In Illness, Women Icons a Welcome

I got sick at the end of May on my birthday no less, and it wasn’t a tragedy, with the exception of how awful I felt. Nevertheless, I had no choice but to stay at home all weekend and park in front of my TV and recuperate. I was a captive audience, and, well, here are just some highlights:

Gloria Steinem on Oprah’s OWN: I’ve had conflicted feelings with both women, but perhaps as I get older, I’m more forgiving and perceive them more as women of wisdom. In the broadcast, they both appeared at the all-women Barnard College in New York City to discuss their successes, trials and hopes for the younger generation of women. In the 1990s when Oprah was peaking, the catch phrase was finding one’s own voice.  Twenty years later, mine is still a work in progress that is shifting with every experience and my own longevity. Steinem later regrets forgetting to tell the students how their expectations may have to change over time and encourages having more than one career, among others things, in a lifetime. I could certainly vouch for that advice, since my thirties were largely an exploration of where I want to eventually land.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee: By contrast, here’s a woman so steadfast that she has stuck around one workplace for 60 years. But the most fascinating thing about this was Sunday on the Thames with 1,000 flotillas, where revelers, the queen included, braved the deluge and cold gray London weather to fete the ruling monarch. It was pretty much a display of deliriously happy Londoners who no doubt would eventually succumb to an illness worse than mine. I felt complete simpatico. The best part was the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s serenade alongside the Queen’s royal barge. Such British anthems as “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Rule Britannia” known throughout the UK, which I was only familiar by ear, were played and sung by an intrepid thoroughly drenched choir, who probably won’t get out of bed for weeks. The queen hung tough, standing for about two hours throughout the celebration.

It’s said your body has a way of telling you something, perhaps to hold up and have a listen, this is important. I’m rationalizing now, but I guess being sick was a way of getting me to slow down, look at the lay of the land, and assess where I am, especially if I’m going on a less-than-desirable path. Maybe I’m taking my work situation too seriously, and maybe I don’t have to do everything that I want to do in a week, like I’m stuffing a sausage. At this point, the valuable lesson I learned is the quality of life supersedes most things, and it’s nice to be reminded of it in the company of this sisterhood.