.

  6. Great blog Stuart and I am sorry to hear that you got COVID again, I pray you get better my friend. Also, I was educated in this blog of yours about the silver lining which is to focus on the creative writing which is what I love doing these days which is writing my Men’s Fashion blogs🔥🔥👏

    • Oh yeah, when one door closes, another opens, so sometimes, downtime is good to open our eyes to other pursuits. Am thankful whenever I see you around. Thanks for visiting!

  7. I’m so very sorry to hear you’re reinfected. What a random disease. You do everything right and – POW! – you get it a second time. I haven’t had it as far as I know, but I’m sure lots of people have had it asymptomatically and never knew. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    • Heck yeah. I see my old teammates sweating it out in a crammed jiu-jitsu gym and they’re doing just fine. Meanwhile I stay home and get reinfected for some reason. Oh well, more immunity for me, I guess. Thanks so much for the support!

  8. This is such a beautiful reflective post. Every paragraph is a memorable quote in itself, like preparing lemon-based recipes. I love your unique voice.
    Everything hits so close to home, especially the part about making serious promises to ourselves and that being deceived into thinking that busyness is purpose.
    Get well soon!

    • The worst part about thinking busyness is purpose is thinking that the lack of it means that we’re not doing enough with our lives. I still need to get out of that mode of thinking, and instead focus on the focus itself. Thanks so much for your kind words, Jennk!

  9. i just recently got covid for the first official time and it was awful. i needed to hear these inspiring words because i realized how far i’ve gotten away from writing. thanks for sharing! i hope you feel better soon.

    • I really don’t envy those who got the more debilitating versions of the virus, because the first time I got it, I was so done, and I think that’s the mild version. Am feeling better now, and thanks for stopping by!

      • I completely agree with you! I know that I had the mild version and still had a rough time but I do not envy the debilitating versions of this virus. I am glad you are doing better. You’re welcome.

  10. Definitely good lessons. I particularly like the first and third lessons. The first one I think is the most important, because once you figure out enough about yourself and your meaning and your purpose then you’ll be able to act and react better, rather than being a leaf in the wind, blowing wherever the currents take you. Finding your purpose will serve as an anchor that no one else can provide. As for the third one, that one is a difficult one, because when you’re in isolation with your own mind as company that can bring up some stuff that needs confronting and it boils down to ignore at your own peril. But the isolation also has a chance of healing, which in turn makes Lesson 1 easier to achieve (and also the other lessons, since a healthy mind makes everything easier).

    I’m probably overthinking these, but aside from that… Lemonade may be the 1920s, but the 1920s was a blast, so I’ll drink to their memory. And I recommend you try some potato soup. It worked miracles for me when I was sick.

    • We have a variant of the potato soup called ABC, which consists of onion, potatoes, and carrots. Very healing for the soul too!

      Oh yeah. Regarding #3, I find that it’s much more prudent to begin the process of befriending ourselves now, so that when isolation strikes, we don’t need to suddenly start from a tough position. Of course, that’s easier said than done, because every day brings opportunity to be distracted. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, JB!

  11. I’m so sorry to hear you’re sick, Stuart!

    Yet you continue to share excellent posts. I appreciate the idea about cultivating a good relationship with the self. Brilliant.

    Take good care, and get well soon!

    • I totally suck at befriending myself, so that’s a constant lesson I have to keep in practice, lol. Thankfully, scheduling these posts for later makes it feel like a time machine, so I’m glad to let you know that I am indeed better. I appreciate your words!

  12. Ah man, sucks to know that you’re down with Covid again. But hey, at least it led to some quality reflection time, and of course, an awesome article. Thanks for this piece, and I hope you get well soon!

  13. The events of this week have taught me same: bad things are bad things because we say so. There’s always a different view.

    Sorry about the second strike. I saw in the comments that you’ve already recovered: that’s awesome.

    And thank you for the new lemon alternative. Lemonade really is so 1920s.

    • Another awesome thing is that I seem to have at least grown some resistance to it, as proven by my partner being KOed by the same variant.

      So yeah, I guess it’s a good training ground for me to look at the silver lining. Thanks for your kind words!

  14. Sorry to hear you got Covid again and gave it to your partner. On the other hand it’s great to see you learned some new lessons to pass onto us. Hope you are both feeling better soon.

    • We’re both much better, thankfully! That’s part of the fun of scheduling posts in advance—by the time you guys read it, you’ll be able to get your updates as well.

      I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your well-wishes! <3

    • Ha, I too am good at making excuses for why I can’t write. Truth be told, it takes so much more effort to do otherwise, and usually it takes reminding myself not to be a hypocrite, lol. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. Well, that blows. At least it hasn’t been as bad the second time around. Plenty of people seem to be getting Covid despite being vaccinated, but thankfully most aren’t getting super sick. One of my neighbors, a guy in his 50s who refused to get vaccinated, has since passed. I suppose that was his right, but I can’t help but think of all the other people his death impacts.

    We will all die in the end, but I want to enjoy the ride while I’m here. I hope you’re back on your feet and questioning why you’re doing this insane amount of running soon.

    • Oh yeah. I assume that my vaccine plus the previous infection has helped alleviate the symptoms this time around, because my partner was FLOORED, shivering under two layers of blankets and jackets and all.

      That’s scary what happened to your neighbour.

      Anyway, thanks so much for the well wishes, Pete!

  16. Hope you are on the way to recovery by now, Stuart.
    I like your takeaway,” I’m never truly in control. I could take all the precautions in the world and still get reinfected. Similarly, I could strive for something with everything I have and still come up short. And this recent tangle with COVID has taught me that it’s okay.”
    True, but strive, we must, always.
    Take care.

    • Oh yeah, am well recovered for sure. We must strive, for sure. Because without that, life becomes pretty meaningless. And there’s only so much grapes and wine you can enjoy before it gets boring. Thanks so much for your words, Chaya!

      • I understand because my husband, daughter and I had a mild bout of covid too and were very annoyed. Trying to find how dare it touch us, vaccinated, boosted, and ultra careful family.
        With a physician son who was knee-deep in saving covid patients in an ICU and keeping us protected! Surprisingly, he too got it after he was on a well earned sabbatical and was not at all amused!!
        But, it happened and though mild, it took the wind out of my sails with fatigue that I had never experienced!
        All was well after a few weeks of rest and positive thinking after the initial indignation at the covid’s audacity! Haha.
        Best wishes, Stuart.

  17. LOL you had me inspired until the very end lol then I spiraled with that sweet reminder of death lol

    Firstly, I am so sorry you got covid, AGAIN! That’s awful but you’re on to something… perspective, as I always say, is everything. It reminds me of my husband’s driving. He always drives with such confidence and I always remind him, it’s not your driving that scares me (although, that’s some of it lol), it’s that we don’t ever have control over how others operate their vehicles so yes, you can drive as safe as you’d like but some asshole is bound to drive like a maniac and I don’t want you to be in the crosshairs of that!

    Anyway, rest up! The fact that you’re sick but also writing daily and posting weekly is amazing!

    • That driving perspective is pretty empowering to me. Because I know I can eat healthy and exercise every day, only to be knocked over by a bus, so yeah, despite our best efforts, life can still happens, but that only gives me more appreciation for the present moment.

      Thanks so much for this wonderful reminder, Jen, and I promise not to send you on a memento mori spiral the next time! :P

  18. I’m so sorry you’re sick again, Stuart. And I want to encourage you to take it easy. I absolutely get those feelings that you’re “wasting time,” but Covid doesn’t play around. It’s wise to rest your mind and your body while you recover. Even if you don’t feel as ill as the last time, we don’t know what’s happening in our bodies and to our immune systems. There’s no shame in resting. I hope you feel all better soon.

  19. Aww no you got the coof again?? I’m glad it’s not as bad. If nothing else, at least it gave you the chance to gift us with more of your unique advice. “Unearned recreation “– that’s a great phase and I know exactly how it feels!

    • Yeah, it may as well be a different variant from person to person. Even my partner and myself (who probably share the same strain) had wildly different symptoms. Fortunately, this post was written when I had light symptoms, and it’s since cleared up after its scheduled publication. Thanks for the lovely support, Michelle!

  20. That’s awful – hope you feel better soon. Getting sick does constantly ring that “we’re not in control” bell which isn’t any fun. Glad you’re continuing to write!

    • Oh yeah. I can maintain as many healthy habits as I want, but if a virus sneaks in, there really is nothing I can do about it, which kinda sucks. Thankfully the symptoms were much lighter this round. And thanks for your lovely support!

  21. When will this miserable time will end?

    I’m lucky that I formed a great friendship with my mind. Growing up as a blind person can be lonely, so it is necessary to do that. But I know that if you put me in complete isolation, with no human contact for years, I’ll snap. But I think that is true for everyone. I’m an introvert, this does not mean I do not need human contact.

    Anyway, I do hope you’ll get better soon.

    • As a fellow introvert, I can totally relate. I have a low battery-life when it comes to social situations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT social interactions. My requirements are kinda low though, lol. Almost hermit level.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your support, Tanish. I appreciate it!

    • Hi Tanish, I do understand your comment. I have several disabilities myself but I have learned to love myself not for what I can’t do, but what I can do. I think we are some of the strongest people around because we have learned to be grateful and not take life for granted. It is hard right now, and just when it seemed that things were improving, cases have gone up again. I hope that you can stay strong. Try to focus on what you can control and on making your life better within that. Maybe you can discover a new musician or podcast to listen to in your free time?

    • Oh yeah. Like Jen’s example, we can drive as carefully as possible, but we can’t control other people from barrelling right through us. And I guess that’s what happened. I got wrecked by the virus again. Thankfully it’s been mild. Thanks so much for your support!

  22. Pingback: I Got COVID Again. How Do My Lessons Hold Up? — Your Friendly Malaysian Writer – sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris

  23. That sucks. I used to get fevers in the winter. I find that I usually get a mild form of sickness. There is a euphoria with it, a feeling of deep love and connection with nature. I also used to live near a sewage treatment plant that they all said was safe. Yeah, right! Many of us would bronchitis at the same time. I always had to work or ride my bicycle while sick.

    • Mild sickness actually does feel somewhat relaxing, doesn’t it? It’s like your body’s cue to rest, and you can totally give yourself permission to.

      Oh wow, that living near a sewage plant doesn’t sound pleasant though. I actually lived near one when I was little too. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

  24. Stuart – the point that resonated with me is the idea that we need to enjoy our own company – love ourselves! It’s difficult to be the best version of ourselves if we don’t. Maybe impossible. I applaud your positive attitude in spite of the virus. Covid sucks and there’s no other way to say it. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • Oh yeah. That’s a lesson I’m trying to adhere to, because it can get pretty tough to love ourselves sometimes. But that’s the most stable foundation upon which to build our best self. Great points you’ve made here. Thanks for stopping by!

  25. Okay. SO funny. That “Inception shit” line nearly had me spit coffee. Love the whole bit about being friends with yourself. And this post in general, so wise. The very end about dying reminded me of JK Studios. Have you watched that too, or is it just a coincidence? Good stuff. Sorry you feel crappy. The lemons another infected blog friend received came in the form of neighbors bringing them food and such. The outpouring of help was way better than 1920s lemonade. :)

    • I’ve not watched JK Studios before, but now I have, and I think I’m going to check out their work now, lol. Thanks for sending me down that rabbit hole!

      Thankfully, I’ve recovered, but my biggest gripe was that I was so going to restart my BJJ practice before I got sick.

      Now I’m a little hesitant, because getting reinfected means it could happen again, and I don’t want the people in my home getting what I bring home.

      Anyway, always appreciate you coming here, Betsy!

      • Ugh, that’s rough. Stinkin’ Covid. Methinks masks and shots are useless. I hope you’re able to get back to BJJ soon, as you know I’m a fan. :)

        Always a pleasure to stop by, Stuart. :)

  26. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this again, Stuart, but you are right – sometimes, our best work really does happen when we can’t do anything else. I know that I’ve been running on three hours sleep before now, woken up and felt completely incapacitated, but then assembled a coherent (and great) 2000-word blog post like it was nothing! Be kind to yourself over the upcoming days, and don’t force yourself to do more than you feel able.

    • Oh yeah. I always have the bright side to look at though. After reading some stories and Reddit AMAs about people being paralysed except for their eyes, I feel that COVID becomes a thing I should be thankful for instead of complain about.

      Just don’t like infecting others and inconveniencing those at home though. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Helen!

      • I do understand Stuart, I try to avoid others who are sick, or if I’m sick myself. Most people do recover from most illnesses just fine but we never know for certain! Take it easy for a few days, and I hope you feel better soon.

  27. Gosh Stu! What a bummer!! But you hang in there ok? I know you’ll pull through. And such insights even when sick. You’re the true writer man! I salute you. Wish I could pull it off like you with the quality posts week after week. Unlike me and my next one later this week that reads and feels so blahhhh…oh well keep on keeping on right? Thanks again Stu…meanwhile rest and recover soon bro!

    • Our posts only feel blah to ourselves. I know because I feel blah about everything I write too, lol. I don’t feel like your posts are blah at all.

      Am recovered well, since this was written when I was sick, and published much later. Thanks for the well wishes, Kelvin!

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