My Recent Obsession with Weather

I’m not sure where my recent obsession with weather originated. Yet, I was glued to the screen watching what happened first with Hurricane Harvey and then Hurricane Irma. Was this going to be the “big one”? What were people doing? How were they coping? Were they going to be okay?

I was pulling for them and their pets.

I watched all that happened during the storm, and then I watched the efforts afterward. Read about people coming together to help their fellow human. It brought tears to my eyes.

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Yes, this line of boats made me choke up a little.

Maybe it’s been all the negativity I’ve felt for well over a year. I tuned into social media not long before the election here in the US. It was a constant bombardment of negativity.

Then came the election.

Then came the new administration, and I’ve felt like there’s a new kerfuffle every week.

This isn’t a blog on politics, so I’m not going to get into that, but what I will say is that my stress level has skyrocketed during this time. I’ve actively tried to tune out the media and news, but that’s easier said than done even if you’re a casual Twitter or Facebook user.

As I think through this, perhaps it comes down to a part of me looking for a “villain” we can all hate: the weather. This is an impersonal thing, not someone doing horrible things to others for reasons they feel are justified.

And, more importantly, it’s something we can all rally against. There’s no politics involved in this.

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We’ve done drives at work to gather up non-perishables and send them to Texas. There were donation drives for the Red Cross and a general feeling of getting together to help people. Not because of who they voted for, but because they were people in need.

We live up here in the frozen tundra, and while it has many drawbacks, we’ve never had to deal with hurricanes or earthquakes. When a tornado comes by, it might touch down, it might not, but it doesn’t destroy entire cities.

Winters are another story.

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Actual winter footage.

 

We’ve suffered through polar vortexes (days on end of -45F weather) where we’ve had to worry about cars starting because of the cold, but nothing on the wholesale devastation of Harvey.

But people here still stood up to help those in need in parts of the country they may never see. They stood by each other.

Makes me sad that it takes an act of extreme weather to get this to happen, but I’m so happy and relieved that it still happens.

 

How about you? Did you watch the Harvey and Irma coverage? Do you find weather related events watchable?

Burned Out

I am burned out.

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I have been burning the candle at both ends, and as so many have said before, you can’t do that forever.

I’m a mom, corporate employee, spouse, writer, and person who exercises.

I just can’t be all of it the way I want all the time, and I’m paying the price.

 

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And here I gave up coffee…

I am no longer finding joy in writing.

I’m finding less happiness in blogging.

All of the branding and social media is exhausting. A more extroverted person might not find it so, but that’s not me. Few writers seem to be natural extroverts, though they do exist, and this whole use of personality to connect with readers is starting to seem spurious at best.

So, I unplugged. I took several days off of all social media, and no one missed me. Makes me think social media is a lot less social than its name implies.

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I haven’t exercised in over a week.

Rather than feeling tired and run down, I’m actually feeling better. Maybe the break was needed.

I haven’t written in 5 days. Not even over the weekend. It felt good.

No guilt at sneaking in a few words while the kids were playing or while I was doing housework. No race to the computer once the kids were in bed.

I don’t know what this means for me long term. Perhaps it’s the wake-up call I need to get my priorities straight and realize I can’t do everything I want and need to do.

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I’ve spent the last 2.5 years working on my writing. The last 1.5 years adding a blog and other social branding to the mix. I have yet to publish a book. I don’t even have an agent.

A growing part of me says to self-publish and be done. Put the work I’ve already done out there and walk away. But I can’t do that without feeling disingenuous.

If my self-published work fails, which it most likely will, I won’t know how it could have done if I pushed forward and kept up the branding. If I had a back list. Or if I’d tried, really tried, and succeeded in landing a publisher like Avon that know the Romance market.

I’ve walked away from writing before. Many times before. It demands so much, and there are so many other things in life that need me.

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Is this the doubt-demon making an appearance? Again…

Perhaps I just need a break. A chance to catch my breath. To ignore my muse for a while so she’ll want to come back (she can be fickle like that).

Or maybe I need to take a long break and ease back. I already know I will never be a full time writer. We depend on my corporate America income.

 

Have you ever come to a point where you know something has to give? Where you’re feeling frazzled, burned out, and like you aren’t always present in the moment? What did you do about it? What choices did you make? How did you deal with it?

Top 5 Reasons Science Says Why We Lack Patience

Throughout life, we’re told to be patient. It’s a virtue, after all.

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Patience is especially touted for authors when what we want to get paid to tell stories. Instead, we must be patient and:

  • Write book after book, without any promise of being published or paid. But be patient as you have to write a lot to get better, and it takes a large backlist before (read if) you can quit your day job.
  • Commit to social media to increase your presence, but be patient as you have to invest a lot of time before you see any rewards.
  • Commit to blogging to connect with other writers and potential readers, but be patient because it takes a long to time to be “found”.

 

If anyone had told me any of the above about “breaking into” my day job, I’d have laughed at them so hard I’d have had to wipe away the tears as I changed majors.

One thing I’ve learned about virtues from raising my own children is that they are not the natural state of human beings. They are something sought after, something you aspire to achieve.

The amount of self-help articles out there professing to teach patience is impressive. But one thing I’ve learned is that the more articles there are to learn how to do something, the harder that something is and the less likely those articles are to help. Google “how to tie a shoe” versus “how to lose weight” and you’ll see what I mean.

So, why is patience so hard?

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Patience is putting off something you want right now for the promise of a bigger reward later.

Think of your dog. He doesn’t care if you promise him three treats tomorrow if he doesn’t eat the one balanced on his nose right now. He’s going to eat the one on his nose as soon as you turn your back. You see that across animal behavior, and as this study shows, humans aren’t that far off from our canine friends.

I wanted to understand more about why we aren’t patient to see if I could figure out a way to be patient. Top 10 reasons according to science of why we aren’t patient:

 

1. Evolution – Our instinct is to seize the reward now, and resisting our instincts is hard. Check out any infant or toddler. We believe survival favored those that took immediate rewards. It wasn’t like there was a grocery store a mile away that we could stop at after work and get a tub of triple chocolate ice cream whenever we wanted. You took what came your way when it did.

 

2. Uncertainty – If you’ve been taught throughout life that waiting gets you better things, you might learn to wait. But if you’ve been taught that people aren’t going to follow through, that you can’t trust them, then you’re more likely to grab for the sure thing. All those stories about “living like you’re dying”? They are a case study in lack of patience because you’re now uncertain how much of a future you have.

 

3. Age – The younger you are, the less patience you seem to have. Toddlers and impulse control, anyone? But life teaches us (most of us, anyway) to control those impulses. The more life experience you have, the more patient you become. Until you’re facing your own mortality, and then you’re back to point two above.

 

4. Conceptualization of Future Self – Ever stay up way too late knowing you were going to regret it in the morning? Being impatient has a similar root cause. The inability to connect your current self to your future self. The more you can visualize your future self either suffering (after staying up too late) or enjoying a large reward (after exhibiting patience), the more likely you are to choose the path that benefits your future self.

5. Sense of Time – You know how time flies when you’re having fun, but put you in the corporate tax class I took in college, and minutes seem like hours? This has actually been proven by scienceproven by science. What this means is you have to be even more patient to get something you’re waiting for as time will seem to go even slower than if you weren’t waiting.

 

As I look through this list, the only thing that really seems within my control is working to visualize my future self. To know that if I keep plodding away now, that future self will be happier.

Can apply this to things other than writing. Like parenting. Losing my patience with them gives me a momentary outlet for my frustration, but my future self pays for it with more intractable children and a damaged relationship. Not that I should give into them, but losing my patience is not the right choice.

 

How about you? Are you patient? Impatient? If you’re naturally impatient, anything you do to try make yourself more patient? Does it work?