February 12, 2023
Alternate Title: How Evernote Keeps Me Healthy
I caught a cold last week. A cold! It’s been a while. It’s been over four years since I last had one. I’ve had COVID, of course – just once. But my last non-COVID sickness was in December of 2018. And yes, I keep track.
Normally I wouldn’t have even recorded this one. It was very mild with no fever. I did not miss work, though I did wear a mask. It did not feel like COVID, but I took four tests just to make sure. I’m not complaining. It was just a mild inconvenience, but it’s been so long since I’ve had anything like it, it’s going into the record!
I don’t get sick very often. Part of it is making sure I get enough rest – at least six hours of sleep at night. And part of it, at least in my head, is not letting down too fast. Most of the times that I get sick, I have quickly transitioned from a very stressful existence into a very laid back one. And going from one extreme to the other is not good for me. My body fights back and says, “We’re going from 120 MPH to 5? You’re going to pay for that!” It’s one of the reasons I like to play hard on weekends and on vacations. Going from 120 in fast-moving traffic to 60 on an open highway is way better than going to 5 or 0. It helps me stay healthy.
I also believe that my attitude towards getting sick matters. Simply put, I fight it. When I feel it coming on, I tell myself that it’s not going to get me. I adopt Jedi mind tricks like the ones Obi Wan Kenobi used, saying to myself, “This is not the cold you are looking for.”
I have shared my thoughts on fighting off colds with my work colleagues. To put it mildly, it’s not something that has been widely embraced. However, they may have taken a bit of pleasure in calling me mentally weak when I did come down with a cold. They were laughing with me. I think?
I asked my newest and 17th-smartest friend, ChatGPT, about what they thought about my theory. After 1.5 seconds, I got these statements:
- Studies have shown that maintaining a positive outlook and using willpower to regulate behavior and emotions can have positive effects on overall health and well-being, including fighting off illness.
- Evidence suggests that individuals with a positive outlook and high levels of self-esteem have stronger immune systems, which can help them fight off illness.
That being said, I know all too well that bad things happen to good people. There are no guarantees in this life. I have lost many family members and friends to cancer and illnesses, even when they did everything right and had the best possible attitude, so before you yell it at me . . . I know. Life holds no guarantees. I’m just doing the best I can, and for me, fighting back helps my mindset. And so does keeping track of my colds.
How do I keep track? Evernote. When Evernote came out back in 2008, I was one of the early adopters. For the last fifteen years, I’ve been a bit of an Evernote evangelist. Some might say I’m an obnoxious Evernote evangelist. The tie in the picture above is the Evernote logo. My sister Martha was out visiting a few years ago and she observed, “Mike – it seems like all you ever talk about is Evernote, Big Green Eggs, and principalchef.com. It’s kind of interesting, but you need to diversify.” Agree to disagree, Martha – I really don’t see a complaint there. Those are three very compelling topics of conversation!
If you don’t know what Evernote is, it’s a note taking and note keeping app. You can jot down ideas, add pictures, add videos, scan receipts and documents, and more. It has been one of the most important elements of my practically paperless existence. All of my tax files are in it, as well as nice notes that I receive (I don’t save the mean ones!), and so many memories. When there’s a good quote on one of our bike trips, my friends know that it’s going into Evernote. And the best part is, I can find a memory I’m looking for pretty easily. When I want to locate a picture or a story or something quickly, I type in a few descriptive words, and people say, “How did you find that picture so quickly?” I remain a big, big, big fan.
So I have a note that lists every time I’ve succumbed to a cold since 2008. And because keeping track of my colds has been so helpful to me, I decided to do the same for Jill and Dawson. So whenever they would get a cold that kept them away from work or school, I would put their newest illness into Evernote and helpfully let them know how long it had been since they were last ill. I might have mentioned to both of them a few times (maybe more than a few times) that they were catching colds way more often than I was, and I might have used those opportunities to offer advice on diet, sunshine, exercise, and attitude. Let’s just say that, once again, it was not received with the good wishes that were intended. In fact, both of them eventually told me, rather emphatically, to JUST STOP IT. So I did. I still have the old Evernote files with their colds, but I won’t even look at them any more. Probably.
In the meantime, why did I get this cold? None of us caught a cold or the flu for so long during the pandemic for a variety of reasons – first and foremost is that we abandoned all things social. But we also practiced such good hygiene – washing and/or sanitizing our hands constantly, covering our coughs, keeping our distance. I am all in for our resocializations since the pandemic. We are social beings, and we thrive on being around others. So, I’m grateful for all of my human interactions and I plan on keeping them, but I’m going to go back to the hand washing/sanitizing-way-more-often-than-usual thing. I’m not going to channel the 7-year-old me and fight or fake all directives to wash hands and brush teeth. Sorry, Mom and Dad, you were right about that, too. When I’m sick but not sick enough to miss work, I’m wearing a mask when I’m around others. And I’m wearing a mask to protect me on airline flights. All my choices, and I’m very good with them.
And, just for the record, when it comes to real colds/flus that totally knock me out, it’s been well over four years, and still counting. I’m staying positive.
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