Oh, friends, how many e-news editions have we begun with a variation on “It’s rough out there right now”? It’s the only thing that feels authentic, to first acknowledge that this is a tough freaking year, the hardest one many (most?) of us have seen in a lifetime.
As I mentioned in our most recent podcast episode, the expression “We’re all weathering the same storm in different boats” perfectly describes what we’re collectively going through right now. We or our loved ones may have suffered from COVID, the West Coast fires, or (look at today’s headlines and fill in the blank). Some of us are better equipped than others to weather the storm with coping tools, support networks, and various levels of financial, physical, and mental health.
It compounds our pain when we feel sorry for ourselves because we think we’re worse off than others, or beat ourselves up for feeling down because we think others are suffering more. That’s second arrow stuff, and there’s enough empathy to go around for all of us (Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us episode on comparative suffering is a must-listen).
I’ve been in and out of periods of existential ennui, a.k.a. Life is MEH. When I’m in that state, despair isn’t far behind. Eventually I realized that I feel this way when I’m not looking forward to anything, when every day feels more or less the same.
Darren had a great idea to ward off the blahs: Write on our kitchen chalkboard the next things I’m looking forward to. I’m reminded of them every time I pass by.
I don't have as many big things to look forward to right now, so I’ve been zooming in on little things to fuel me -- like a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. Here are some others:
☀️ Watching The Bachelorette, which is finally back, after a months-long delay. Watching the show itself packs a lot of dopamine hits -- it’s always “the most dramatic season ever”! -- and the post-show fandom brings me even more joy (Twitter, Here to Make Friends -- a feminist lens on the franchise, Bachelor Happy Hour, Ali Barthwell’s and Sharleen Joynt’s recaps, and texting with my friends who watch).
☀️ Listening to Taylor Swift’s folklore (my most-played album of 2020) or Sara Bareilles’ More Love while I work.
☀️ Taking guitar breaks between work sessions. I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique, and it works well to focus my brain during short sprints of 25 minutes and dedicate my five-minute breaks to self-care.
☀️ Listening to podcasts whenever I do chores, cook, or exercise.
☀️ Reading the Harry Potter series to Evan before bed. We’re on book four, The Goblet of Fire, and at 734 pages, it will be the longest book that either of us has ever read. 😄
☀️ Catching up with family and friends over text or FaceTime.
☀️ Watching the Borat 2 premiere on Amazon Prime Video this Friday, October 23. I am positively giddy about this movie, whose official title is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
These days, looking forward to the little things will carry us through to better times. Hit reply and tell me what’s keeping you going these days. 💕