Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How To Make Things A Little Less Shitty

Hi, it's me again. Just popping in randomly and exactly when you thought (hoped) I was gone for good. Nope. Even though I'm erratic, I'm still around complaining about 2020 like everyone else. All those memes, WTF?  Like when people say, "2020, stop throwing things at me. Leave me alone." As if the year 2020 is attacking you personally. It's attacking the planet. All of us. 

I've been working very hard on letting things go. It's just too much. All the sad stories. All the depressed people. The fires. The protests. The economy. The cancelled trips and races. 

My son losing his job, then finding another one but working remotely out of his Phoenix-based bedroom to make a living when he should be out working in some fun office making friends and having FACs. 

My daughter struggling with finding out college kind of sucks right now because while she is in an apartment and technically enrolled in school, she's not able to meet new people, party, dive off of fraternity fireplace mantels into waiting drunken crowds (not that I ever did that), be stupid and enjoy those Wonder Years that college is. 

My parents who are 81 years old and had extraordinary travel plans to countries I can't pronounce that are now upended and might never happen. 

Myself who got into the field of social work to interact with people and to help, whereas now I'm meeting people through my computer screen on Zoom while my cat jumps up and attacks my hair bun. Essentially I am and spending way too much time having conversations with my Golden Retriever and smelling my newest Yankee Candle.

These are the things I am desperately trying to let go of. I am 53 and a chronic worrier. Just ask Ken. He hates it. If there is one thing I have learned in my years it is that if you are worrying about something and can do something about it you better as shit do it. But, if you are worrying about something and it is totally out of your control (hello, Covid) you better as shit let it go because what.is.the.point? It will make you sick and you will find yourself awake at 2 a.m., your heart racing, your palms sweating (or if you are pre-menopausal like me your body from your big Morton's Toe to your butt crack to your pierced ears sweating). It's not fun and not a way to live.

Easier said than done.

And, what I will say to you runners is we have a magical thing to do that rescues us in some way from all of this bullshit and we are lucky. Not everyone gets how restorative and healing running is. They think it's all heavy breathing and sharting and muscle aches, but we know it is so much more. I can shart and breathe heavily and ache but I am still feeling 76% better after a run than before it.

So, I run on. And I bike on. And I swim on. And, sometimes I climb 14,000 foot mountains in the snow in September because....well, just because.

That little person is Ken

I bet my sky is bluer than yours

I am basically climbing Mt. Everest in my mind

Some people don't feel motivated to run right now because there are so few races. I will run whether I am training or not. It's survival for me and one thing that helps me to feel normal. I will continue to run through any temperature, any weather element. I will run not really looking at my watch because I don't really care how fast or how far. I care how it makes me feel and that life after a run looks a bit brighter and manageable than life before a run. I will run because I get a perspective on life that I can't really get any other way. After my runs I often think, "It will be okay. I have this. I have the fresh air. I have my health. I have strength in my mind, body and spirit."

If you're not a runner, of course that's fine. But I hope you have something that can give you this boost too.

The other thing I do? Instead of fixating on all of the cancelled plans and things we can't do right now, I look to the small things that make me happy and aren't going away soon (except for Schitt$ Creek. Almost done with the series. Sigh. Ewww David!):

  • That damn Yankee Candle (Home Sweet Home scent)
  • Reading something inspiring/thought provoking/calming every morning and carrying that sentiment with me throughout the day.
  • Wine
  • Schitts Creek
  • A good book read on the back porch in the sunlight (I'm currently reading A Place for Us. Very good. Also just finished Untamed. Some solid nuggets in there)
  • Strong coffee with half and half (I prefer Peet's Major Dickason's dark blend)
  • A new recipe to try that actually doesn't taste like dog feces (I just tried Triple Berry Cheesecake Muffins because why not? And they were orgasmic)
  • Wine
  • A cozy comforter ordered from Amazon for the winter months (this one. I'll let you know how we like it)
  • A long phone call with a dear friend (hey Julie, Clair and Erika)
  • Getting a huge breakfast burrito every Saturday morning from a local spot. Benny's Tacos rocks.
  • Wine
  • Riding our cruiser bikes to a brewery on a nice night
  • Planing an adventure (here's what we were going to do but we only made it one summit due to snow)
This is today's mantra

What I want is for us to not give up on life because of all of this. Don't let Covid be an excuse for you to hide from things and whimper into a corner. Do what you CAN do and enjoy what you CAN enjoy. Because some of those things still exist. They might not be grandiose like your dream vacation (γεια ελλαδα - Hello Greece) or seeing your favorite band in concert (see you next time Hoodoo Gurus), but there are still things there to appreciate. You just have to notice them and DECIDE to appreciate them.


So now, and for everyone reading here, tell me one thing in the comments that you do each day to make your day somewhat brighter or at least A Little Less Shitty (ALLS). Sometimes all we can hope for is ALLS.

Thanks for being my friend (or, I hope you don't mind I assume we are friends),

SUAR

50 comments:

  1. Whew! That’s a relief because I also assumed we are friends. 🤣
    Running is making my life ALLS. Even though all of my races are virtual, I look forward to those medals coming in the mail.

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  2. I think you should have some wine, seriously. I just poured a glass myself. I have wine every day because I look forward to it. It is my little thing. The little things are the big things right now. Glad i have running too. I hope you pop in a little more often. It's pretty sweet to hear from you! <3

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    1. Wine everyday is something I'me enjoying as well. Congrats on your virtual half last weekend (even if you didn't feel the best)

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  3. Schott’s Creek (only in season 2) and of course my daily drink. And running and my origami kayak and blowup paddle board, getting outside helps deal with all the stuff we can’t control...

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    1. 100% agree. What is an origami kayak?

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    2. A kayak that folds into a portable, suitcase-sized object. Like this: https://www.orukayak.com/

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  4. I have logged some outdoor activity nearly every day since starting a 5-week lockdown in New Zealand, ending it, and deciding to return to the pandemic hellscape that is the USA. In NZ it was mostly hiking, because I didn't have a bike and I was just getting back into running after getting DVT at the end of December (the consequences of getting food poisoning, developing reactive arthritis, moving very little, and long plane and car trips—a combination I do not recommend). Back in Massachusetts, I'm running, walking, hiking, and riding my favorite bike. I can only run for about 15-20 minutes before my left foot starts to go numb (thanks, DVT!), though that's slowly improving.

    I also send a cheery email every weekday morning to my office staff (I chair a department at a university). It forces me to think about something quirky and fun I have seen, or an observation that might prompt them to write back, and in any case to think about something other than the tedium of working from home.

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    1. I'm sorry about the DVT. Ugh. Who would have thought? And I love the idea of your "cheery" email. I'm sure your staff appreciates it. I know I would!

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  5. (P.S. I hope I didn't just submit the same comment several times. Safari was acting up!)

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  6. I'm a chronic worrier too. I don't think that ever changes, unfortunately. I am spending a lot of time annoying my dog by using him as a pillow. And backpacking in my local mountains. Running feels kind of boring right now, honestly, even though I don't race.

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    1. Backpacking sounds lovely. I need to do more of that. I found this article on worry really helpful. Maybe you will too:

      https://www.headspace.com/articles/how-to-stop-worrying

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  7. Bought a bright lime green porch swing and put it on a big frame in my front yard. Sit out there almost every day with a glass of iced tea or wine and watch and enjoy and sometimes end up chatting with all the people and couples and kids and families walking with their dogs and baby strollers that go by. The amount of people outside doing things and people I've met have tripled since the covid devil showed up. It brings both joy and comfort.

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    1. That is fantastic. I, too, have appreciated how many people are getting out. I've been seeing people I've never seen before and we've lived here 18 years!

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  8. My ALLS is a daily run or strength training session. It is literally the one thing that really brings me joy and peace right now. Missing My parents, they are elderly and haven’t hugged them since March. My sis lives in SF and didn’t make her trip home to WI to visit this summer. Miss her too. I know so many have it worse. I will just keep running. ❤️🏃 Cindy

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    1. So hard to be away from family. I hope you can see them soon. Run on!

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  9. Please go ahead and assume we are friends! I feel as if I know you, after so many years reading your blog. For me, walking the dog (he's too old, and uninterested, for running) has been the one thing - not that he didn't get walks before, but they have a new dimension now. Plus running, which I need to do more of (but the extra ten pounds that has attached itself to me during the past six months doesn't make that easy).

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    1. Yes it seems dog walking is the new big thing, at least in our neighborhood. I'm sure the dogs love it. Or wonder what the hell is going on.

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  10. Doing lots of Yoga, spoiling my two golden retrievers ( you should get another one!) and of course wine!! I miss running bc of an injury but I guess life changes and its ok!
    Someone once told me.. 99% of the things that we worry about never happen ��
    Have a great day! Great post!

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    1. I have heard that about worry too...99% never happens. So if I worry about more things does that mean more won't happen? Skewed thinking. And I DO want another Golden. Can you talk to my husband about it?

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  11. I've missed you, friend! Want my phone number?
    Very well said, it's hard for all of us (well, for those that believe this is real!) and we're in it together. I get up and leave for work at 7am and get home at 7pm. These long days are hard, but they get me through. I'm doing my intership (at a gym) and will be graduating this November with a BS in Exercise Science. NOW THAT WAS HARD!!! ;-) Weekends my go to relaxation is crochet and my two cats -- husband in there too. My Christmas crochet gifting pile is tall! Glad you're back and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

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    1. Congrats on your upcoming graduation. That's awesome. Sounds like you've worked very hard for it. I have a cat but maybe I should take up crocheting

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  12. Well, *I* certainly think we're friends, or would be if we lived near enough to each other to actually meet, though then the people who saw us together, maybe having coffee or lunch, would be saying, "what's up with that, she's way too young for him." Coffee is an artificial brightener, so maybe that doesn't count. Running hasn't been a happening thing for a while, but going out for a walk every day is, and if there wasn't so much smoke in the air, that would make things brighter. Long and serious conversations with my cat are a biggie. Pity getting out with my camera doesn't happen every day, work is going crazy.

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    1. Of course we are friends. For many years. And you are not THAT old

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  13. We HAVE to look at these small things! One for me is that my 13 year old daughter lets me wake her up in the morning for school by scratching on her back (I am treasuring that she will let me right now). Oh, and Schitt's Creek - yes! I am in middle of Season 4 right now and the thing that surprised me most is how much I actually care about these characters, including Alexis (who I thought I would never like). Not so much Roland though (never a big fan of Chris Elliott). And, when done with the series, I am going to MISS the fantastical pronunciation of words from Catherine O'Hara. Such a sweet, fun show.

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    1. Totally agree with you. I had no idea how much I would come to adore these characters and all of their crazy mannerisms and personalities. I do love Alexis and am constantly cracking up at Moira, especially when she says "baby" (bebe). I am so sad for it to end!

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  14. 100% worry here, and I haven't been running, because we're busting our humps to get our house (Westminster) listed and sold. And of course I worry about that - being sedentary, the negative health effects, and the house not selling, our house we're building not closing, etc. Glad to see you post. I hope you can do that full hiking loop in the foreseeable future - sounds AMAZEBALLS. My guilty pleasure to boost my outlook/mood is cheesy warm fuzzy shows on Netflix (and HGTV). Currently in season 2 of Hart of Dixie. I told myself i would only watch while on the treadmill, but that hasn't worked out so well.

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    1. Selling a house sucks, especially right now. Where you going? Best of luck, it will sell. It's a good time to do it. And watch as much of Hart of Dixie as you want. Whatever it takes.

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  15. Don't ever go away! I am so happy to see your newsletter pop up. I haven't written my blog in almost 5 months. Hey 2020 brought me an unexpected divorce, COVID, turning 65 and sadness. So your letter brought me up. Made me realize I'm not the only one going thru this and I need to start living again!

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    1. Oh no. What a year you've had. I'm sorry. But, yes, don't give up...start living again!

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  16. Thank you so much for this! I've been an avid follower of your blog since I found the post about not shitting yourself on a run. (Which I still read and laugh at often!) This new post might be my new favourite - thank you for being so honest and open and also making me laugh - Please don't stop doing what you do! So, what do I do each day? I try to move everyday and that's been the best thing for me, even if at the start "moving" was doing laps on my rooftop in NYC when everything below was chaos! This whole world going to shit thing has given me a bit more time to stop and remember what really matters, and for that I am very thankful.
    Oh, and gin. ALL the gin.

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    1. I like your attitude about keeping the focus on what really matters! (which is clearly gin lol)

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  17. Woohoo you’re not gone 😊 glad you’re finding ways to work through the morass if 2020 👍 I’m lucky I have ponies to play with - best waste of time 🤪 nothing like going to yard and slipping into the pony-space-time vortex 😊

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  18. Trips cancelled... in fact, to be headed to OR coast in 10 days.. thought covid might stop us and it has to some degree.. road trip instead of flying, but now fires. I want the full experience and it just seems "things" come up to hinder the plans.. I daily walk or bike and hike once a week and that keeps me sane. Now thinking some virtual races to add to the mix. Thank you so much for your humor. It's a slice of sunlight in a rather bleak year.

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    1. Hi Peg. I hope you can salvage the OR trip. Those nasty fires. Geez. What else can happen? Or maybe I shouldn't ask

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  19. I have missed your blog, though I have kept up with you on IG. We are leading similar lives, my oldest (22) just graduated from college and is taking a gap year before grad school and is working (so far, in person) at a high school. My son (20) is in his junior year of college and paying for an apartment but taking on line classes *sigh*. I am 52 and a social worker working with the elderly and doing all of my assessments over the phone/computer, fun stuff. I have discovered, and highly recommend, "Cobra Kai" on Netflix - I think you will love it, brings back the 80's and fun times!!

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    1. Wow I feel like we are living parallel lives! Definitely going to check out Cobra Kai. I did hear it was good. Have you watched "Skid Row Marathon" yet? Really good. It's on Amazon Prime. Perfect for a runner/social worker.

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  20. Thanks for this.... it is so hard to get lost in the weeds of negative.
    My ALLS right now is morning walks with the dog & enjoying time to work on puzzles which I haven't done in years - always been too busy.
    And if I may, if you haven't watched it, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a great show. Well worth the binge :)

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    1. It is nice to pick up things we haven't done in years. I wish I still had my flute! We have watched Maisel and loved it. Great recommendation

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  21. I have a high school junior AND senior with very messed up important high school years (thanks covid), and a college junior (also living in an apartment "at school" but ... not), AND I'm a teacher. So 2020 is a doozy. But my little bright spots are: still running or swimming daily, discovering new reality tv that is readily available on Netflix while the "regular" shows have been on hiatus (hi Married at First Sight and Alone), and lots of quality time with my 8 year old mastiff, who is entering her autumnal years and showing her age so I love on her a lot.

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    1. Wow you've got A LOT on your plate. I am glad you can find some bright spots. I really want to watch Alone. We are now watching the "Worlds Toughest Race" and it is so good (eco challenge, Fiji).

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  22. Love this blog! My way to keep positive is two fold, every day at my work (home office), I try to do one thing to make somebody’s day better OR translated as “Give a Shit”. Secondly for me, keep running and enjoy the fresh air I get to breathe in on my local trails here in Nova Scotia. You rock Beth!

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    1. Novia Scotia sounds wonderful! And I like your advice about making someone's day better...we should all have that mentality

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  23. 1. Run
    2. Coffee
    3. Yoga
    4. Wine
    5. Hug the people I live with
    6. Repeat 1-5

    And we are 100% friends, at least in my mind. And in a pandemic we all need more friends! 😜

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  24. I work in a hospital, this Covid shit is a doozy and I am just sick of it. I worry about my 80 yr old parents in Washington state, they aren't being as cautious as I wish they would be (Casinos for fucks sake!). I settled my son into his dorm at Western and despite that being sad for me, he is having a fantastic time! Loves it! They already had small classes and many have been outdoors while the weather is great. No +'s since August and it is absolute heaven for outdoor activities. The things that get me through the day are the daily Snapchats from both my kids at college and wine. And the great basil vodka I made, Basil lime Gimlet!

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    1. Casinos! Wow your parents are brave. Although I did recently go to a casino in Vegas to play blackjack and we were basically in enclosed Plexiglas cubes, so...anyway, I have a friend whose son just started at Western and is loving it too. Hopefully their cases stay low or non existent! On the other hand, San Diego State is exploding with 800 cases in the pst three weeks.

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  25. 2020 has felt intensely more REAL to me, like life is turned to ultraviolet and stuffed with raw jalapeno peppers. I got engaged! We are going to hike up a mountain and self-hitch soon! My 1.5 year dog was diagnosed the beginning of the summer with a Bad cancer and underwent surgery and now chemotherapy. We are looking for a house! Some family members narrowly escaped harrowing health scares! Covid...racism...climate change...the state of our democracy. I'm a big runner with my two border collies but the ALLS right now is having more simple quiet moments. The one NYE 2020 goal I have that is still en-force is practicing recall 30x/per day/per dog every day in 2020. Having their sweet faces whirl around at my whistle and come flying up to my feet to see what delicious and/or fun thing I have as a reward makes me smile every single time. And it's hard to be thinking about anything else when dog training.

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