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The Grind. How Can We Escape it and Simplify Life?

I grind my teeth. And, I clench my jaw. I was reminded of this at the dentist last week. But how do I stop from clenching when I feel overwhelmed? I feel overwhelmed this week…and often. As my editor just remarked, “You’re doing too much. Try to take a break from the book, because you’re rushing it.” I was trying to wrap up writing my book, but it isn’t ready to wrap up. That’s the thing about writing a book: it evolves, changes, and you, yourself, can’t predict the turns it takes and even how it ends. It’s not ready, and I can’t force it, even though I need a break. I wanted to check off the box: book complete. Check. Done. But I can’t. I can’t check off many things. The to-do list just continues to grow, or one thing is added as another is completed. I’ve got to stop clenching my teeth about this before I have none left!

These are nice teeth, and not my lips. But I wish I had sugar lips!

So what are things we can take away from our to-do list to simplify? Here are some constants in my life that will never be “done:”

  1. Take care of the kids. I do this six nights a week alone one week, and four nights a week alone the other. There is no getting around it, as they are still in elementary school. I could work on letting them be more independent. For example, I still cut their food and give them baths. Shh, I know. Don’t chastise me! But, I sort of like that they need me. I bring them snacks, clean their rooms, play with them all the time. In short, I create some of this “stress” there. Maybe I can work on that.
  2. Go to work. I can’t change this. We all need a paycheck. And I like my job. But, yeah, it takes up a lot of time and headspace. I think about it when I’m not there, and I check my emails at all hours. I can work on that too.
  3. Walk my dogs: I could hire a dog walker, but why even have the dogs? I LIKE walking them, but it also stresses me out when I haven’t, or when I’m rushing to work, and getting the kids out the door, and they are imploring me to take them on some long walk with their sad, little eyes! I guess I could get up earlier. Oy.
  4. Writing: I want to finish my book. I have 300 pages. I need to finish it. I want to continue to write my blog. I love writing it, and I love reading blogs. I need to make the time, or the quality suffers.

Well, okay. OMG, you know what I left off that constant list? Take care of MYSELF! I just realized that! Self-care. This is something we often forget, right? It takes a back seat, and then I go to the dentist and find my teeth are worn down. Or I cry for no reason when I listen to Piano Lounge music on Spotify while driving. I’m like bawling to some Kate Bush song and thinking, “Wait, why am I crying right now??” This happened yesterday. Then, I realized I think I’m just to freaking busy and overwhelmed.

Sorry to vent. I know we all have a lot of must-dos and should-dos.

I also need to stop apologizing.

But, first, I’ll work on grinding my teeth.

Self-Help, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Working It Out…the “Write” Way

Wow, we are back to remote learning because of the COVID surge. Heeeeeeeeelp! Okay, I have a lot on my plate–and nothing at the same time–because I’m trying to reach some New Year’s goals, like dropping some lbs. and cutting back on my vices (need not be named: trust me, there are a couple). But, now this? OY! How can I work on myself when I have to work at home and with my kids?

Triggers. What are they? I was trying to think of this, when I was wondering how I can achieve my goals. Like, what gets in my way and makes me stressed? Oh, how about HOMESCHOOL!??! Okay, so that’s one. Then, I was like, “Okay, what’s next? What can make me stressed?” Work and kids. Responsibilities. Er, well, those can’t really be removed. Ever. So there you have it.

My entire existence is a trigger.

Remember when we just could be selfish, when we were younger, and worry about what we were going to wear out at night? Or, like, take all day to get ready for a date: workout, eat right, shave off all body hair, use Crest white strips, blow your hair out? Those were good times. Hah! I am kind of laughing. Those, actually, the getting ready for a date days? Those were inherently stressful, particularly if it was a first date. They kind of sucked, in fact. I guess I’m just thinking about when we lay around and had nothing to think about but our own selfish baby issues. Good times.

Honestly, though? I think I was worse off then. Yes, I’m feeling better already as I write this. When I had too much selfish baby time to ruminate, I would spiral and drive myself nuts. I’d snowball everything into a disaster and end up in the bookstore self-help section.

Too much time = a trigger.

So, now that I have zero time, I’m better off. Right?

Yes, I figured it out. I am, INDEED better off now!

See how I worked this all out by writing it down? I think this is a good exercise for all of us, particularly writers. And now I know why people say to journal every day. Okay, so try this for yourselves at home…see how well you do. Let me know.

Uncategorized

When You Quit in a Pandemic, and Hit your Head.

Did you hear the one about the woman who quit her job during a pandemic?! You didn’t? Well, now you have: it’s me! Yeah, no joke, actually. But you know what? Before you go on chastising me and asking me how the hell I will support myself, don’t fret–I got this covered. Momma has been saving, and there’s a reason I’ve been buying Route 66 brand gear at Walmart for a couple years, so now I can take my time to pivot into my next move. And, I will spend the summer finishing my second book about three women living on Cape Cod who end up dating the same man! (Stay tuned)

I know, it’s crazy, right??? Well, I invite you to join me on my journey. The journey has started somewhat roughly, as I hit my forehead on the corner of my car door the other night when I was buying candy for the kids after the beach. Here is what I looked like.

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Oh, and, yes, those are tears in my eyes, because it hurt…like, a lot. I’ve been applying copious amounts of Vaseline and Vitamin E on it, so I won’t look like Rocky Dennis in Mask (’80s movie with Cher. So good). I mean, my face is my money-maker, so I have to protect it. Wait, what? Er…but, no, seriously, I asked my son if I looked bad or heinous with this cut on my forehead, and you know what he said? He said, “I can’t tell the difference between that cut and the other lines on your forehead.”

And…fade to black. Drop the mic.

I also had the unfortunate experience of having to scold my daughter for being rude to me this morning.  And I say rude in quotes, because she was like an alien creature that hatched from the lower depths. See, she couldn’t find a card she had made for her dad for Father’s Day, and so she tore her room apart, screaming, pulling drawers of clothes out of her dresser, and eventually accusing me of tossing it out.

“You throw out everything!” she screamed in the spawn of the Devil’s voice from upstairs.

I went up, tried to calmly help her look through her FOUL room that literally had a candy toilet plunger stuck to the nice wood bookcase, and we didn’t find it. In the interim, I cleaned her room and, yes, threw a lot of stuff out. Ya’ know what? You don’t play with it for six months? It’s gone. Ya’ done. Pare down. So, eventually, after I yelled at her, and called in support from her dad, she wrote me this apology note. Oh, and she calls me “Moo,” as in moo cow. I mean, wait, should I be offended by that?

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Anyway….that’s the start to my new life. A little rough, but kinda excited.