Thursday, September 29, 2016

Filling In

When you freelance, a great deal of what you're doing is "filling in"--working in place of someone who is sick or promoted or on maternity leave. It means getting up to speed quickly, closing a gap, making it seem as though nothing is all that different from the normal day-to-day.

So, after my many years of filling in, you would think I would be good at it. And perhaps I am, because there are days when I feel as though I am filling in everywhere--

I'm filling in for the nannies we used to have when I try to schedule my children's time and help them clean their room.

I'm filling in for the better chefs in my household (or for the takeout places in my neighborhood) when I throw together whatever dinner works with the ingredients we have.

I'm filling in for my daughter at college when I attempt to help her siblings with pickups and pep talks and homework.

I'm filling in for for the lottery check that never manages to land in our mailbox when I look for every hour of work, and every new opportunity to make it all work.

Sometimes, when you're a freelancer, filling in turns into full time, and what you thought you were just doing temporarily becomes a little more long-term. So, maybe filling in is more than just holding a place. Perhaps it's training or practice, or just making the best of where you are. So, as with freelancing, I fill in as well as I can. Because you never know how things will turn out when you're filling in. So, you may as well make the most of the opportunity.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dear Ms. Nixon,

It would be hard to write today without writing about the passing of Agnes Nixon, the creator of One Life to Live, All My Children, and Loving, and a creative force in the soap opera genre. I could say that her work enabled me to write my high school senior speech about the social value of soap operas. I could talk about how I began looking at Philadelphia area colleges because I knew that her soap characters, and she, lived in that area. I could reference how so many years of my childhood AND of my professional life were what they were thanks to her (though I never met her personally). But as I comb through my Facebook feed, I see that I am not that different from so many who were touched by Ms. Nixon's contributions and dedication to our field. Not only did her shows employ an enormous number of the people with whom I spent many working hours, her "stories" affected their lives and the lives of fans of all ages all over. I could wax eloquent, but not more eloquent than many of those people. Yet, were it not for what she did, what I did for so many years, and consequently, what I am doing now, would not exist. She helped to make sure, with the stories she told, and with the work that those stories created, that a great many of us would be immersed in soap, but never washed up, and for all of that, I am grateful.

The words of my colleagues--some of her greatest fans--inspire me, and remind me just how lucky I was to be a part of it all. Rest in peace, Agnes Nixon. And wherever you are, keep telling stories.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When Words Fail (with thanks to Shrek The Musical)

There are times when what I have to say fits into a nice little several hundred word package. And then there are times when the hours are short and the crises are long, when there are not enough words, or there are way too many words to tie up in that several hundred word package. Which makes me wonder--what is it we do when words fail?

When words fail, are thoughts enough?

When words fail, does a shared meal fill the gap?

When words fail, can a hug say what you want to say?

When words fail, is there still music?

When words fail, are there still pictures in our heads?

When words fail, are there still ideas?

When words fail, is it still worth writing?


Because maybe, that is a word that never fails...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Broadway Flea

Sometimes, it feels as though most of what we do as parents is for our kids. We attend little league games and birthday parties. We bring ourselves up to speed on their current interests. We go where they need to go.

But every so often, their interests intersect with our own. Where they want to go matches up with where we want to go. What we would do with our time coincides with what they want to do.

And so it was that I spent part of my day at the annual Broadway Flea Market. Many years ago, when I was single, and new to the New York area, the event was also relatively new, and I excitedly combed through tables of theater memorabilia. I couldn't afford much, but the experience of being in the thick of it was enough.

The event is much bigger now. It now commands the better part of two blocks, and it includes more tables, more theater people, and much bigger crowds. And while I was happy to go (and even ended up with the day off to do so at a leisurely pace), it was my daughter who had marked it on her calendar months before. Though I spent some of my time combing through tables on my own as I did all those years ago, it was my daughter who pointed out actors and interesting show tidbits, and made it an even more interesting event than it would otherwise have been.

Sometimes, it feels as though most of what we do as parents is for our kids. But sometimes, we turn around and what we're doing is simply with them. And sometimes, a little bit of "with" makes all the "for" well worth it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Having experienced a week of day shifts, I made my way home with the rush hour crowds in time for a dinner time dinner. It was an odd feeling, being in among the crowds. While I had, I suppose, done it all week, somehow, on this day, it felt like life. Somehow, the five-day stretch had made it feel real, as though a new phase had begun.

No new phase has begun. This was simply a few-day change of scenery. I have spent five days seeing different crowds of commuters, five days spending daylight differently, five days covering the bases in unusual ways. And though the brain has adjusted remarkably quickly, it will have to adjust just as quickly back, because that is the way life goes.

We spend our lives looking forward to or dreading all sorts of five-day challenges. "If I can just make it through," we say, or "I can't wait until," we think, and then, in the blink of an eye, the five days are gone, and we return to the thirty or one hundred or three hundred sixty ahead of us. After all, five days, no matter how good, or how bad, or how different, or how special, is just five days, a tiny blip in our lives. So, while we might enjoy or suffer through five days, what we really live through is the other three hundred sixty.

My five days are over, and I move on--to different commuting patterns and different life schedules. And the trip home that is not on the fifth day, but on just one day out of many.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Eleventh Inning

It is virtually impossible for me to stay awake till the eleventh inning--often, whether I've worked a whole day or I've got to go in for an overnight day, even making it through the ninth is a challenge. But when you're watching baseball, the outcome often comes down to what happens in the last inning. Fall asleep before that, and you can miss the most exciting part--and misjudge the outcome. 

I can always read about the game, or even watch highlights, the next day. But it's not the same as the edge of my seat, nail biting experience of watching it while it happens and wondering what the result will be.

I suppose that's how life is though. It is always more exciting to be right in the thick of things. It's just impossible to be in the thick of everything all at the same time. So we choose--do we throw ourselves into work, or into our children's latest endeavor? Do we immerse ourselves in what is exciting to our partner, or in our own favorite hobbies? Do we focus on what is, or do we devote our time and attention to what could be?

Each time, there is a choice to be made. There are nights when I bail out well before the ninth inning, so that I can manage an overnight or an early morning. And there are nights when I give up the idea of a good sleep so that I can have that down to the wire experience. And each time, I hope that I am making the right choice for the moment. We can never really know. But I guess that's our challenge--every time we step up to the plate...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

But That's Not How I Do It

My son did a complete backpack overhaul today, consolidating papers and folders and assorted other "who knows what" into a single binder, complete with dividers and labels. The conversion process, complete with the room-wide explosion of numerous pieces of paper and plastic, took what seemed like several hours. I can't say exactly, because I was too busy stressing about his process even to keep track of time. I couldn't help thinking that critical pieces of schoolwork or homework or class rules would get lost in the shuffle, or that he would find himself lost when he tried to find each subject within his giant consolidated location. I guess I should have handled it differently. But part of parenthood, perhaps the hardest part, is backing off and letting your kids do things not your way, but their own. And so it was that several exhausting hours later, he slid his nifty new binder into his bag, and I slid my stressed out old self into bed.

I should know about backing off and letting people do what they do. More times than I can count, a producer has sat in my edit room and questioned my method for everything I did. I know firsthand how debilitating second-guessing can be, and how empowering being given time and space can be. I am far from knowing everything, but I learn the most when I am given the time to figure out, rather than being judged on my process of figuring out. The fact that I do something differently doesn't mean that I do it wrong. Likewise, the fact that my son assembled his binder differently (not the same way I would) didn't make it wrong. It just made it different.

I have high hopes that the hard-fought, and carefully organized, binder will accomplish everything it needs to accomplish. If it doesn't, I will likely spend a few more hours watching my son regroup with a different set of school supplies. And maybe then, I will do a little better with realizing that "how I do it" isn't the only way it can be done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Normal Life

I wake up before the sun, but that's okay, because I have slept all night. It is the start of a week of daysides, during which the world and I will be on the same schedule. It is confusing, and thrilling. It is exhilarating and wearying. It is the change we all need to shake things up a little. 

I am constantly being told how great it would be if I worked "a normal schedule," so that I might sleep when others slept, dress when others dressed, communicate when others communicated. But what I am realizing, even more on these dayside days than during my overnight days, is that "normal" is really just a word we use to understand on our own terms. The people on the buses at midnight remind me that for many, overnight IS normal. My kids' developing morning skills remind me that at least for now, my working while they sleep IS normal. So, this week, as I face masses of commuters and an early morning wake up, I realize that "normal" is just a way to differentiate what happens in our lives. Perhaps this week is normal. Or perhaps it is the least normal part of my life, simply a diversion to help wake me up. Either way, my job is to adjust to it. Either way, my sense of balance depends on believing it is normal. And I suppose that is what "normal" really means--that which we can manage to balance, when everything else shifts.

Is this a normal week? Perhaps in your world, but not as much in mine. Because normal is as much about how you catch life as it is about what life happens to throw at you. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Good Landing

I recently heard the line on a cartoon "Any landing you walk away from is a good landing." Now, I have to admit, some of my favorite life lessons over the years have been from cartoons, so this was not so surprising to me. But in the moment I heard it, it rang remarkably true, and relevant to any number of things I have experienced in my life...

Being fired from One Life to Live may have felt like a crash landing, but I walked away and landed on a sitcom that taught me a ton and generated opportunities, not to mention connections and friendships I have to this day.

Handling my children's rejections from assorted kindergartens certainly felt like a bumpy ride at the time, but I, and they, walked away, and into good kindergartens, good high schools, and good colleges.

The end of the New York soaps felt like a slow, agonizing descent, but I walked away with good memories, a reasonable nest egg, and the freedom to explore new adventures.

Unemployment felt like circling forever and often landing at the wrong airports, but I walked away, more than once, and found my way out of wherever I was and to wherever I needed to be.

Not being asked felt like the crashing and burning of my professional reputation, but I walked away with my reputation, and my skill set, not just intact, but broader.

In among the smooth rides are more crash landings than we'd ever want to experience on a plane. But more often than not, we don't just walk away, we run, and jump, and soar--which sounds like a pretty good landing to me.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week End

It used to be that weekends were all ours. Between weekday work, and kids who were young enough that we could plan their schedules for them, we could pretty much choose how the weekends would go.

But times change, and these days, our weekends are a constant negotiation. Will we be working? Will one or more of our kids have a school project or a weekend class? Will we all agree on how to spend our down time?

And so it happens that the weekends become just an extension of the week, rather than a break from it. But this weekend, times and commitments (or lack of commitments) converged, and we accomplished an actual weekend--a real break from the mundane week. Was it an earthshattering adventure? Not really. It was simply a little time out of time, a chance to escape from one week and regroup for the next, an opportunity to be away and together. Such a weekend may not happen again for a long time--it is not often that all the necessary factors converge. But this weekend, we enjoyed a much-needed break. This weekend, we enjoyed each other. This weekend, we were reminded, just a little, what a weekend can do. And perhaps now, we are a little more equipped to start a new week.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Playing Catch Up

By the end of my time on the soaps, we were taking off whole weeks on a regular basis, as it was a huge money saving measure. We shot numerous extra scenes daily to make this work, but each time we returned from a dark week, there was some feeling of playing catch up--of getting back to that comfortable number of weeks ahead, and of getting back into the swing of many-item days.

These days, my life, whether punctuated by down time or not, feels like a game of catch up. I try to keep myself in the loop of my kids' schoolwork, but there always seems to be a subject or a test that falls through the cracks. I am (knock wood) working and generating income, but much of the time, unexpected expenses eat that up before I know it. I carve out the time to do, to help, to write, but sometimes, there are just not enough hours.

Playing catch up is frustrating. It undermines our feelings of control and accomplishment, and it makes us feel less than ready for situations we face. And yet, just as it was in soaps, we manage to right ourselves and move on. It may take a few extra steps, but we get back to where we need to be. And maybe somewhere in there, playing catch up motivates us to work ahead when we are able.

Playing catch up doesn't feel good. I would rather be on schedule and on top of things every day. But when I play the catch up game, I learn a few more of the rules of getting ahead. When I play the catch up game, I get to roll the dice for my next big chance. So maybe catch up is not so bad at all. Because as long as we're willing to play the game, we might actually come out winners.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pushing Through

I still remember the words of one of my earliest producers--"you're out for the week." I had coughed my way through early morning rehearsal, and probably looked terrible. As has continued to be my M.O., I was intending to work right through what that time turned out to be bronchitis. I argued with her--it wasn't that bad, I said. But she held firm, and for a week, I padded around my apartment. It was one of a very few times when I gave in and missed work. And if she hadn't forced the issue, I have a feeling I would have kept barreling (and coughing) right through.

And so it is that the week's whole Hillary Clinton pneumonia uproar has really struck a chord with me. I, too, still go to work, even when I am coughing. I, too, still do the necessary errands and pickups, even when a fall or a strain has pummeled me. I, too, say "yes," even when it might be a whole lot easier to say "no."

Am I right? Who knows? All I know is that that is the way I roll, and, I would venture to say, how many of the people I know roll too. Obstacles are obstacles, not complete roadblocks. Challenges are challenges, not invitations to failure. Life goes on, and if we don't push through to go on with it, we miss things. And I for one would rather not miss anything.

So I push through, as often as I can, and I can't help but understand, and respect, the people who do the same. There will be times when I have to accept "you're out for the week." In the meantime, you will find me, very much "in" for the week, pushing through.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Learning The City

I learned New York City by running errands for my first boss. I bought gifts on Fifth Avenue, and groceries on the Upper West Side. I picked up books and caviar in Midtown and tickets at Lincoln Center. And little by little, I came to know the city--well, at least the part of it that was far beyond my own budget. I have filled in a lot of gaps since then, but those errands were how I began my transition from a suburban college graduate to a city-savvy adult.

My children, on the other hand, are New Yorkers by birth. They have lived nowhere else, and have been riding city buses since infancy (I'll admit, I waited until they were less unpredictable, and less stroller-bound to take them on the subway). They have been "learning" New York City since long before they even thought of it as "learning." And as I watch, I learn a little bit too...

They have learned the city by traveling to play dates with friends who live as far away (yet still in the city) as possible. And I have visited neighborhoods I might never otherwise have encountered.

They have learned the city by getting to school (we have rarely chosen the close, obvious ones) and back each day. And I have discovered both the efficient and inefficient ways to do those trips.

They have learned the city by watching the opening of ice cream and doughnut shops and the disappearance of their favorite restaurants (and to think, all I learned about was fancy food!)

They have learned the city by looking for Pokemons. And I have explored a few new areas, while teaching my kids to look up a little more along the way.

For my kids, learning the city isn't what it was all those years ago for me. While it was for me learning a place unlike my suburban stomping grounds, for them, it is simply exploring their own backyard. They may still have a lot to learn. But most days, I realize I still have a lot to learn myself.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Simple Gifts

A few days ago, a show that I worked on over a year ago aired on PBS. Working mostly in news these past few years, I have become used to fast turnaround, and to working on material that is relevant in the moment, but not far beyond that moment. So, when I heard that the product of my several day location shoot so long ago was going to air, I'll admit, I was pretty excited.

Through many years in soaps, I didn't always keep track of air dates. After all, in a medium in which material was shot so out of order, it was hard enough to keep track of shoot dates and storyline days. Still, when I had worked on something special, I was curious about the response when it aired. With the PBS shoot, though, I knew that the finished product would take time, so I enjoyed the process (one of the most enjoyable shoots I've worked), and then went back to my regular life. Not only was it in Kentucky, worlds removed from my regular life, but it was one of those jobs that come along from time to time but don't pay the monthly bills. It was a week of hard work, heartfelt blogs, and pure satisfaction in doing what I do. And then it was over.

This week, the results of my labors, and of the even bigger labors of others involved, made it to air. And seeing that reminds me why I do what I do, why I stay in the game, whatever the game is this week or this month or this year.

On Live From Lincoln Center, the show was called Simple Gifts. And what a gift it was to me too.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Supposed To Be

The days and nights go, often blending one into another. Sleep to prepare for work, work to pay for life, celebrate life to make it all worthwhile. And create and help and clean and enjoy, if there is time.

It works, if there is balance. It works, if there is acceptance of the parts--not just some of them, but all. But sometimes, I wonder, is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Is this who I'm supposed to be?

"Supposed to" is a slippery slope. It delivers us to events we'd rather not have take up our time and has us do things because our neighbors do them. "Supposed to" makes us second-guess our choices. "Supposed to" makes us feel unfit and out of place, and forces us to question our steps and our accomplishments.

So, when I begin to ask myself those "supposed to" questions, I hesitate. There's nothing wrong, you see, with evaluating where we are from time to time. But imposing "supposed to" on every situation tends to have us judge our own circumstances with the standards of others. Going by "supposed to" shakes the balance, so that "what is" can't work.

Am I supposed to be where I am now, doing what I'm doing? I guess that is a question we can always ask ourselves--but only as long as we can see "supposed to be" by our own needs and standards, not just the needs and standards of others, and allow the pieces of "supposed to be" to work together. Am I supposed to be sleeping now? Maybe, if I'm working later. Am I supposed to be cleaning now? Maybe, if there's time before work and after helping with homework. Am I supposed to be creating now? Perhaps that is something for tomorrow.

Who am I supposed to be? It depends on the day. And some days, who I'm supposed to be is just who I am right now.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Same Old, Same New

A good breakfast, a carefully picked first day outfit, a few pictures, and a new school year begins. It is new, and yet oddly the same as so many years past. Each year comes with new moments, but we have done the dance so many times, we just know the steps. So, I wonder--have I missed something? Shouldn't there be bells and whistles, tears and cheers?

Sometimes, however, the big events turn out to be not as monumental as we anticipated them to be. Sometimes, if we have been present all along the way, our presence is all that is required. It's not that this event is any less important. It's simply that we are more equipped for it than we once were. And it's not that we should disregard it, having done it for so many years (after all, there's nothing like sending a child to college to remind me how we won't always have this yearly milestone). It's just that we meet it as more of an old friend rather than as a new acquaintance. We have been here (or close to here) before. And we can handle it.

So, we walk without wailing. We begin without bemoaning an end. We experience what is very much the same as it has been for so many years before, knowing that in reality, it is not the "same old, same old" at all.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Are You Ready?

As we have approached the start of a new school year, I have wondered quite often if we were ready. We've bought the supplies (at least those we figured we'd need). We've adjusted our sleep schedules (well, we've tried). We've accomplished some last-minute appointments and tied up some summer loose ends. So, on the face of it, we are ready.

But even with supplies in hand and loose ends tied up, how often are we really ready? I can't help but think back to the times at ABC when I was passed over for a promotion, even as I thought I was ready and waiting. Eventually, my opportunities came, and I would like to think they left me in a good place for what my life was to become. But there were certainly times when I kicked myself for not being ready enough.

So, as we prepare to start this school year, I hope that "ready" means not just packed up and wearing new shoes, but open to new experiences. I hope that "ready" means not just up on time, but up for new challenges. I hope that "ready" means not just that my kids are ready to do the work, but that I am prepared to be there for them when they need my help.

Are we ready? I have no idea. It's often hard to know until we're smack in the middle of the event, the job, the challenge. So, we leap, and we hope we make it. And we leap again. Until when it really matters, we're ready--backpack, new shoes, and all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Keeping It Simple

Lunch out? Or homemade mac and cheese?

A night on the town? Or a little TV with a blanket on the couch?

This year's bestseller? Or the front page of today's paper?

The great American novel? Or a writing installment every day?

Champagne toasts? Or seltzer laughs?

A sweeping saga? Or a small story worth telling?

Sometimes, my children remind me, and sometimes, I remind myself--it's not just the big things that define our world. Often, it is the little moments, the simple joys, that make our lives the way we want them to be. What are we doing today? I don't know. But let's keep it simple.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What Freelancing Buys

Having worked one version or another of freelance for most of my career, I ponder every so often how my life differs from the lives of my friends who are, and have mostly always been, staff employees. From where I sit, at least today, freelancing buys...

...all the "I need" and "I want" items that being out of work means you can't buy.

...the stress of if you'll work, when you'll work, and how much you'll work.

...the need to say "yes."

...the ability to say "no."

...working on a variety of projects.

...not working (at least sometimes) on your birthday or the first day of school, if that's what you want.

...working on weekends (at least sometimes), whether that's what you want or not.

...insecurity, when you compare it to being staff., when you compare it to being unemployed. people, some of the time. challenges, most of the time. chances, all of the time.'s that balance sheet looking...?

Monday, September 5, 2016

The New New Normal

I fall into bed early, not because I will be headed off to work for midnight, but because, after an actual night's sleep, I will be headed off to work in the morning. There is a glimmer of what my life once was--early morning rehearsals, and multiple alarms to make sure I got up for them, commuting with the rest of the world, rather than against it. It is amazing how readily our systems adapt to something new, and turn the old into just a glimmer. In just a handful of months, my body and brain have come to believe that night is the time to work and day the time to sleep, despite years to the contrary. In just a handful of months, routines have changed and abnormal has become, well, normal. But I guess that is how we manage every change--it is how our kids survive the transition from preschool to kindergarten and from high school to college. It is how we survive the evolution from coupledom to parenthood to empty nest. We adapt because we have to, because life throws us changes. And if we don't adapt--our sleep schedules, our perceptions, our expectations--we will simply be battered each day.

So tonight, I sleep early again so that tomorrow, I can wake up early. And I remind myself not to worry so much about what is normal. Because whatever is normal today certainly won't be by next week.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Life Skills

I haven't taught my kids nearly enough about doing their laundry. I haven't been vigilant enough about their practicing good oral hygiene, and I'm not sure they could navigate without a GPS. I'll admit it--I worry that I have left them underprepared in the life skills department.

But then I see my son assimilate all the knowledge he has gotten from YouTube videos to come up with a solution for his own questions, and I realize I can check the box for "analyzing and processing information."

And I see my daughter master every new app and program effortlessly, and I realize I can check the box for "keeping up with new technology."

I see my son keep at figuring something out, even when I've said it's time to go, and I realize I can check the box for "persistence."

And I hear my daughter fight for what she wants to do from so many angles, she just has to get her way, and I realize I can check the box for "negotiating skills."

I see my son find our car in a parking lot after hours in a mall and all the cars looking basically the same, and I realize I can check the boxes for "spatial reasoning" and "memory."

And I watch my daughter move effortlessly from one group of people to another, and I realize I can check the box for "interpersonal skills."

Perhaps we're not teaching our kids all the life skills we think they will need. But the truth is, the skills they need are changing, and some of the activities to which they gravitate are giving them just the skills that will help them make it in today's world and workforce.

So, I guess I shouldn't worry (except possibly about dirty clothes and unhealthy teeth). Turns out that in the life skills department, the kids are doing just fine.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Last Week

After months of counting weeks, it is down to the last one--the last week to fill, the last week to accomplish (or feel no need to accomplish), the last week to sleep late, the last week to...

It is undeniable--the start of school will change us all--it will define our schedules and our priorities. It will, perhaps, squash our freedom and monopolize our time. Yet, as I ready the calendar and prepare the supplies, I begin to see that while it will take away certain opportunities, it will almost certainly present new ones. While it will take away certain friend time, it will almost certainly create built-in friend time. While it will present tough challenges, it will almost certainly present great successes as well. While it will ask for more focus, it will also give us new focus.

So, as we face this "last week," whether we're scrambling to do as much as possible, or perhaps trying to do as little as possible, I remind myself that this last week is really a bunch of steps from now to then, from here to there. We might as well just enjoy taking them--quickly, or slowly, or somewhere in between. Because soon, this last week will just be last week.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Keeping Up With The...

I shared a control room row with directors, some not that much older than I, and I wondered why I hadn't made it that far yet.

I watched co-workers be hired away, and I wondered why no one ever came looking for me.

I saw friends get more interviews and more offers, and I wondered why I was still sitting at home sending resumes.

I watched other parents plan fancy parties, and interesting activities, and weeks of summer camp, and I wondered if I was doing enough for my kids.

I exercised next to people pedaling faster and wearing their gym clothes better, and I wondered if I would ever feel as strong, as fit, as thin.

Sometimes, it feels as though life is all about "keeping up with"--with the proverbial Joneses, with our colleagues, with our friends, or simply with our picture of who we'd like to be. But looking around doesn't always help us keep up--it just makes us lose our direction. Watching too much doesn't always help us reach anything--it just narrows our view. We can try to keep up, but in a world where there will always be faster, stronger, more successful, it won't be easy. So, instead of keeping up with, we might as well just keep running for--running for what is right for us, when it is right for us, in ways that make sense for us. So that when we try to keep up, doing so doesn't just bring us down.


The headache screams "stop cleaning, there's enough dust already!" But there is more to be done.

The headache screams "sleep more!" But there is work time, and there is family time, and not always enough time for sleep.

The headache screams "be more careful what you eat!" But tasty foods beckon, and special occasions happen, and eating can be fun.

The headache screams "stop stressing, start breathing!" But there are things to ponder and things to decide, and some of them are stressful. And in the end, breathing still happens.

The headache screams, but sometimes, a headache is really just a headache. And even if I clean a little more and stress a little less, sleep a little more and eat a little less, it will go when it goes. And I will move on--not hearing the screaming all the time, but remembering to listen to it, at least once in a while...