Posted in cancer, connections, differences, ebb & flow, mindset, socializing, thoughtfulness, tips, vulnerability

Talking to people going through hard things

A friend’s father-in-law is in his final hours. I would not text her right now to complain about … anything.

Thinking about that led me to realize that perhaps people get situations confused. Or just aren’t able to find out what direction to go in other difficult situations.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was inpatient at the hospital, had a seemingly endless string of tests and procedures, one of which landed me in ICU overnight, and was somewhat overwhelmed. But within two weeks, I was home.

Despite being home, cancer treatment often lasts a long time. I was admitted to the hospital in mid-May and finished treatments in mid-January. I’ve known too many people who tally up years of treatment.

Once the initial storm settled, socializing was really important, because I couldn’t do most of the other things I was accustomed to doing.

A relative had gotten a flat tire, and started a conversation with, “Well, I know this is nothing compared to what you’re going through, but …”

And no, it’s not, but in real life, that doesn’t matter. I mean, I wouldn’t complain about what my spouse made for dinner last night to someone who was food insecure, but the people in my social circle are, for the most part, all secure in food, housing, and other basic needs. (Except healthcare. Welcome to America.)

OK, I got off on a tangent there, but what I’m saying is—the majority of my people share similar annoyances, with the occasional life-shaking event.

Is the life-shaking event finite? A death, the onset of serious illness or injury, loss of a job, for example?

If yes, they’re not in a good place for you to bug them with minutiae. (“I was just diagnosed with cancer.” “OMG really? Can you believe I got a flat on my way to work today?”) Choose another friend for that.

If their life-shaking event is chronic (whether permanent or temporary) and the initial blow has passed, then you need to know, in response to a story about the flat you got on the way to work, would they say:

Must be nice to be able to go to work/have a car to get a flat/etc.

or

Oh man! That sucks! Why did it take AAA so long to get there?

And base your decision on that.

If you don’t know, ask.

“Hey, I know you’re going through xyz shitty thing right now, and I wasn’t sure if you wanted to talk about that, if you were looking for conversation just to be kind of light, or if you were looking for just normal conversation.”

Or something like that.

Then people who really need you just to be there and hang out have you there and hanging out (um, maybe not literally), and people who really don’t want to hear about your shit won’t be offended by your insensitivity.

Posted in ebb & flow, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness

Old and new: rambling thoughts

The photo was taken in Tempe, Arizona. The building on the left is an old flour mill, built in 1918 and used until 1998.

The building on the right is a glass office building. I don’t know when it was built (how do you find that information?), but it’s obviously much newer than 1918.

The juxtaposition of the buildings was striking to me, which is why I snapped a photo.

There’s so much development that’s considered progress or improvement that just … isn’t. (And really, you could potentially make that argument about either building.)

I know that where I live and work and play were all once desert, and then were slightly populated, and now are crowded, and as such, there’s a bit of hypocrisy in believing that it should stop now. Why now?

We have enough.

There are enough vacant buildings that we can repurpose space that is already developed, whether in reusing existing structures or knocking them down and starting over.

Undeveloped space is important. Let’s make do with what we have.

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, food, physical health

The former deliciousness of peanut brittle

For a long time, peanut brittle was one of my favorites. And it was an infrequent treat, which made it even more delightful.

It’s been years, maybe decades, since I had peanut brittle.

There was some at work the other day.

I took a piece. Or two…

And you know what? It wasn’t that delicious.

I relayed this story to a friend who reacted with sadness, but no! It’s not sad at all!

Peanut brittle is crap. It’s (formerly) tasty crap, but it’s still crap.

And now, if it shows up in the teachers’ lounge again, I won’t have to expend any energy to pass it by, because it’s not delicious.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The list of things that are no longer delicious just got one thing longer.

And yes, there have been a few things that I had for the first time in years and yes, they were still amazing. (A cream doughnut from McMillan’s Bakery immediately comes to mind. Only ate a couple of bites but YUM.)

But it’s OK to let your taste buds get pickier about junk food. Your body will thank you for it.

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, mental health, mindset, tips

Making just a little time to let yourself feel better

I found a good reminder for myself. Something that I was doing that I shared with my online world a few years ago that maybe will help you, too.

Here’s the context:

I was working part time, teaching band. The schedule was brutal, many of the classes were brutal, and there was very little professional fulfillment.

I was taking Anatomy and Physiology online at the same time. Super-interesting, but also brutal.

And parenting a 5-year-old.

That semester, The Climbing Daddy (who was not yet my husband) and I were also house-hunting and ending up buying (we closed in December, shortly after finals, in the midst of concert season). Because, y’know, there wasn’t already enough going on.

But I was using Duo Lingo, a language-learning app, and doing a bit each day, among other things, and apparently, it helped the overwhelm.

This is what I wrote:

So there’s work, which is … less than amazing.

There’s A&P, which is interesting but sucking out whatever life blood work leaves.

Meal planning and prep has gone to hell.

Exercise is still happening—almost exclusively running and climbing—but not as frequently as I’d like.

But I’ve done a little bit of Spanish every day for almost three months, and I’ve recently started playing my uke most days just for 5-10 minutes (F is learning, too, so we play together), and these things help me feel a little bit like I have free time. Which makes everything else a little more bearable.

 

In conversation surrounding this, I mentioned that our eating was still relatively healthy, just more pre-made foods which I wasn’t excited about, partially because of quality, and partially because it was causing a lot more trash.

But the point is—if you’re feeling like you’re at your limit, take 10 or 20 minutes and do something you enjoy. It’s not that much time, you can totally find it some days, even if not daily, and it will help your mental game.

And it’s nearly all a mental game, isn’t it?