The cold and flu season is in full swing, and my family and I are in the thick of it. My daughter has ear infections in both ears, I have a sinus infection, my son is coughing and sniffling, and my wife is congested but is limited in the medicines she can take because she is pregnant. Last week we battled through our sickness together, and although we missed some school and work, we didn’t really rest that much. We had things to do , and we did them. We were productive, even when we needed rest the most. I think that this is pretty common, and it represents a larger problem than just the rampant spread of colds and the flu.
We are not a culture that rests. Rest is something that we say that we value, but we don’t seem to do a very good job practicing it. The flu is a major problem in the work force, and rather than frown on the person that comes to work and spreads it around, we seem to admire that person for their grit and dedication to the job.
We, as a society, suffer from terminal individualism. We are convinced that the work force is just not the same without us, that if we aren’t around, there is somehow a tremendous strain on the rest of the work force. There may be difficulty in a work place if one person is carrying much of the work load, but that speaks more to the dysfunction of the work place than the importance of the overachiever. There is a sickness among us, and it spreads farther and wider as we sacrifice rest for productivity and push ourselves past our limits.
The cold and flu season has a grip on us, but our sickness runs deeper. We suffer from our own self-importance, and if left untreated, it will surely spread to the level of pandemic.