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The Upside of Being Too Busy

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.

Me telling you about being an actress

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.

Me as temp with augmented chest

So it’s not all that bad when you’re too busy and leaving your phone in the fridge.

Perhaps I should invest in a phone leash.

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Pandemic Pod Panic: Is Your Social Life Causing Angst?

Have you spent more time worrying about your–and your child’s–social life since the pandemic hit? If so, you could be suffering from Pandemic Pod Panic, aka “P3” (I just made this up). I read this interesting piece in the Boston Globe that detailed how many of us have been gripping about how we and our families are left out of social activities during this time of social distancing and isolation. Is this you? I have been guilty of it, I must admit.

First off, let me define a Pandemic Pod, for those of you not in-the-know. It’s essentially a small cohort of families who have stayed together and played together throughout the pandemic. The Pod subscribes to the same level of concern about COVID and, for the most part, interacts socially with an equal level of discretion and safety. Some pods may have more stringent policies when it comes to traveling by airplane, riding the school bus, or dining indoors. Others may be a little less rigid and feel those activities are okay. Typically, what one pod member believes, so does the other. This is why there is not much cross-pollination of pods! And there can be apparent judgment of pods that do not think–and most importantly ACT-alike. This is sounding like a cult..

Let me be clear: I am not judging anyone here. And no one’s beliefs are wrong. Unless they are not mine. Wait, joking! No, I mean, be safe, people. Obviously.

Anyway, back to the topic at-hand: Pandemic Pod Panic. I have noticed that I don’t see or talk to some of the friends that I used to since last March, the onset of COVID. This has caused me to wonder if it’s because of something I’ve done, or how I choose to live during Covid, or if it’s just something about them wanting to isolate. Some of it, too, is because we don’t run into each other at soccer, for example, or during school activities.

I don’t really know. I think we can only assume that it’s that, but who knows!? This reminds me of my recent blog post, Too Many Friends = Too Much Drama, and the feeling of being back in high school. And then, when you find out that friend you don’t see or talk to is actually hanging in her own pod? Then you panic: is it me? Why am I not in that pod? Are we no longer friends?

COVID is killing more than our spirits–it’s killing friendships! (insert scary music)…

Um, that’s a little drastic.

Now, aside from myself, I sometimes wonder about my kids. My son, for example, isn’t as social as my daughter. He basically has lived like a sand mole in the basement and on video games for a year now. Well, that’s not entirely in isolation, though, because he’s on a headset laughing his head off with friends. I’ve wondered if he should go outside and play with our neighbors, but he really has no interest, and I get concerned. Like, is he antisocial? Is he going to have friends when this is all over? We can’t really invite people over who he hasn’t seen or been “podding” with, and hence the P3 begins (Pandemic Pod Panic)

I have been fortunate to have a nice group of friends in my neighborhood, and we have been kind of like our own Pandemic Pod. Our children are the same ages and have played since the pandemic hit. Similarly, we adults have met around the firepit and had some wine and been able to socialize while social distancing. But I have heard others lament that they don’t have those opportunities and feel left out. This sense of isolation is magnified when they see it posted on social media–revelry around a firepit with friends. In the Boston Globe piece, they recommended not posting those types of photos to social media so others don’t feel left out.

Wait. But I only post so others feel less-than, right???? (Insert Mean Girls voice). Just joking.

Anyway, what are your thoughts and experiences with this? Have you felt left out, or judged, or worried about social nonsense during the pandemic? Maybe we are just bored! Perhaps this is self-manufactured stress.

🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🥴🥴

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Forgiveness: Why and What’s Forgivable? I Want to Know.

Everyone is talking about forgiveness and self-love today as we enter a new year. I hate when people say, “I heard this on NPR,” but I did, in fact, hear it on NPR– a conversation about forgiveness this morning. Essentially, two of the guests agreed that we have to forgive, even is no apology is made or elicited, to stop the stress cycle and allow us to heal and progress. There was a reference to looking forward and living with “forwardness.” I did always like that quote about if you live in the rearview mirror, you’ll soon be going that way. Don’t ask me who said it, because it was actually a fortune cookie message I received and have since pasted to my refrigerator to remind myself to live in the present.

I often have to remind myself of this. In fact, I wear this ring. See the inscription? “Live in the Here and Now.” My niece got it for me. I am terrible at doing this.

So back to forgiveness… By forgiving, you’re embracing peace, love and joy. You are helping your body to de-stress and stop producing cortisol (this was the scientific reasoning for forgiveness). And, you’re giving your mind a break, a chance to rest.

I do think I’m forgiving, but like what is not forgivable, I wonder? I mean, I think murder would be one. I couldn’t get over that. I could probs forgive cheating and lying, if it came with some level of contrition. What else? Um…I’d forgive stealing and hurting my feelings occasionally (not all the time). I’d be super bummed if you lit my house on fire.

I can’t really think of other things right now. Currently, I have forgiven most everyone I know for any wrongs I perceived or experienced. It feels good. Sometimes, I look backwards and feel those pangs of hurt and resentment, because, well, I’m human. And I get angry. And then swallow that anger, and it just manifests itself in heinous ways, like anxiety. YAY!

Forgiveness gives you your power back. Don’t be a victim. Try to empathize with the offender. When someone is mean to my children, I tell them, “Well, maybe feel sorry for him/her, because they are obviously hurting and sad inside to treat you this way.”

“Hurt people hurt people.”
That’s a good quote.

How do you know if someone is hurt when you meet them though? How many chances do you give them?

That’s a whole other question. What do you think?

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A Short Play: On Coping

ME: I’m really stressed.

THEM: Well, let’s try to find a way to fix that.

ME: Um, great.

THEM: How about we find things that relax you and you can take some time to do those things?

ME: Relax? When? I don’t have time. That’s why I’m stressed.

THEM: Well how about you go for a jog, like wake up really early before work?

ME: And leave my kids alone?

THEM: Oh. Well, how about you take up a musical instrument?

ME: I bought a piano last year. Now it serves as a table for the Xbox.

THEM: How about knitting?

ME: Nah, that’s too neutered and makes me feel old.

THEM: How about meditation?

ME: Can my 7-year-old do it with me?

THEM: Maybe you should stick with wine.

ME: Yeah, I think that’s my best bet.