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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Note to Self: About Anxiety and Procrastination

I have created a handy flow chart detailing two ways to handle the urge to procrastinate, and the outcome of each. This is a note to self for when I don’t know what to write/don’t want to do paperwork, etc. Way #1 – My preferred method of THE PAST! Because from now on I’m going to follow flow chart #2! Right? And… Flow Chart #2! The flow chart I will follow to banish procrastination from my life FOREVER! Right? Truly though, it does work pretty well. If only the siren call of googling random stuff weren’t so strong… That would help. I guess the chart should include a step where you unplug your modem/router if use of the internet is not 100% necessary to do the thing. What are your favorite strategies to overcome procrastination? What are your favorite distractions to keep you from doing The Thing You Need To Do? &nbsp…

Yes, Goodness and Courage Exist. Here are 10 Books that Taught Me So.

When I was an undergraduate in psychology, we learned some less-than-pleasant things about human nature. We learned about how “bad barrels” (situations) can produce “bad apples” (behaviors/people), about how people frequently stand by and watch atrocities without intervening, and how pressure to conform can cause people to do terrible things you would never think them capable of. Ultimately, fear of personal risk, pressure to conform, a feeling of powerlessness, and a belief that someone else will handle the situation (passing the buck) lead otherwise good people to allow horrific things to happen, or even participate in making such things happen. I found all of this to be useful in helping me understand the world we live in, one in which people do terrible things… all. the. time. In that same class, we debated whether altruism (doing something for purely selfless motives) even exists, since we benefit via warm fuzzies and in other ways when we help people. I come out firmly on the side of yes. Yes, altruism exists. Yes, people can do what is right. I have seen it in person, and I have read of it happening. The books below…

Why We Secretly Hate and Fear Making Choices

(Image credit Julie Manzerova) Remember growing up, and rolling your eyes as your parents droned, “With privilege comes responsibility” for the hundredth time? Or is that just me? Most of us humans believe we deeply value and desire freedom. This is certainly part of the story, but the reality is rather more counterintuitive. In practice, freedom creates a “dizzying” (as Kierkegaard would put it) array of possibility and choices that invoke incredible anxiety in most of us. This can certainly be seen among Millennials like myself, many of whom grew up around the idea that you can be anything you want to be, and that you should pursue your passion. But what if you don’t know what your passion is? What if there are twenty-three things you could potentially imagine doing? What if you’re the type who doesn’t want to miss a single opportunity and thus struggles to settle for one (or two, or three) careers at a time? (While particularly relevant to our time, these ideas are not new. For example, in the 1940’s and 50’s the existential psychologist Rollo May and his contemporary…

The Great Surrender Experiment

Here’s the thing: I do not like to leave things up to fate/the universe/God/whatever. I am not one of those “go with the flow” people, one of those “let go and let God” people. I am more one of those “If I can’t create a 30-step plan to make it happen, it must be impossible and therefore will not happen,” people. I have always actually believed that: that if I can’t see every step of the way for how an outcome might be achieved, it cannot be achieved. Yes, I know how arrogant that sounds. Much of what I have accomplished to this point has been through sheer force of will, for the most part, and brute effort. Very bootstrappy, if you know what I mean (towards myself, mind you. I will never tell you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Unless your boot is falling off). In many ways it has worked well: I have a master’s degree, a fulfilling career, and beautiful daughter who I got pregnant with by obsessively analyzing my cycle and fertility signs. On the other…

18 Ways to Build Community Wherever You Are

In the five years J and I have been married, we have moved three times. Each time, it has taken some time to feel settled, to feel like I belong, and to make friends. Consequently, I have had to learn the art of settling in quickly and becoming at home. Making friends is perhaps the most important part of that, and I’ve found it’s actually a lot easier once you have kids because other parents love to talk about their kids and how they survived various parenting hurdles with other parents. A big part of the goal is to feel connected to where you are and to other people. Another part of it is to have someone you can call if your car breaks down on a random Tuesday. To Meet Other Humans Who Dwell Somewhere Near You: Apply deodorant ’cause you’re about to go meet new people like a boss! Consider wearing a bra (am I the only one who considers donning a bra and brushing my teeth to be “getting ready?”). Make this zucchini bread. Acquire several mini bread tins. Double the recipe and bring some zucchini bread to…

Why I failed at Night Weaning (and how you can… not fail)

I’ve always loved organized mom blogs. The ones where they purport they follow a weekly cleaning schedule, and a weekly menu plan, and their baby naps consistently precisely at such-and-such o’clock. Sigh. I’ve also always loved the illusion of control, and of doing things “right.” Yes, oh yes, I was one of those new moms who researched the *eh hem* out of everything prior to trying it. (You don’t even want to know how many times I googled “2 month old baby clingy and fussy,” “3 month old baby clingy and fussy”). By no means, and under no circumstances, did I leave my parenting up to instinct. Oh no! I wanted to know what the experts recommended, what the peer-reviewed research said. I did not want to screw anything up. So, consequently, you’d think myself and my beautiful little baby girl would be excellent candidates for sleep training. It would appear that I could follow instructions. When Warrior Girl was born, I was just about to start my second year of a three-year Master’s in Clinical Mental Health…