About 20 minutes ago, for the first time since about Saturday afternoon, I felt caught up. Not finished for the day. Not ahead. Just not drowning. I celebrated by brushing my teeth. I’ve got big plans to take the party grocery shopping in a few minutes (seriously, I’m sort of passionate about grocery shopping. Super pumped about it). After that I’ll buckle down and doggie paddle through the rest of the day.
I don’t mention this to enter the I’m-busier-than-you fray, because I abhor the glorification of busyness. I feel lucky to be having a busy month, but I have slow months too, and moderately-paced months. I mention it because I believe in the power of celebrating tiny victories. In fact, I think it’s a necessity. Too often we’re so focused on long term goals – buying the house, paying off the student loans, getting the big break, winning at life – that we wait too long between celebrations. And it’s exhausting to be always toiling and never celebrating. Celebrating is fun. If we’re not finding reasons to celebrate, even tiny ones, then what are we doing with our lives, people?
Here’s something most people don’t know: I was a highly anxious kid. I worried so much, in fact, that my mother determined it was a problem that needed to be fixed. A fixer of the highest order, she may have over-fixed me, but being a low-anxiety optimist hasn’t served me too poorly. Thanks, Mom.
I’m sure she harnessed a variety of actions to teach me to manage my anxiety and pessimism, but the two I remember the most are getting me a set of worry dolls and buying me the book, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. I read the whole thing. I even took notes in the margins, including different colored dots to note how each item made me feel. It was just a long list of items, including such minutia as, “the position of your head as you bite into a taco,” but it truly changed my perspective on life. I wish I still had that book with my notes and all of its creased pages, but since I don’t, here are some things that I feel happy about today:
Every week, a bunch of stories I have written publish on various websites. A good number of them publish on Wednesdays, so I am often a nervous wreck that day. Every email could be someone calling to complain that they did not like their quotes, found a typo, feel I misrepresented them, think I am a big dum dum in general, etc., etc. It doesn’t happen a lot (anymore), but it does still happen. And it always stresses me out. I’m stressed out right now just thinking about it.
I understand being portrayed in someone else’s words to the public is a very sensitive topic, so much of my stress is rooted in the fact that no matter how ridiculous I think their issue might be (I’m sorry you think you sound stupid, but that was a direct quote from your mouth…), I get it. And I feel bad about it.