1. You are not old. Your eggs are not rotting. You will get married and have children, and you’re not “almost 40.” Just wait till you’re 40. Or, worse yet, 47…
2. Stop being so wistful and hopeful and get a career that actually is lucrative. It may be all fun to be an artist now, but if you’re one of the very few who “make it,” even if you’re truly talented, it won’t be fun when you have to reinvent yourself in ten years and wonder why all your friends have people who report to them, and you’re entry level.
3. This follows #2: Money matters. Yeah, I know; I know. “Happiness is what’s important; money isn’t.” Giiiiirl, I used to think that, too, when it was cool to live in a fifth floor walk up studio in NYC. Not so cool when you have two children to support, a mortgage, a car payment, and bills. Get a real job. And, sadly, money makes the world go round. This was a hard lesson for me.
4. Divorce totally sucks. So, be very mindful of red flags and any other issues before you get married. The choice to marry someone is actually huge. And, even if you’re 30, panicked, and want to be like all your friends and get married, don’t just insert groom/just add water with whomever you’re with at that age. Be picky. Wait. Be prudent. Be wise. Listen to your instincts.
5. Following #4, don’t have kids if you’re not in a happy marriage, because they are not a bandaid, and it will make divorce all the more complicated, as you will forever be joined with the father of your children. And, if that happens, then be nice. It’s more important that you coparent well than hate your ex. Your kids need both of you, and they want to love both of you.
6. Don’t begrudge having to go to another wedding at age 28. You know why? The invites will stop soon, and then you’ll miss the free booze, dance floor, and revelry of weddings! They are so fun! Later on, they are far and few between. Worse yet, you are no longer at the “single’s table;” you are the overweight aunt in the corner, who is dancing to Brick House. #justsaying
7.Start botox by age 40. If you catch the wrinkles early, it’s easier to fix than later when you have indents in your forehead and wonder why you look extra terrestrial.
8. Following #7, wear sunscreen. I know it’s fun to get tan, and you look better, but either go get some Jergens Glow or spray tan, instead. Getting sunburnt will age you, create wrinkles, and can cause skin cancer. It’s real.
9. Most problems at 30, in my experience, are not as bad as problems at 40. So, be conscious of that and chill a bit. You’ll wish you didn’t waste the youthful time agonizing. Go out with friends, or on a hike, instead, and have a good time.
10. I mean, maybe don’t listen to other people (like me- ha!) Follow your gut and “the whispers,” #oprah. You will land on your feet. It will be okay.
Today, I found my phone in the refrigerator. Middle shelf. Yes, I had been running around like a maniac, hurdling over the dog, trying to get out the door for work when I realized I didn’t have my phone. Uh-oh…the panic set in. This is like leaving without clothes on. I mean, I HAD to find it, and fast. I leapt up the stairs, two at a time, huffing and cursing. Frantically, I ran back downstairs, pulling drawers open, rummaging through bags, turning round and round, like a robo-vacuum.
Then, it occurred to me: hey, I was making lunches, and maybe, just maybe, it’s in the FRIDGE! And, there it was. I couldn’t take a photo of it, which I thought to, because I was laughing, because I’d have to take it with the phone!
This story leads me to my initial thought when I sat to write this blog: I’m doing too many things at once. I am thinking about like 15 different things simultaneously. Part of this is inherent to my job in public relations and marketing, where I have multiple accounts I work on each day, shifting back and forth between them with different tones, voices, styles, and needs. Each account uses a different part of my brain.
My brain hurts, sometimes.
But that’s not always a bad thing. I like that I have to think at work, in particular. When I was an actress in NYC back in the days of yore (imagine me hunched over, telling this story in an old lady voice), I used to temp as my day job.
The 8-hour temping days were seriously painful, because I was doing work that my goldfish could do. I remember I’d show up as the new “temp for the week,” sit in whomever secretary’s desk I was replacing, and look around.
I’d notice her pink, raspberry-scented Victoria’s Secret lotion, the photos of her kids, her pilled cardigan hanging over the back of my swiveling desk chair, and her change of shoes under the desk (some sort of beaten up flats). People would by-and-large ignore me, but sometimes there was a nice “coworker,” who would ask me about my life or say hi and bye to me. I was kind of like the fly on the wall. I don’t blame them for not wanting to get to know me, as I was there merely temporarily, hence the name “temp.” The days would drag on and on, and some days, I’d only be given the tasks of making copies or stuffing envelopes. Other days, I’d be given more “difficult” tasks, like writing correspondence. They were always AMAZED at how the office chimp was actually skilled, a graduate of a good college, with significant work experience.
Anyway, I digress. My point it this: I am elated to have a real job now that I get to use my brain and, even, that I sometimes feel harried! I’d rather that than staring at the clock, or trying on someone else’s Payless flats under the desk.
So it’s not all that bad when you’re too busy and leaving your phone in the fridge.
I found this amazing list my daughter wrote titled, “Friday After School List.” It started with the very obvious: 1. unpack backpack. This was followed by: 2. clean up room. Um, pretty sure that never happened. Then, there was, 3. draws/color, and so on…It ended with: 11. go to bed. This list, while somewhat compulsive and hyper-organized, also reminded me that life was so much simpler back when we were young, and maybe we ought to get back to that.
It also made me think of my own to-do list and how it compared. I decided I would write it down:
Get up unwillingly: Dog and child bust into my room. Dog licks my face, and she leaps onto my back, while I let out a hurling noise.
Wash out the coffee pot: Wonder why I don’t just get it ready to go the night before, because it’s so cumbersome to wash old grinds out from yesterday morning, and it takes too much time.
Pack lunches: I LOATHE this task. Like, I envy those whose children have a school lunch. She won’t eat sandwiches, which leaves…chips and carrots and yogurt (which she always lets go to waste. And, they are the Chobani ones, which are not exactly cheap! #annoyed) And we can’t pack peanut butter anymore. He? He’s easier. I hate the water bottles too. It’s like they are hamsters or rabbits and need a water bottle every day. We never had water bottles. Pretty sure the one gulp I took from the nasty, dirty water fountain at field hockey practice was my entire water consumption for the whole day.
Drive kids to school: even though they very well could take the bus, which drives past my freaking house. But, no, they claim they’re too afraid of COVID, and people on it are loud and wipe snot on the windows.
Go to work…
Pick kids up: Wonder how the hell the day went by so quickly. Tell the kids they have to self-entertain for the next two hours, because I still have work to do.
Walk the dogs: Grab a roadie of wine, breathe in some fresh air, run my work day through my head and wonder what else I have to do, and then try to pretend that I am breathing and being present. Pick up poop.
Make dinner: Convince children that it’s important to eat as a family, say grace to Jesus, and tell each other our “rose and thorns” of the day. Implore them that they need to take their time, stop wolfing their food, and tell them “no” to their requests for eating in their rooms, on their beds. #gross
Pour another glass of vino.
Play dolls or Barbies with daughter or make fire pit with son.
Try to find a TV show: Scroll through Netflix, watch a bunch of trailers and realize I hate period shows and am tired of murder shows, so I turn it off.
Go to my computer, read blogs and wonder why I am brain dead. Wish I could write.
Make phone calls and stare at my social media.
Play Words with Friends. Crush it with a few two-letter words, have one eye open because so tired.
Brush teeth, wash face, stare at wrinkles, plan Botox and Fillers
Go to bed.
There are things I’d like to have on this list, like “Draw/Color” and playing with friends, like my daughter did. I might want to add, “Clean Room,” since the armchair looks like a hanging rack for misplaced clothes, and the bed is still not made (I hate this!).
But, maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, and a new list…I hope! Probs not.
“Was I better today than yesterday?” This is something to ask yourself. And, if you answer “no” today, then you will most likely answer “yes” tomorrow. Or, so this what I heard on an Oprah podcast on Fulfillment. I am not so sure that I can always answer “yes” the next day, though. The idea behind this notion is that we, as people, don’t repeat negative behaviors twice, and we work on making our situations better, not worse. We move forward, not back.
I don’t know about you, but I repeat my mistakes all the time. It’s like I’m sometimes this albino rat in a science experiment, who is missing a receptor firing and can’t learn well. I’m the broken rat in the Skinner Box experiment, who fails to learn that if you press the lever, you may get a food pellet.
Did I just liken myself to a rat? I did. Actually, I feel like that was in my subconscious, because someone once called me an “old rat.” I will leave that story for another day…. but, yes, it hurt my feelings.
Anyway, so, I am going to try to be better today than yesterday. I mean, it’s already 5:00 p.m., so I don’t have too many hours left before the day is over. I am going to grill some chicken on my new broiler, since my grill outside is still broken. Cooking a meal? That’s better than the ordering I did yesterday. Then, I’m going to try to get some writing done. Ha! That is so not happening. I’ll probably just have time to help my kids with their homework, play American Girl dolls, and zone out with some TV show. I mean, honestly? That’s kind of better than my day was yesterday, in the end. Oh, wait, but was I better…hm…that’s another question.
Tomorrow, I have HUGE plans to be better! I am going to work! Yay! Oh, but the morning will be better, because today I put my travel mug of coffee in my purse, and when I bent over to get the bags in the backseat, the coffee top flew off and spilled coffee all over my brand new car, my clothes, and the bags. I legit started to tear up in the parking lot, and a very nice, compassionate woman asked if she could make me another coffee. I told her, “no, thank you,” but she did bring me a new bag to put my stuff in, which was not covered with coffee. My faith in humanity is restored.
I’m going to work on being better today now. Tell me about your day!
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!
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:”
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.
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.
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.
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.