Time, Happiness, Getting Things Done & Corona; or, Why It’s Hard to Find Peace in the Midst of Difficulties (e.g, hey WordPress, I HATE YOUR NEW EDITING SYSTEM)

Darling, I was going to write about the necessity of keeping calm and focused in troubled times when,  miraculeusement, WordPress decided to unleash an evil, awful, ugly and unworkable new editing system upon its hapless denizens – thus providing a perfect example of how to behave in the middle of distress.

1) complain ONCE to the company (no shouting at the customer service people) and once to dear friends

2) cry

3) re-group and carry on (feel free to curse under your breath when you are alone)

We (royal we) must keep in mind that happiness is never the goal. Happiness is a manic and, thus, inherently unstable emotion. To try for happiness is to invite frustration and defeat. Divas don’t aim for defeat and don’t stay in frustration – we change our goals or accept, after a brief period of mourning, fretting, sadness and/ or bitchiness which does not involve being rude to people who have no control over the situation. (WordPress – you are not forgiven)

You should aim for a fairly consistent and fairly constant level of comfort, clarity, and calm. But you say (are you bleating? Don’t bleat!) finding one’s calm center is not easy, especially these days!

True, it’s hard to know how to be calm. Mostly because people dash about in the frantic pursuit of happiness, which vanishes to the exact degree that it is chased. Don’t be like that. Be like this: deliberate. Now you may get to the point, oh I hope not but it seems most people do, where you run all day and yet are never get fulfilled, never get what you want, never get what you need because there isn’t enough time and…

Ridiculous! Never say, “I don’t have time for.” Either decides a thing is worth making time for or live without. And please to remember that this is seldom, I do say seldom, a matter of money. Say to yourself every morning as you gently and carefully brush your teeth, “I can have anything I want, I just can’t have everything I want.”

Child, listen – a dear friend decided to take her life in hand and get up early in the morning, within three days she was miserable and unable to function. Why? She forgot the rule “anything you want – not everything.” She was getting up early but did not do anything to counteract the fact that she was getting 2 hours less sleep per night. Thus the path the trolldom. She refused to cut anything out of her life and wanted a job, happy children, a full social life, full spiritual component, fabulous marriage, an intensive beauty regime and gorgeous lawn with no help from anyone. Divas laugh at such people. Ha ha ha.

No, don’t you start mewling at me. Don’t snivel. Allow me to give you a counter-example: a dear friend liked to sleep late, so she put her five-year-old child to bed in clean school clothes. Child awoke, got her face and hair smartened up and they were out the door in ten minutes. Who knew the difference? Another dear friend needs two hours to get going in the morning. She needs to hit the snooze button a few times, long shower, meander around the house drinking coffee and examining her plants, then she is ready for the day. So she arranges her life accordingly.

Oh I would LOVE to do that, you say, but I just don’t have the time. No griping – you do have the time. You have all the time you want. But IF you choose NOT to wake up in time to have a leisurely morning – then you must make very clear that it is a choice. You choose to spend your mornings in a breathless rush, flitting hither and yon for matching socks, your mask, for something to eat, for your keys. What? Are you trying to contradict me? Don’t waste your breath.

What is stopping you from buying or selecting a ‘key bowl’ to deposit your keys in every time you walk in the house? What is stopping you from carefully going through all your socks – throwing out the odd ones and knotting the matching socks together? What is stopping you from always having English Muffins and good jam on hand? No time, you bleat? That’s not the issue. You enjoy a fuss, an uproar, a scene; you adore logging onto your Zoom meeting ten minutes late and launching into your “I’m so busy” spiel. Then your work colleagues or friends try to trump you; the whole group spends an hour commiserating on time. Not a factor of time, my sweet, it’s a factor of desire.

If you honestly wanted matching socks and a good breakfast, you would you would attack your sock drawer while watching Gladiator one more time. You would put your best-dressed friend on Zoom, have cocktails and let your friend help you sort your closet. If you truly wanted to do something – you would make time.

Darling, if you don’t make time it’s because you don’t really want to and/ or you are afraid to. Haven’t applied to community college or run for office or written your book or applied for a promotion? Fear.

I can’t help you with the fear aspect, but I must make it clear that divas are not unafraid. Divas are often scared silly, they just refuse to continue to give into anxiety. They invoke Saint Ann (Landers). “You’re going to turn 35, 47, 59, 62, 75,” they mutter to themselves through clenched teeth, “You might as well turn that age having jumped out of a plane, graduated high school, asked for the raise, moved to Korea. Might as well get on with it.”

Divas all over the world are spending tonight watching the Yankees lose, calling friends, watching Casablanca, eating popcorn and shaking in their shoes over the brave new thing they have to do tomorrow. The difference between divas and trolls is that divas whimper a bit and then get on with it. Trolls whimper stay under their bridges and grow hairy warts on their noses.

The only good thing about this virus is it helps us achieve clarity – what is important? Just as a category 5 hurricane barreling towards your house helps you realize what items are most important as you grab things and hurl them into the car just before you begin your evacuation, a deadly virus helps you figure out who and what is vital for your well-being.

There are places you can’t go – things you can’t do, but your life and your homespace are still under your control.

I had 46 things to do today and I did NOT have time to fuss with WordPress’s utterly ghastly new writing/ editing system, but when the full horror of the wretchedness of this new system became apparent to moi, I had a choice and I made my choice. I ditched 27 of the 46 things I had planned because I made the choice that writing you was the best use of my time today, and the result is that even though WordPress “development” team is made up of empathically unattractive sea-slugs, I am calm with a gorgeous living room, fey cutlery, an enviable IQ and a dazzling smile.

So go forth, darling, and make your own choices! Aim for calm and remember:

) Get the right accessories, if you are cleaning the oven, you will need a fetching hair scarf and good music playing. If you are packing, get tissue paper in your favorite color to wrap your favorite items in.

) If possible, start with an easy part. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will help carry you through.

) Cookie Monster was right – COOKIES!

) If you need help motivating, watch older, cheesy inspirational movies: Chariots of Fire, Moonstruck, Strictly Ballroom, etc.

) During a stressful time, you will have various unpleasant manifestations of your strain: talking to yourself, arguing with yourself, trying to put your glasses on when they are already on your nose, opening the fridge to find you put your dirty dishes on the middle shelf, finding books in the washing machine and half drunk cups of coffee in your underwear drawer. Don’t panic.

) Have something planned for those “I can’t do this” moments. You can’t prevent them, they will happen, but get a strategy in place. Keep mementos of successful previous battles close. Frame the letter announcing your last pay raise, children’s report cards, a mug shot of slimy ex-friend, thank you cards, postcards you bought on vacation, or a photo of an evil ex-husband on your desk to motivate you while working on your resume.

) You don’t have to forgive (WordPress, you are NOT forgiven!) but you cannot focus on what must not be forgiven, focus on you and your dazzling future.