I have been listening to the local news a lot more now that the crazy is slowing down a little. All I have to say is “Wow!” Where is the irreverent David Sedaris when you need him? He puts everything in perspective when it comes to the most ridiculously obvious news broadcasts, and especially when it comes to the adults’ lack of knowledge regarding how to take care of themselves.

In 2012, I wrote and published a book called “Discover the Life You Want to Live” (still for sale on Amazon, by the way). I felt that the knowledge that helped me have a successful life might help those lost people that I see on the news.

Up until now, the 2000s were an age of discovery for people, and looking for that special “mentor” that would answer all of their questions was part of that discovery process. I proposed that you could become your own mentor, and thus help others. Of course, you have to do the “mental” work and then listen to the answers you give yourself.

As I re-visit my past, I would like to reiterate some of the most important things anyone can do to make their lives easier:

1.         Get your house in order.

In 2020, the world shutdown so we became shut-ins. In order to keep the crazy conversations in our head from happening, we completed a great many projects in the physical “category” (mechanical and construction projects, for example) that were needed on our houses.

We became adept at cleaning, and caulking and remodeling, as well as cooking and spelling and writing and juggling meetings with homework. However, our mental “category” or the work suffered. We mindlessly read posts, created weird TikTok videos and listened to the crazies on the news. We forgot to take time and create something that challenged us. We forgot how to think for ourselves. At least most kids are way ahead of us in this category. They are reading more, writing, creating and making things happen! They use examples from their past in better ways than we adults can fathom.

Lately, I have taken the time to relearn some of the most important lessons about mental health. I have taken a long road to get to the place I am today. I’ve had many highs and lows over the year. Instead of spiraling down the negative hole and letting the small stuff overwhelm me, I revisit the one day at a time attitude and go back to my Rory’s (Gilmore Girls) list. I make a list, prioritize this list from highest to lowest importance, and then check each completed job off as I get through the jobs. This allows me to see my acomplishments. I have about three lists going right now:

a.        Grocery and Dinner prep list

b.         Indoor Project list – includes physical projects and mental projects (for example, clean and mop the kitchen or pay bills and balance your checkbook)

c.         Outdoor Project list (for example, rake the sticks out of the garden and prep beds for planting in the spring!

 Recently on the news there was a bit about the IRS giving notice of taxes owed. They were so far behind on their deposits and many checks weren’t cashed until last week. One man told reporters that he had gotten the notice and he had already sent the check to them. He then found out that the IRS had tried to cash it last week and ‘Lo and Behold’ the check bounced. As a result, he told reports he has to come up with over $3,900.00 plus penalties. My question to him: “Why wouldn’t you have accounted for that check already and NOT SPENT THE MONEY?” Better yet, “Why didn’t you use the online application so it went directly to the IRS?” Finally, “Why would you think the money would magically reappear in your bank account?”  My point being is that you would know having prepared for this by balancing your checkbook.

2.         De-Clutter.

Are you feeling cramped at home because everyone is on top of you? One solution is to get rid of the clutter so you can create more space! We had started a remodel of the entire basement in 2019 and were able to finish up while we in quarantine last year. I was able to put together work and office spaces in three different rooms, one for each of us, so we weren’t all on top of each other. When we started, we carried out everything to the garage, sorted and gave or threw away a ton of items we didn’t need anymore. It freed up so much space and I was amazed at how big the house really was. With the virus in mind, we were also able to keep everything clean and tidy, and A.R.C. benefitted from all of our good items we gave away. In addition, now we can park both cars in the garage!

3.         Follow the COVID-19 Rules.

I know, I know, this is probably the hardest job we’ve ever had to do in our lifetime – staying at home is boring! We have to go beyond ourselves and think of the community and the harm we do. It is important to get through this without any more people dying!

Recently, the news reported a massive amount of people attended an event at the Grizzly Rose Bar. The owner stated he was out of town when he got a call from his workers asking what they should do with the two large lines of mostly maskless people who were waiting for them to open. The owner told them to let the people enter the building. In retrospect, he told reports that he “…May have made the wrong call” when he allowed a crowd into the bar. The bar was packed. There was no social distancing and very few had masks on. The owner told reporters that he decided to voluntarily shut down the bar after the incident and then the Health Department shut him down until further notice. My comment on this craziness is this: When you do stupid stuff because you are worrying about offending customers or not getting those customers back, you are only thinking about yourself. Ultimately, we have to change the way we do business and respect the fact that we are in the middle, NOT the end, of the pandemic. We have to brave the storm before we can all get back together safely. Moreover, to you people that packed the bar, all I can say is “Shame on you!” Sometimes you have to think of the greater good, not just yourselves.

I also learned that some friends of mine are already traveling since they got their shots. While I don’t think this is a great idea to travel yet, they said they had to get out of their house. While it might be safe to travel in the airplane, people don’t properly mask and you are in line with them and touching all of the surfaces that they are touching. And, the shots are about 95% effective, so that means that you can still get it and/or pass it onto your loved ones. The recommendation by the scientists and advisors is to stay at home if it is a non-essential trip. We just have to be patient! Something that I know is hard for all you travel junkies.

4.         Learn from History.

What happened to a sense of honor and integrity in leadership? With recent events at the Capitol building, I believe some of these Congressmen (and women) should be sent back to school for learning ethical leadership practices. In addition, they should apologize for their misbehavior. There is no room for me-centric behavior in government.

People must be held accountable for their actions. There is a code of conduct for each person who takes office and leaders should live by it. The only way to create change in a political environment that has been dysfunctional for the past 40 years is to create an ethical work culture. This means you have to respect others’ values. Each leader must engage in the appropriate conduct through respect for the rights and dignity of others. The five key principles of ethical leadership are:

a.         Honesty

b.         Justice

c.         Respect

d.         Community

e.         Integrity

To sum it up:

Be the example. Place the health of the organization above your personal needs. Finally, “Ethical leadership is a form of leadership in which individuals demonstrate conduct for the common good that is acceptable and appropriate in every area of their life.” Source: article titled “What is Ethical Leadership?” 2/18/20; website:

In my book, I note that we become dissatisfied with our lives because of Fear, Anger and Prejudice. Let’s not let these attitudes rule our lives. We can overcome these by embracing an ethical lifestyle and do more for others than we do for ourselves.

As a final note, all adults can learn from the younger generation. The pandemic brought back a quest for knowledge. Reading and learning using physical books became a thing once again (Good for us because I have lots of them). Records and record players are now back in our household. And, writing letters are popular once again. I enjoy my conversations with my older friends and waiting for a reply that could take weeks instead of minutes. I savor the letters even though it isn’t logical to some people.

To quote Spock from Start Trek:

“You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical, but it is often true.”Star Trek: The Original Series, “Amok Time”

“Spock’s statement about desire profoundly reminds us that many people can’t accept what they have and be happy. Instead, they seek out more; more money, more fame, and/or more power. We need to learn to be happy with our circumstances and not to want more simply for the sake of wanting more without any discernible improvement in the quality of our lives.” —from Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, 3/10/15.

Be safe everyone and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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