When I was little, I was the master of faking sick. Sometimes it was just an exaggeration. I was a little bit under the weather, still well enough to go to school, but watching movies in the “big bed” (my parents’ room) seemed like a much better plan. So I’d look extra sad/sleepy/pathetic when telling my mom I wasn’t feeling well. Sometimes it was because middle school was difficult socially and I needed a mental health day. Luckily, I was blessed with abnormally large tonsils and decent enough acting skills to make it seem like maybe they were more swollen than usual. Plus I was a good student so my “I don’t know, I really shouldn’t skip [insert test/project/presentation] today” protests worked like a charm. Sorry mom, you got played! I was a pro!
Now as an adult, I have complete control over whether I go to work or not. Well…as much control as you can have when you want to continue to have work to go to. But still, it would be SO easy to fake sick. I don’t even have to put on an act. I can just send an email! So how is it that the thing I fake is being healthy?! It’s an 9 step process.
1. You start to feel a little run down, but you’re not sick enough to justify skipping work. So you get an extra large coffee and ignore it.
2. You have dinner plans you don’t want to cancel. So you just drink one glass of wine.
3. It’s the weekend and you have tickets to an event so you sleep in, take a little cold medicine, and tough it out.
4. You promised your BFF drinks on Saturday night. You promise yourself you’ll just have one glass of wine. Instead, you split the bottle between you. But it’s okay. Alcohol kills germs, right?
5. You’re training for a half marathon so you go for a 10 mile run on a Sunday even though you know you shouldn’t. Then you rest all afternoon. You call this progress: you’re resting!
6. It’s the work week again and you feel guilty staying home when you did so much all weekend.
[Side note: It is a major #kidding fail that I follow the no work, no extracurriculars rule (and vice versa). I once tried to get my mom to take me to a horseback riding lesson after spending the night in the ER. I was delighted that they were discharging me around the same time school got out. We could totally get to the barn by 3:30! Mom did not agree.]
7. You finally admit defeat and stay home. But it ends up being more of a work-from-home day than a sick day.
8. You return to the office armed with much better cold meds (the kind they keep behind the counter) and you’re pretty sure you can make it through the day, and happy hour, and a bottle of wine at dinner….
9. And finally, after a full week of this nonsense, your body screams “ENOUGH” and you sleep for 12 hours straight.
Faking healthy is really just a competition with your body. I can win the short game and make it through a week of faking it. But (luckily) my body plays the long game. And eventually it finds a way to stop me in my tracks. But given the number of times we’ve repeated what I just outlined above, I’m starting to doubt that I will ever master that whole #adulting thing.