Last week I sold a car. While I was waiting in the waiting room for the paperwork to be completed, I cruised through a bunch of unopened emails. My version of wasting time which does not involve looking at social media.
Lately I’ve subscribed to a lot of newsletters and communications from literary publications. I would like more good content in my in-box and less junk, spam adds, and automated notifications. I’m pretty good at ignoring all that. I turned off that badge that let me know I had 5 digits worth of unopened email a long time ago. I digress.
At the car dealership I ended up clicking on a “Ted-Ed Daily” email that promised info explaining how the electoral college works and how your vote counts (or doesn’t). But the link for that content pointed to a video and I didn’t have headphones and wasn’t in a position I could watch so as I scrolled through the rest of the email.
At the bottom was another topic, “dealing with uncertainty,” which is definitely a topic I’m interested in, because I struggle with that. I like to plan and, like most humans, I like to have things turn out a certain way. When they don’t, it’s frustrating, puts me in a mood, and then I tend to sulk or dwell.
My ex husband used to say everything had to be my way and anything else was unacceptable. Now, of course I don’t believe I’m as bad as he made me out to be, but I do recognize myself in his statements and I’ve worked to be more accepting when things don’t go my way.
In any case.. I clicked on the link in the email to see what wisdom would be revealed. 7 Strategies to Help You Deal with Uncertainty.
- Don’t resist
- Invest in yourself
- Find healthy ways to comfort yourself
- Don’t believe everything you think
- Pay attention
- Stop looking for someone to rescue you
- Find meaning in the chaos
Without rehashing the whole thing, I think this article is very good. Especially now in the midst of one of the worst years the planet has had in a while. No coincidence of course. I mean, an email aimed at explainIng how your vote might not really count in an election that has so very many people on the edge including content on how to deal with uncertainty is extremely appropriate.
From the heading of each of the seven Strategies it’s clear that the key lies with focusing on the self. The article explains that self-care is not selfish and that it’s important. That’s the biggest takeaway that stuck with me enough to remember a half a week later.
Another good one I truly agree with is that you should not believe everything you think. The mind plays tricks on us all the time. We’re only human. The article focuses on our tendency to think about the worst case scenario and that that is not practical or productive. I would spin it further and say that I get caught up thinking about past and future events and conversations and sometimes can’t let go enough to focus on “right now.”
Last night I was on a zoom and told a group of folks I had 11 teenagers at my house on Halloween night and one of the women said “wow, I haven’t been with that big of a group in a long time.”
In my head, I took it as a jab. Was she saying I had been delinquent in this pandemic opening my house to my children’s friends? Had I been irresponsible and put the group in harms way?
I thought about this over and over all night and into today. Why did I jump to that conclusion? I have no way to know exactly what she meant. And caring too much about it is just a waste of time. I have to try and do what the article says, “find silver linings instead of ruminations.”
What’s the silver lining? My children had a nice Halloween, something normal amidst so much that’s been different and disappointing this year. Honestly, the number of people who were here was not under my control. We have four teenagers and they all have friends. And two of our kids are not mine and to a large degree I’m not in a position to impose rules on them.
Yeah, it was very out of my control. As are a lot of things. Like the outcome of this election. And the consequences of all possible outcomes, chiefly the presidential race. There is so much uncertainty in what this week and the weeks to follow will bring. The best I can do is focus on myself and my family.
And keep looking for that good content, like today’s Ted-Ed: The dark history of bananas. Ha!
I think that’s it for today. Monday. November 2nd. My 9 month wedding anniversary. And the start of what promises to be a pretty incredible week.