Vampy moments in the sunshine


DAY 87

What a relief! I have a vitamin D deficiency.

I’ve spent the past few months feeling ridiculously exhausted, even after marathon twelve hour sleep ins, and erupting into weepy dramatics over kleenex ads. My husband thought it was hysterical to joke about being pregnant. Not so funny if all of your kids have grown up and moved out of home. I love kids. I’m completely fanatical about them, but I don’t want another one full time.

It turns out, after some serious blood tests, that there is a drought in my vitamin D levels.  Hence the wailing and fuzzy brain activity. Underneath of course there are some more sinister consequences. From my research (Googling health sites) I have learnt of a list of dire health issues that start with rickets and finish with heart disease and have plenty in between. None of which is pleasant. Who knew that the seemingly innocent vitamin D was responsible for so much goings on in our bodies right?

Still, not all is lost it seems. Things can be easily fixed. Apparently nobody has died from a vitamin D deficiency – directly that is. My doctor, Kevin, bless him, gave me stern instructions to take a supplement and to make time for sitting in the sunshine exposing my lily white skin for 15 minutes every day. If I do this then things will begin to improve and my risk of, well…getting sicker and more unpredictable emotionally, will be drastically reduced.

Well okay then. This should be simple right?


The sun and I are not really friends. True, apparently vitamin D and I are not friends either, however fifteen minutes and I am usually burnt to a crisp, and not the salt and vinegar kind! I can’t use sunscreen because we red heads tend to have fair and sensitive skin, and I am allergic to all and any creams.

So how exactly do I sit in the sun (or UV rays) for 15 minutes without covering up, sunscreen and not burn or get skin cancer?

While pondering this dilemma  I started  thinking how sometimes, even when we know how much something would be good for us, we do everything we can to find the wriggle room. The grand excuse to get out of it.

Any change can be hard. Large or small.It takes effort. It means we have to give up something we are holding onto and move into the unknown. You would think that giving something up to move onto something better for us would be easy, but apparently it isn’t. We humans are very good at holding onto the very things that make us sick, angry or depressed, even when we are aware enough to know it.

There are some interesting reasons for this.

Even though we may not like where we are, what is happening to us or the situation we are in, at least we are familiar with it. It’s the ‘devil we know’. We think we know how to handle or control it. We tell ourselves that it’s easier to deal with the negative situation we are in than risk making a change. What if we take the risk and we fail?

We also hold on to things, situations, people because they are giving us something. Often we don’t change or move away from pain until there is no other option because we are gaining something significant. Now right here you might be saying, I’m in a horrible situation and there is nothing to gain from this. But think for a minute.

I have a friend who seems to have a crazy life of drama. Every day there seems to be some major crisis with him or a member of his family. It is as if the universe seriously has it in for this person. In turn my friend spends most of his day complaining or talking about what is happening, getting advice from everyone, colleagues and friends, on what to do, and garnering support to deal with the latest crisis.

Even though his life seems to be a mess, and I am sure he is not very happy at all with his situation, he is getting plenty of significance.

He is the centre of his whirlwind life. His relationships rely on him being both the victim of circumstance and the bearer or martyr of his families on going drama. It’s his jet fuel. Why would he change?

Change not only takes passion – beyond what is in our head. It takes being self aware; being honest with yourself about what you are holding onto. What are you gaining from the situation you are in?

Then it’s about being courageous and letting go. Taking the magical risk and move towards the unknown; the dream, the healthy you, the drama-less life.

What does this have to do with my vitamin D deficiency?

Well this morning I decided to let go of my reputation for being the family vampire (sun disliker) and all of the significance I have attached to it over the many years. I dragged a chair out into the back yard along with my ipad. I also took my husband…because this little vampire loves company. And I sat in the sunshine with everything covered but my forearms. These of course were exposed dutifully to the sun.

Hmmm. I looked up at the deep blue sky. The world buzzed around us as we read. Our dog slept under our chairs in the shade. A jet flew over our house. Birds called to each other across the neighbourhood.


I breathed in the smells of our garden and felt oddly connected to the world. Fifteen minutes and I was not only still alive and building my vitamin D reserves, I was really enjoying being outside and hanging out with my husband in the sunshine.

Wow! Who knew right?

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
― John GreenPaper Towns


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