“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”
“It is never too late to be a child again or perhaps for the very first time. Just let go and be who you were meant to be or who you always wanted to be.
“Never give up until they are shoveling dirt over you. When it is your time, you will leave this world, but nothing says it will be forever. We don’t know what lies on the other side, and all the souls have to go someplace, so why not think about it that way and forget the forever aspect of it all. The world is constantly evolving, and so I know that there is no true end to things; it only happens in our minds. Take this time to make things right in your life. Rebuild fences and be a true friend to everyone you know and love.”
-Anne Copeland, “This is the Way the Earth Rolls.”
I feel we’re all struggling to find hope as the world slowly turns. I love Stuart’s story and advice, and think we also need to keep our hand on the plow.
I watched the morning news but turned away when feelings of hopelessness washed over me as they reported infection rates and death tolls. Isolation is helping end this nightmare, they say, but for any one individual it can sometimes seem an exercise in futility. When a reporter stressed the importance of continuing our social distancing practices, an old memory crossed my mind:
“No.” Ms. Wade shook her head. “Here’s what you’re going to do.” She put her arm around my shoulder. “Keep your hand on the plow and hold on.”
I knew what she meant.
Having grown up around farming and plows I understood the metaphor, but until then I’d never heard anyone describe so succinctly a situation pertaining to myself. Don’t dismay, was her message. Simply continue doing what I’d been doing.
It was early 1980s and I was a twenty-year-old kid working a part-time retail job. Ms. Wade…
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“It would be lovely if the world just handed you things. But alas, it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes a dream job requires real work. Most people pay their dues. Yes, it’s a lot of hours, it’s repetitive, it’s boring, but that’s usually the way to learn. Very few successful people were successful the first time out. They were frustrated, bored, annoyed….feel free to enter in any descriptive word that you want, because everything has good and bad.
“Sometimes you have to give things a shot. Sometimes you need to work. That’s just life.”
-LA, “Laterally Thinking“
“Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.
“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”
-C.S. Boyack, “So it begins“
I’ve been swamped lately. More than usual, I’m afraid.
I …may have taken a bit (a lot) onto my plate -a plate that was a bit (a lot) full to begin with. I believe I did so because I was bored, and/or may have finally had a good night’s sleep.
Besides this lovely blog that I love writing upon and the lovely people whose blog posts I actually do read, I’ve also been attending school. Of sorts. It’s called Pathways, and is like preschool for adults. This quarter (?) is on math (or, maths, for Brits) and has a teensy bit (a lot) of busy work each week.
Add a few life events like almost-everyone’s birthdays, a birthday party, and a baptism this Saturday.
Then sprinkle in a paid job I was doing but (perhaps fortunately) am not any longer.
Plus the children’s school is winding down.
Plus the ever-present duties of house and home (and now yard).
Plus caring for an at-home dice business that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about.
And, just for kicks, throw in a planned visit from our relative who has 8 children….
I’m not actually the Supermom sort. I’m not the Superanything sort; really, I’d settle on an edible chocolate ribbon for Best Example of a Flawed Human Being.
But I’m toast. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Even a bit ill.
I can’t help but look around at other people and wonder how they do it, especially those who work as full time teachers at my kids’ school and have children of their own. I asked one of their Vice Principals that question in jest. She laughed and said her kids tease her for running their house like her classroom.
-But that may be the answer I seek.
So, for reals, how do you run your household? Do you schedule the hours? Minutes? Especially when you have a job and/or children, was it all set up? Outlined? Assigned?
I really do want to know.
I sort of wrote things this week, and here they are:
Wednesday, May 8: Questioned the legitimacy of personality tests and their appeal in “Are We Our Personality Types?”
Thursday, May 9: “The Cure for Depression: Never Give Up, Never Surrender,” the final suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
And posted “Should You Have Kids If You Have a Mental Illness?” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog (now say it ten times fast).
Saturday, May 11: Announced the 25th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an elegy to your most commonly misplaced household item. PLEASE ENTER!
Monday, May 13: An inspirational quote by Mel Robbins.
Tuesday, May 14: Nothing.
Wednesday, May 15: Halfwayish through the month!
I also posted a bit at my motherhood site. I’m pretty sure I need to stop trying to keep that one afloat and have downgraded to a free plan again.
Anyway; I wrote “Take Time for You. Ish” and “Happy Mother’s Day?”
Aw, crap. It’s morning.
Let’s roll out of bed after not sleeping well, glare at our alarm, blame everyone in the world for how terrible we feel, and stalk off to the bathroom to
read our phone get ready.
With a winning morning routine like that nearly every day, why are we confused when the days continue to suck?
Did anyone ever watch The Lego Movie? D’ya remember that Emmett had an instruction book literally subtitled: “The instructions to fit in, have everybody like you, and always be happy!”? We, the viewing audience, laughed as Emmett breathed deeply, greeted the day, ate, exercised, showered, and even said, “Hello,” to all the cat lady’s pets.
In true exciting story form, the film suggested that Emmett’s real, interesting life began once those stupid instructions blew away. Sorry; but this is not how life works.
Life is really long, and we need to want to live it.
Following a routine like Emmett does is not bad. Routine is not a swear word. It’s actually a magic formula, far more magical than Expecto Patronum or even Avada Kedavra. A routine gives us a little, workable guide for getting through our foggy cloud of negativity and hopelessness.
And, you’re following a routine as we speak. It just may not be a good one.
So! *rubs hands together eagerly* Let’s get started on following one that is good. Here’s a sample morning that I threw together:
- Wake up, preferably early.
Yep, we’re starting there. You already blew the early-to-bed thing. Plus, if we start with bedtime, you’ll be like me and procrastinate starting a routine until you can finally get to sleep before midnight -so we’ll get started, like, NEVER.
- Tell yourself you love you.
This is not vain, it’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s good for you; and you are worth it, you beautiful/handsome person.
- Do something active.
If you are following my advice to exercise daily, this may be the time to grab those workout clothes you set right by the bed.
OR, to not stress you out at all, just do a little stretching. L’internet has loads of simple yoga day-greeting moves that only take a few minutes.
- Eat food or get ready for the day.
I am the only woman in a house of males (all family, don’t worry), so I have to get dressed pretty much right away. For you, though, maybe you can slouch over to the toaster in your skivvies. Whatever; just go. Keep moving.
- Whatever you eat, make it healthy.
Healthy also doesn’t need to be a bad word. Toast is healthy, at least compared to a breakfast of peanut M&Ms you found behind the couch cushion when you sat down to read your phone instead of stretching.
- Shower and/or get dressed.
Just do it. Don’t give yourself time to think, What am I getting dressed for? Life is…. Ending that sentence is never a good idea for a depressive mindset. Like I said, keep going.
- Take your meds, if you do that.
I don’t know your dosing schedule, but most are taken after a meal and in the first part of the day.
- Go somewhere.
Yes, to your computer chair to check into a freelance job is “somewhere.” I know that some of us are recluses by choice and/or mental condition. If you can get outside to at least stand on the porch and watch the sun, please do.
Otherwise, I highly recommend getting completely out of the house. Go on a walk, pick up groceries, visit a friend, see a museum, or go to work if you’re employed.
Obviously, this routine is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you decide to pack a lunch in between steps 7 and 8 I won’t leap through your screen and slap you. I mean, you gotta eat lunch, too. I understand.
Still, it’s a good format. Use it like a foundation, something to plagiarize completely for yourself and adjust according to your personal flair.
In terms of the rest of your day, I feel that people’s schedules vary too widely to tailor as much as I did above. If you work, the day’s pretty much planned out for you because you have to do that. If you’re at home, set up activities similar to the morning one.
The main idea is to have assigned tasks; to keep moving.
Depression loves to settle on us like a putrid cloud. We let it. Making life pointless and then dwelling on the pointlessness of life is a vicious circle, but a daily routine will help break you out of that.
Now, if you’re still with me, you may be wondering about a nighttime routine. I mentioned this in a previous article on sleep, so I don’t want to bore anybody. That, and I’ve exceeded my morning routine writing time. If I wait much longer, I’ll finish the rest of the chocolate almonds and will somehow decide to not exercise due to post-sugar crash.
Don’t get caught up in writing the perfect routine. Use mine for now; I gave you permission. As you follow it, you can slowly change to what works better for you and your lifestyle and work schedule.
You can do it, you beautiful/handsome person you.
*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.
Waaaaay back when I worked a full-time job, I had a bit of a power struggle with one of our building’s renters. Our company leased the entire second floor of a two floor building and a few businesses leased the spaces beneath. One of those was an insurance agent.
As far as we could tell, the insurance agent did nothing. He was part of a huge umbrella company, like Allstate. He had no clients and took long lunches.
Yes, most of my team were people-watchers.
The conflict was over parking spaces. He raised a stink with the building manager, saying that he needed x number of spaces for his clients (who were nonexistent). Our rather large body of employees quickly exceeded the bounds of the lot. A few passive-aggressive maneuvers transpired until our manager asked us to respect the whiner’s parking spaces.
One day that was also the first day of my monthly cycle, I came to work feeling terrible. I parked in a no-no spot because, frankly, I did not care. I also parked there because I was certain I’d be asking my boss for the rest of the day off based on how I felt.
Cue a message from the insurance guy, who literally had nothing better to do than spy on his spaces.
Cue my boss sending me a message about how Allstate Junior wanted me to move my car.
Cue my response: Screw the insurance guy.
I got up, moved my car, took pain medications, and worked the rest of the day. Incident forgotten -or so I thought.
Months -YES, MONTHS!- later, our boss quit. A woman named Jadis* took over, since she’d been in no position that should have been promoted but we later learned the whole team was being phased out so the head people at our company really didn’t care.
Jadis decided that she should meet with each of us. She said it was a way to get to know everyone; she probably added some tripe about team unity or whatnot. I didn’t know her very well and entered the meeting in good faith.
How little I knew.
That meeting was the worst I’ve ever had -and I’ve been fired whilst pregnant (another story, another time). Jadis proceeded to tell me that I had a terrible attitude as an employee and that I wasted time. She showed me the message I had sent to our team lead all those months ago. She explained that I would be logging every half hour each day to show I wasn’t wasting company time. She made it clear that I was on thin ice and had better shape up.
I was shocked. Yes, what I had typed about the insurance guy was immature and inappropriate. No one said anything at the time, so I thought it done and over with. Just to be sure, I tracked down our former boss and asked him. I apologized to him. No, he told me, he hadn’t been offended. Yes, he’d completely forgotten it.
Jadis, meanwhile, made my work life hell. No one had any work to do, yet I (alone) had to log my productivity. I made up things like, “verified accuracy of past files,” or “organized workspace.” I even wrote when I used the bathroom or ate lunch.
It was a double slap to the face, considering that one of the other employees had not been clocking out for lunch, had been reported by everyone, and had yet to be reprimanded or fired.
If you’re wondering where I’m going with today’s post, it is here: I think everyone has had a horrible boss or supervisor. I think you all have stories. You may have to give us the truncated version, here, but who was it? What did he or she do? Does the story have a happy ending?
My story does, in a way, but I’ll leave that for another lengthy post. In the meantime, share your dirt. Go on: I promise I won’t make you tell me when you used the bathroom.
After the catharsis of ratting on your terrible employer, read what I did last week:
Wednesday, March 27: A bit of a mind trip in disassociation with “Where IS My Mind?”
Saturday, March 30: Announced the 20th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Springtime Haiku. PLEASE ENTER!
Also posted my answers and nominations for The Mystery Blogger Award.
Monday, April 1: My answers and nominations for The Liebster Award.
Tuesday, April 2: An inspirational quote from a piece by Violet Lentz.
Finally posted “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Eight.”
Wednesday, April 3: Today.
“When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer—no matter how eloquent the oration.”
-Dieter F. Utchdorf, “Two Principles for Any Economy“
That’s it. I’m throwing the gauntlet DOWN.
I want to determine, once and for all, who has it harder: men or women.
Let’s take men first. For this purpose, I have brought in my masculine side. It’s just survived a long weekend with all four boys home from school for a holiday, worked outside in the yard, and done some manly exercises like …girl push-ups.
I say that men have the short end of the stick. Why?
- Men are expected to work for their entire lives. Even in a ‘woke’ society of both sexes working, or just the woman heading out in a business suit, a man is not considered a whole man unless he pulls his own weight.
- The male species cannot feel anything like sadness, vulnerability, or silly joy. Those are weak emotions, symptoms of an insecure or incompetent man.
- They have to deal with, date, and understand women (assuming, for this argument, they bend that way). And not offend any of them. And still be manly.
- Men must initiate relationships. They must often pay for a date. They must read what a woman (for sake of this argument) wants without asking blunt questions (see #3) and without getting accused of harassment and rape later.
- When a man gets sick, he gets mocked. Who cares if he literally feels at death’s door? Let’s kick his pride while it’s convalescing.
- Males are often stinkier. Practically everything sweats, and in large amounts. Thank goodness for deodorant, aftershave and cologne. And windows.
- Men are expected to be good at most things, especially where fixing stuff or sports are concerned. They are also supposed to only be interested in those topics. As before, lack in these areas is a sign of weakness.
- Similarly, a man must be strong. He needs to look fit and be ready to move a couch or a car with his bare hands.
- If a woman feels like it, she may pick on a man. She may slap him, belittle him, and accuse him. He may be strong, but man is not allowed to hit back.
- Even though men spend hardly any time at home (see #1) and are not supposed to get involved in decorating the house (see #7), they must figure out where their tools have been moved to and why a couch (complete with an obscene number of throw pillows) is now where their favorite recliner was.
Women think their life is difficult, but it’s a bed of roses (that match in color, and were complimented on by their hordes of friends) compared to a man’s.
Now, in order to prepare an adequate female defense, I must think more girly. Allow me a few hours on Pinterest ….or not. I’m not the most feminine representative of the female sex, but I’ll try my best.
Women have a harder life, hands-down.
- Periods. Since many men do not understand this sensation: picture a sharp knife inside your lower abdomen that scrapes at your organs. Once a month-ish. Not only that, but you must endure odd hormonal effects like loss of mental capacity and car keys just before the fun starts; plus, blood.
If all of that weren’t enough, people snidely tell you that you’re grumpy because of PMS or that you ought to just “deal with it” when crumpled over a toilet.
- Childbirth. It’s not much of a break from the alternative; especially since menstruation and pregnancy share symptoms like pain, forgetfulness, and grumpiness. Being pregnant is just weird, and delivery is the worst pain many have ever been in. Ever.
- Menopause. Imagine a relief from the #1 issue, that was designed by a drunk engineer who didn’t care how (or if) the machine functioned after it ran the full program.
- If the first three points didn’t win this debate for women, the judges have obviously been bribed. The women recommend that each judge pass a kidney stone before being allowed to vote. -Which leads to a real #4: more health issues because of female organs. One doctor visit for one symptom leads to an overall diagnosis of “because of womanhood.”
- Shopping for women’s clothing is enough headache and cost that they just might need a government-sponsored representative. Seriously. Men get measurements for everything and one name for each color. Women get inaccurate numbers by 2’s and colors like “blue with gray in it” or “gold that may be black.”
- In a traditional home; a woman needs to stay home, take care of the home, raise her children to not be psychopaths, and feel fulfilled doing so.
In non-traditional homes; women need to do all of the above, plus work a job and arrange for childcare …and keep themselves sexy but not too sexy that they’re attracting coworkers.
- Females need to look good. If they buy into the ‘inner beauty’ and ‘be yourself’ crap, they have few dates and few friends. If they, instead; nip, tuck, makeup, inject, smile, style, and flaunt; they get a lot of positive attention.
- A woman is a b*tch if she’s pushy. She’s unfeminine if she (necessarily) picks up any ‘masculine’ slack. Her opinions are emotional ones, and therefore not as valid or as sound as a man’s.
- When a woman takes a younger man, she’s a cougar. If she sleeps around she is a slut. If she dresses attractively and flirts then she is “asking for it.”
- Women are expected to arrange everything around the house to buy some social cred, make friends (to admire the house), and plan fun family or couples outings. They are also expected to not overspend their budget doing this.
Men get ‘that look’ when they come home to a house full of pillows, but say they don’t want to go furniture shopping. They say they have simple needs, then demand that women look good and feel sexy after doing all the laundry. Face it: men hold the power and prestige, and women hold the garbage bag.
In developed countries, the battlefield of the sexes is nearly even. In terms of permanent penalties, however, I feel that women will always have it worse. I’m not looking for compensation (though, some sort of temporary transferal of woman parts might be nice); I’m looking for agreement.
Do you agree? Do you not? Let’s hear your reasons. Don’t be shy; I’m a fair moderator.
While you gather your thoughts and rebuttals, look at what I posted this past week:
Wednesday, March 13: Talked about Dr. Pickell and our ignorant influences in “Do You Know Your Influences?”
Saturday, March 16: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce
Announced the Xth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is verbosity. I haven’t had a lot of entrants, so PLEASE ENTER!
Sunday, March 17: “Crescent Illusions,” a sci-fi response to D. Wallace Peach’s popular prompt.
Monday, March 18: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Six.”
Tuesday, March 19: An inspirational quote by Trent Shelton.
Wednesday, March 20: Today.