Every so often, I get into a funk, the doldrums, a sad bad mood. Sometimes it passes off on its own. Sometimes the judicious application of self-care waves it away. Sometimes not. But I always try.
Until this week, I hadn’t noticed what an impressive array of bad-mood busters I’d accumulated in my repertoire. This week, I tried them all in various combinations:
- vigorous exercise
- dressing up
- dressing down in my schlumphiest pajamas
- one-minute dance party
- cheerful music
- meaningful work
- frivolous work
- cheerful idle chitchat
- earnest loving chitchat
- send out postcards (or any other small tangible act to brighten someone else’s day)
- eat and drink conspicuously healthily
- eat and drink delicious junk food
- a bit more caffeine
- a bit less caffeine
- make friends laugh
- analyze my feelings
- make someone laugh
- laugh myself
- laugh at myself
- read a good book
- take a hot bath
- peel (and then, y’know, eat) citrus fruit
- bake bread
- practice gratitude
and the number-one all-time break-glass-in-case-of-emergency cheer-up method:
- pretend to be a mighty dinosaur by stomping around waving my arms and saying “GRAR.”
The Fella: Is the show paused?
Elsa: No. [pushes some buttons, nothing changes] No.
The Fella: [notices sudden silence everywhere.] I think the world is paused.
The Fella and Elsa together: Nooooo!
Elsa: I think the world ended, honey. I’ll check Twitter.
Even if you don’t feel tipsy during the Halloween party, look for these dead giveaways:
- A complete inability to remove the foil from the champagne bottle, or to figure out how to uncage the cork without removing the foil.
- Taking the stairs down from the hosts’ apartment ever so slowly, getting both feet on each riser ever so carefully before moving on to the next.
- Your partner saying “You’re doin’ great!” at least three times during the five-minute walk home.
- Shucking off your bra and tights from under your costume in front of a (curtained) window while cheerfully giving the finger to the hypothetical neighbors who might be offended by the unintentional display.
- Being ever-so-proud! that you remembered to wash your face before bed.
- Waking up late the next morning ravenous for every smeary, fatty mass-market food being trumpeted by TV commercials.
- When your partner reveals that he brought home a frozen pizza last night, you rush wordlessly to him, fluttering your hands, and finally manage “I’m so glad we got married!”
Things I learned to appreciate later in life:
- sour cream
- Mexican food of all kinds. Now consider that I spent my formative years in Texas and only discovered Mexican food after I moved away from it. Awwwww, so sad.
- a sponge to wash the dishes. I still prefer a brush for most things, but The Fella introduced me to dishwashing with sponges and I have to admit, they’re better for some items.
- flip flops. I was a Dr. Scholl’s kid all the way.
- Matt Damon. I only started reeeeeally appreciating him during the first act of The Informant!.
- Barkeepers Friend. Boy howdy, everyone who told me this stuff was miraculously perfect? They were understating it.
- the gust of wind that sometimes blows, puffing out the curtains and stirring the air, in the seconds before the rainfall starts.
- making a balanced, delicious dinner seemingly out of nothing when the cupboard seems bare.
- when the season changes from sandals to boots, or vice versa. (But honestly, mostly sandals-to-boots.)
- cocktail glasses.
- wooden matches, the bigger the better.
- the heel off a loaf of homemade bread, still warm from the oven.
- the mute button.
- ginger jam.
Today, I had a disappointment. It was big. And I’m okay with that.
Here’s why: I know that true disappointment, deep disappointment, means I’ve identified a goal and tried my darnedest to achieve it. Not getting it is almost beside the point: trying is the point. Failure means I’m trying, really trying, to achieve goals, even if they might be out of my reach.
So, what can I fail at next? I’m compiling quite a list of possibilities over here, things to aim at and — maybe, just maybe — fail.
Let’s see: I got our always-problematic TimeWarner account corrected & reset (and got the direct number for the very helpful local supervisor dedicated to fixing any future difficulties), made a cogent argument against portraying the small benefits available to women within a marginalizing sexist system as unearned privilege, danced for 10 minutes (the first 3.33 minutes of music embedded for your convenience), formed a small personal philosophy for sweetening my inevitable dealing with sour people, and cleaned the kitchen.
Not bad for a Saturday in pajamas.
I’m 12 days into the abundance project, in which I empty out our clutter, give away what’s more useful in other hands, throw away what’s not useful to anyone, and appreciate the things that I keep. Continue reading
-clementines. I love how easy they are to peel, how tiny they are, how each segment is just the right size to pop into my mouth.
- spinning kids around: grabbing a child by the wrists and twirl twirl twirl, that little face beaming and giggling up at you, until you both get wobbly-legged and dizzy. Yesterday I spun the smallest child at a family picnic; by the time I set him down, all the rest had lined up for a turn. When you spin more than a few children in a row, you can feel it the next day in your shoulders, arms, and back. It occurs to me that I would get more than enough exercise every day if I could just spin children for 30 minutes or so, including the breaks so I don’t whoops.
- clear wine bottles. I soak the bottle in cold water so the glue softens, the label peels off, and I can easily scrub the glass clean with a sponge. Wash well inside and out. I use clear bottles to store grains, to fill with fruit-infused liqueurs, or to serve chilled water.
Things I slept through this morning, according to The Fella:
- yardwork and a leafblower just under our bedroom window
- someone yelling at those workers to SHUT UP
- children yelling and playing
- a loud and long alarm in the building next door
Things I slept through in my dream:
- my dream-self peeing (which normally snaps me right out of a dream)
- Zooey Deschanel dropping off a yardful of rambunctious children at my quiet and sedate daycare
- someone yelling at Zooey Deschanel’s noisy brats to SHUT UP
- a loud and long alarm in the building where my dream took place
- being Lily Tomlin