Do you think President Biden has forgotten what he promised us when he was on the campaign trail? And do you think he’s aware of these broken promises?
My opinion, he didn’t know what, or, that he was making promises. And because he didn’t know he was making promises, he is wholly unaware that he’s breaking them.
Still, promises were made (thanks to his speech writers and behind-the-scenes people that directed his stage performances), and no one should make promises, POST THEM ONLINE, and then break them because people like me will Google the crap out of years-old articles and then call you out.
And so begins my little diddy on broken promises. Again, for the record, I honestly don’t think Biden planned on breaking his promises. I do, however, believe they were never intended to be kept in the first place.
How enraged do you think people will be when if POTUS admits he can’t make C*19 cease to exist?
How furious do you think they will be when they realize they lost two years of their lives, isolating from society in fear for their lives?
How quickly do you think they’ll blame Trump …and Trump supporters …and the unvaccinated …and Florida?
“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, e.g., the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote. “Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.” ~ Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder
Perhaps next time Joe should choose his words wisely and instead of saying “I promise” rather opt for words like “we will see” or “we can try.”
I’ve been reading a lot about ‘decision fatigue’ (I didn’t know it had a name).
To describe it, decision fatigue smells like initiative, angst, and Covid.
Another way I can describe it: when you have an idea or a goal and it turns into a big decision and no one can make it for you but you wish someone would come over and tell you what to do (and make you cookies).
I’m struggling with decision fatigue (and chronic hesitation), and it’s self-imposed, which makes it that much more ominous.
In 2009, Paul Graham wrote an outstanding essay called Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule. I re-read it the other day and it reminded me that, no, I’m not crazy. I’ve just been working in a directly opposite way of how I’m wired. If you’ve never read the essay, and you don’t have time to read the piece, here’s the gist. Paul Graham writes that there are basically two types of schedules, a Maker’s schedule and a Manager’s schedule.
Here’s a quote directly from the essay: “The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, each day cut into one-hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour. When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.”
To keep quoting: “When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon by breaking it into two pieces, each too small to do anything hard in. … For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.”
Now, speaking personally and thanks to this essay, I know that I do my best when I can position my schedule as a maker. But increasingly, I’ve been doing my work on a manager’s schedule. While it’s not a wrong schedule, it limits the kind of work I can do – and want to do. And it’s probably the reason for the overwhelmed feeling, decision fatigue, and chronic hesitation.
Let’s go back to the “self-imposed” point. Around December 28 (yes, one week ago), I began speaking into existence my 2022 goals – one, here and there, over several days. And now, four days into the new year, I realize my goals are an avalanche waiting to happen. All I want is for someone to come over and tell me what to do and make me cookies. While conducive to a manager’s schedule, these goals swamp a maker’s schedule. And as I just pointed out, I’m not wired for a manager’s schedule.
My goals list looks something like this:
Rebrand my blog.
Post weekly on said newly-branded blog.
Schedule 3 Writing Days a month (a writing day means I spend 3-7 hours writing consistently and without interruption or distraction).
Journal “Morning Pages” every morning.
Journal daily “One Line A Day in a Five-Year Memory Book.”
Be self-employed by June 30.
Have a completed first draft manuscript by December 31.
(Until Thanksgiving, moving back to Rhode Island on May 1 was on the list. This has since been deleted.)
Get really good at tennis and join a league.
Read one book a month (they cannot be writing books or marketing books).
Get deeper (and more serious) into my Buddhist practice.
Adopt a dog.
To not pass judgment on me and to name what was really going on, I asked myself two questions. First question, what feels life-draining? The second question, what feels life-giving?
What feels life-draining is not unsubtle: the thought of so many rogue, self-imposed, deadline-driven, high-reaching goals. It’s unrealistic to have this many at once, I know. And it definitely amplifies imposter syndrome.
What feels life-giving is easy to identify: Writing. Playing tennis (even badly).
I decided to make a list, for lists’-sake. I cut my goal list in half and deleted deadlines. Here’s what it looks like today.
Hide all the journals in a draw somewhere and forget about them.
Write 500 words a day.
Read one chapter a day.
Develop a consistent Buddhist practice.
Adopt a dog.
For the record, this blog post is more than 500 words. I already feel victorious as I exceeded my goal without much trying.
I think the point of my story is to not let conventional deadlines (or rules) keep you from growth and from your own transformation. Your life is waiting for you to see it, to name it, and to do your next right thing. And if you suffer from decision fatigue, it’s OK to pause, wait, and clear the decks. We’re not robots. We’re meant to breathe in and out. Some seasons are for a deep inhale, and others are for a long exhale. It’s great to have goals – but not at the expense of having a life. The big truth is, our daily decisions are actually making our lives. We’d be wise to pay close attention.
I started blogging in 2007. Fourteen years ago, I opened my browser and began sharing pieces of myself. In those days, I wrote about whatever drifted into my head. I didn’t check my grammar or read my words out loud. I wrote as fast as I could. I paid no attention to purpose, technique, my reader (or grammar).
Today feels like one of those days when I want to treat my blog like my journal. 2021 is coming to an end, and automatically I want to reflect on the rollercoaster year.
But I am not going to. I’m not going to replay the past.
Buddhists perceive everything in life as an illusion — which means that nothing has a tangible presence. What we see as concrete and permanent is only present for the time being. (That statement, right there! I’ll write it again for you.) What we see as concrete and permanent is only present for the time being. Eventually, it will cease to exist within months, years, or decades.
The traditional teaching is that attachment (in whatever form) is the root cause of suffering. And suffering, if you’re wondering, is semantically related to worry.
Suppose you knew that worrying thoughts caused you to suffer. And you knew reflecting on those thoughts couldn’t change anything that happened in the past, nor could they direct the future. Would you continue to think about those thoughts?
I won’t speak for all of humanity, just myself. At times, I absolutely want to change the past, and I definitely want to control the future. But another one of Buddha’s teachings is that the secret of health for both mind and body is not to grieve the past, agonize about the future, or anticipate troubles. The secret is to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. The law of presence teaches that what we do today is important because we are trading a day of our life for it.
And that’s the reason I am not spending my energy reflecting on 2021. Instead, I am giving my power to new intentions that I will take into the new year.
If you’ve never tried stream of consciousness writing, I say give it a go. I highly recommend cozying up to your own heart in this fashion. Here’s what I have (after writing without pause or hesitation):
Goals for 2022:
Let people evolve
Listen without reacting
Do not expect perfection
Only commit to what is doable
No performances or projections
Communicate calmly and honestly
Ample space to be my own person
Share joy and peace
The point of this TED Talk? Don’t let life go by while worrying about the past or the future. Focus on and enjoy the present. One of my all-time favorite quotes by Margaret Bonnano is this: “It’s only possible to live happily ever after on a moment-to-moment basis.”
P.S. If I may make a suggestion – don’t try to live every day like it’s your last. Instead, try to live every day like it’s your first. There’s a big difference!
As a reasonably empathetic woman, I feel like I’m in the twilight zone when I hear leftist women speak about abortion. Firstly, baby-making is like a superpower, and secondly, there are so many ways to choose not to exercise the superpower at all. And, of course, thirdly, if you were the victim of a crime to which it forced your superpower into existence, there are also options. Killing babies is wrong, and I don’t relate to or understand these lefty women.
It doesn’t describe that perpetual stinging feeling. The dread. The vase that’s too broken to be put back together. The sobbing inexplicably. The burning in your lungs until you can’t breathe, as if a ghost from the past is chasing you and you can’t draw enough air in, and you’re tired, and your body is giving out, and you just can’t anymore.
Inconceivable pain. Tiny pins puncturing your heart a million times over. On a scale of 1 to torturous, getting your heart broken is a solid “absolutely dreadful.”
It turns people into country singers.
I have been thinking a great deal about it – what it means, what it takes of us, how it feels when it’s forced upon us.
The shedding of something, and then the discovery of something else. When you experience heartache, you discover there is no place more intimate than your heart. And if you’re honest, you know there is really only one heartache that is strong enough to break your heart, and it is large and not easy to bear. The visionary poets knew this. The poets also knew that heartache kills the wellspring of all the meaning-making that makes life worth living.
When you’re in the middle of heartache, you can’t expect anything to happen. You just wait. And the waiting, after a while, starts to become deep acceptance, even if you don’t want to accept things. But the really challenging part, let’s be honest, is when your inner voice becomes audible. It can bring you to a tipping point.
Coming to terms with something being “over” is something I’ve never liked. I’d rather something taper off until one day I’m like, “Hmm. How did that end?” or “Strange, I haven’t talked to that person in a while.” But I suppose “The Taper” is really just what cowards do to avoid the inevitable.
So, call me cowardly.
I read online that Americans are likely to have their hearts broken several times in a lifetime. In fact, they average five. And some good doctor somewhere said that it’s good to experience at least one nasty heartbreak because the pain is special. (Special??) And unlike anything else, it exposes one to vital lessons about life.
My heart was broken recently, and if the “vital lessons” are grief, guilt, shame, sadness, and desperation, I earned an A+. What came at me was swift and comprehensive … and it came like the wind. I did not see it coming. And, naturally, my research about emotionally devastating heartbreak shows five distinct stages of grief follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I heard some people have even reported more stages. It seems grief is as unique as we are.
I went through the five stages, but I circled back to revisit anger and bargaining.
My m.o. is to cut ties; to convince myself it’s better to go it alone than to do the work it takes to resolve conflict. I find it difficult to apologize when I hurt someone, but I find it harder to forgive someone who has hurt me.
We are all flawed. But I’m not just flawed; I’m also a coward. I should keep this at the forefront of my mind when deciding who to keep in or out of my life—and how to respond to those who no longer want me in theirs.
I know it will be up to me to initiate reconciliation, if reconciliation ever makes it to the table, but I also know I need my anger to taper off. Some problems may be irresolvable, but there are also relationships that don’t need to be lost forever.
First, I will tell you a story about something that happened to me in the past. Next, if I’m as talented as I think I am, I will connect that story with what is happening presently. And finally, because I think I am that talented, I’m going to bring it full circle and roll it into the future.
Once upon a time, in a land called Tucson, I picked up my father to drive him to the doctor’s office…
“You should get in the carpool lane.”
“I don’t want to get in the carpool lane.”
“Well, because we’re going the same speed as the people in the carpool lane, plus it makes me nervous. Driving all fast next to the wall like that, and then not changing lanes if I feel like I want to. It’s restrictive. And if you drive next to the wall, you have to drive perfectly. If you drive in the middle lane, you have a little bit more room for error. And you can escape.”
Most people think this way. Most people think it’s perfectly sensible to drive in the carpool lane if two people are in the car. It’s like, “YAY! Carpool lane!” I’ve actually heard people get that excited.
I am not one of those people. As a matter of fact, I prefer to not even take the freeway. I’d instead take a longer, more scenic route because I may decide on the way to wherever I’m going that I don’t want to go there; I’d like to go somewhere else first. It’s much harder to make choices like that when you’re on the freeway. It becomes an ordeal.
My whole issue with driving in the carpool lane directly relates to the fact I like to have an escape mechanism. This also speaks loudly to the truth of my intense need to make choices: New choices. Different choices. Better choices. Choices. MY choices.
Being able to make choices is my way of maintaining my freedom. Everything I do, from the type of jobs I hold to the places I decide to live (which is a big one lately) to my nightly plans, etc., etc. My disdain for the carpool lane reveals how deep this is for me.
You may be thinking, well, what if you’re going to work? You can’t just decide to drive somewhere else first, or what if you have plans? You can’t just decide to change them because you feel like it. Well, I know that’s what you’d think. However, I often decide I’d instead like to do something else for that very reason — because I feel like it.
We have free will, so there really isn’t anything we have to do. We can make choices no matter what our spouses say, our bosses require, our president mandates. But lately, there are things that society or people have decided we have to do, which makes our will to stay free less simple to decide.
Our president is forcing our family, friends, coworkers, colleagues into making choices that some don’t want to make.
You guessed it, I’m talking V* mandates in the workplace. The people who do not want to take the V are being forced to decide to keep their job or lose their job. If you’re on the fence, being forced into a decision can be a great thing (but only if you’re stalled), or it can be an awful thing (even a selfish thing).
Let’s call it what it really is: forcible penetration of a medical instrument into a person’s body against their will to deliver chemicals they don’t want into it. This is no less than medical rape. I have the right to decide what goes into my body. You have the right to determine what goes into yours.
(Imagine the outrage if the government enforced weight loss mandates for the obese to relieve the health care system? And while I’m here, If I am forced to wear a mask to protect your health, I’m going to start slapping McDonald’s out of your hands too.)
Everything that subsequently happens in our lives is the result of choices. And those choices do change our experience, even if for a brief amount of time. I have to remind myself that we are never stuck. Even if we feel as if there is no way out, there is. Of course, if I had remembered this in the past, I’d have a list of more life lessons and experiences under my belt, but I do not in the absence of action.
I admit sometimes, I’m afraid the choices I make will affect me negatively. In turn, they’ll leave less room in the future for any option to make a different choice. It’s harder to veer in another direction when flying down the freeway than it is if you’re cruising on a country road.
But I suppose this is just fear, and fear is a thing you create. It isn’t an actual thing. Action is.
And boy do I see action rising in the air (shoutout to Southwest, holla!), and I predict a lot more action very soon.
Texting while walking. (This is how “butch” became “bitch.”)
Food prepping. (Food prepping takes 4 hours. Eating takes 3 seconds. Washing Tupperware takes 7 days and 7 nights.)
Reading long Instagram captions. (When I stay on a post for too long the algorithm thinks because I read one inspirational meme, I want to read a thousand inspirational memes.)
Trying to move things with my mind (and Googling “How to move things with my mind”).
Humblebragging. (Like making lists and bragging about how happy I am.)
Happy October—the best month of the year. It’s finally fall in Arizona. Know what that means? Absolutely nothing. It’s still 90 degrees outside. Fun fact: Arizona is actually closer to the sun than the earth. I drove with my windows down tonight anyway. All the landscapers were out scalping and planting winter grass seed. Planting a winter lawn while it’s 90+ degrees doesn’t make much sense, but then again neither does Biscuits and Gravy flavored potato chips, and that’s apparently a thing that’s happening. Sometimes you just have to roll with it (and try not to barf). Really though, when the temperature shifts from 110 to 90 and we roll our windows down, we’re really no different than Midwesterners who wear shorts when it’s 40 degrees in March. So happy October. Fall is here!
I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the guest quoted Brené Brown. I’ve never read her books or listened to her podcast, but I did catch her 2010 breakout TED Talk, The power of vulnerability. Back then, I immediately tagged her as an expert in all things human connection.
Remembering I have her in the category of ‘expert,’ plus the quote I had just heard, and it was plenty good for me to search up one of her podcasts. The one I listened to included both Tim Ferriss and Dax Shepard.
Tim Ferriss said something. His comment brought me to another podcast.
I proceeded down a long and torturous podcast rabbit hole.
Days (and so many ridiculous podcast hours) later, I listened to Megyn Kelly and former Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian.
Who cares how I got here, right? THIS is where it all gets good. (Everything before the ‘but’ doesn’t matter.)
Boghossian talks about “lived experience” and how it becomes a reality, regardless of the facts. His example and I won’t do it justice, so you may want to bring up the podcast on your own, was centered around the number of unarmed black men shot by police each year. One woman said the number is 22,700 (unarmed black men shot by police each year). Another woman said it’s 7,000 that are shot.
As if living in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” doesn’t already make it hard to know what to believe, let’s throw in “lived experience” or “post-truth.”
According to the lived experiences of these two women, they set the number far, FAR outside the actual.
“My opinions are no longer things ripe for judgment and discussion, but rather they are opportunities for the fundamental aspects of myself to be “right” and to be considered “right” by the people around me.” ~ Kate Colombo
Gone are the days when people would say, I think. Now it’s, I feel. This language ultimately positions the speaker to regard his opinions less like ideas he’s informed with facts and more like personal truths. And, wham, there you have it. This form of discourse displaces the importance of truth and replaces it with “what is true for me.”
I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Before today I would have said speaking my truth is acceptable and should be considered more honest than any mere statement of facts.
I’m not so sure anymore.
Can we speak our truth sometimes and have it received as truth, but other times default to actual facts for truth? Is that possible? Serious questions. I’m not choosing a side. I mean, our personal experience influences how we decide things, but is that just an illusion?
I guess the truth is, I don’t know what the truth is.
In the middle of a grinding conversation at work: “X wants to sell more lamps so if we find out what kind of wine their customers drink…” Pause. Pause. We’re thinking… thinking. Brows are furrowed. Or maybe just mine?
We’re working this RFP like a piece of gum, folks. There’s a lot of chewing going on but all we have to show for it is an achy jaw.
“Hey, by the way everyone,” I raise my hand for pause and effect, “I just want you to know, I LOVE this shit. This is my idea of fun.” And we plod on.
(That’s right; no one can say I’m not going the distance with my calling!)
OK, so maybe not every meeting or interaction or event in our lives brings a monumental level of emotion or impact. And not every event is meant to shake up our lives in a big way. But some do.
Here are six events that rocked my world — and I list these in the most pragmatically joyous sense:
In 2012, I sent an email to 700+ employees that was meant to be read by only three regional chiefs. (In the words of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, “You know, would I leave my Keith Richards hat with the silver skull on it, on the stool at the coffee shop at LaGuardia? I wouldn’t do that again. But overall, no, I don’t have any regrets.”)
I chased after a boy and chased him away. (Once you feel you are avoided by someone, never disturb them again.)
I wrote my will. (Nothing will grow you up faster.)
I turned 40. (It was a fantastic year of sass & soul. I often mingle back and pretend I’m still in my prime. You can usually find me there on Tuesday’s.)
I created a bucket list. (Before I had this list, I jumped out of a plane strapped to a guy with the nickname Frogger. Now I follow the list.)
This event hasn’t happened yet, but it’s slated for May 2022. I’ll give you a hint: this.
I’m running a marathon, and I’m at mile 20, and I’m tired.
This is the perfect segue. Kick me in the shins if you think otherwise.
It’s either like, ok, I’m using ALL my brain cells here, and the client doesn’t give a rat’s ass, or I’m using zero brain cells here.
There’s this story of a girl. She was 20 years old when she started writing her first novel. It took her 10 years to finish it. She was 30 when she hit the NY Times best seller list.
She was hailed a genius for the times. Her book was being made into a motion picture; it was translated into seven languages. Everyone wanted her on their talk show and podcast. She was on the news doing interviews almost daily. She won literary awards.
She had it all.
Ten years later — age 41 — and she was unable to write and finish another book. She had hundreds of starts, but not even a first chapter.
She went down this dark path of assumption. With decades left in her, she feared that anything she wrote from that point forward would be judged by the world as ‘the work that came after the freakish success of her first book’. She started to believe that it was exceedingly likely that her biggest success was behind her.
This led her to drink gin at 9am.
The lesson: Me, like she, needs to know to put a safe distance between myself and the anxiety if I want to continue to do the thing I love — and that’s writing. Distance between myself and what the reaction of that writing is going to be from now on.
(Also, if you really start to get into this gin thing, there is another realm: vintage gins.)