A huge part of my job is understanding social behaviors; and if I had to use one word to describe all grownups right now, that word would be TIRED. It’s like being at a party where you were ready to leave 45 minutes ago but your ride is debating whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich with a large group of people, and so you sit there with your empty wine glass, avoiding a refill or a trip to the bathroom or anything, really, that would delay your exit, responding to all attempted conversations with, “Oh, yeah? Oh, okay.”
Unless you’re battling over-caffeinated insomnia, it sucks to be tired. Your brain becomes irrational and unpredictable, you lose interest in normally-awesome things, your breath smells – and, of course, you become a total grouch. My six-year-old was so far beyond exhausted the other night that his head had started to swivel around his body like The Exorcist. I finally wrestled this screaming, wriggling wild animal into bed, and he looked at me with his sweet baby face and said, “I hate you, Mommy,” and then immediately fell to sleep. The next morning, after the power of rest compelled him, he climbed onto my lap and said, “I love you so so so much to the universe infinity and back.” Then he licked me on the cheek because kids are gross.
I have a bunch of theories and reasons as to why everyone is tired; however, as my boss likes to say, that would just be admiring the problem. Instead, I’d like to sidle up next to you on this party couch, hand you a bottle of water, and offer up three completely unsolicited (and incredibly over-simplified and unscientific) ways to get a little mental rest:
You know, Stop Listening to Every Endemic Problem. There’s a lot going on in the world. A. Lot. I know there’s a lot because Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and my cousin are constantly mad about all of it. My brain and heart can no longer process the quantity of ire I am meant to feel, and so I have decided to save my good listening for my individual friends (or myself) who are struggling with actual crises – like deciding if a hot dog is a sandwich – and use my casual listening to stay informed of issues of which I have little to no control.
Related, I try to limit myself to one ordeal a day. On the best of days, that ordeal is small and fixable in an hour or less, like a burned-out lightbulb or global conflict. Here is my structure for selecting my daily issue – I ask:
- Is this a problem?
- If yes, do I understand it on a basic level?
- If yes, am I able to exact change by getting to know it on a deeper level?
- If yes, am I able to exact change in the next 30 days?
- If no, is there another problem to which I am able to exact change in the next 30 days?
Does this make me blissfully unaware? Probably. Are you reading this thinking, “Man, this woman is a psychopath who does not care about humanity and would be horrible at bar trivia”? Definitely. Does it make me much less tired? Fo sho.
Also, we should all really get eight hours of sleep a night.
Do Remember the Uniquely Good Stuff (D.R.U.G.S.). Also, the Totally Average Good Stuff (T.A.G.S.). Before you get out of bed in the morning, make a one-item list of something that makes you happy, and then make a point to do that thing during the day.
For example, go for a walk. If you it doubles your happiness, pick up a piece of garbage on your walk. Don’t pick up a piece of garbage and turn it into an hour of mental commentary on the climate or the oceans or the government or trashy people. Do pick up a piece of garbage and put it in a garbage can and then go about your life. Or don’t pick up a piece of garbage and instead just look at the sunshine and the universe and then go about your life.
My former boss kept a one-page list of best practices. My favorite is, “Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let anyone else choose it for you.” I’ve had days with all sorts of good stuff but a bad attitude, and days with a lot of crud and a great attitude – and when if I look back on them, the ones that went down in my memory as a win were those where I made the decision to feel good.
Give one person the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, not that psychopath who writes blog posts, someone else. Assume that 99.99999% of the people in this world don’t put on their pants every morning with the one-agenda plan to drive you crazy.
Kyle suggested I give an example for this one and I know exactly what he subconsciously wanted me to say; but I’m not going to write it, because it’s a FACT that every other person on the road is actually trying to be a jerk (and not just living their lives) when I’m rushing to a meeting or slow-rolling along, lost.
I couldn’t think of a picture to illustrate this, so instead the photo above is of Kyle and me at a party back in 2018.
This week’s news has packs of pooches, some pint-sized princesses, and Flutter Fest. Read on.
Hillsboro’s Andrew Nathan biked across North Dakota – from Beach to Fargo – in two days in order to raise money for PAD (Patriotic Assistant Dogs). (Hillsboro Banner)
A pile of pups paddled through the pool thanks to Dickinson’s Annual Pooch Party. (KFYR TV)
The Grand Forks School District will be providing free breakfast and lunch for all students this year. (Grand Forks Herald)
This is not a typical North Dakota Nice story because it starts out with a young man dying; however, I was so touched by the fact that 1) the family donated the GoFundMe money raised to the recovery dive team, and 2) the dive team turned around and used the money to purchase two memorial flags to remember “what we are doing and why we are doing it.” (Fargo Forum)
Grand Forks’ Kathleen Adams has published a book about a dog named Sugar who moved from the country to the city. (Amazon)
Bismarck’s Kiara Harper is donning the purple and gold for her dream job as a Vikings cheerleader. (KFYR TV)
The Roosevelt Park Pool in Minot now has 20 new puddlejumper lifejackets thanks to donations from area businesses. (KX Net)
For the fifth time, a Bismarck church handed out 175 backpacks filled with school supplies – and also hot dogs and popsicles – to families in need. (KX Net)
Congratulations to Wilkin County’s newest princesses! (Wahpeton Daily News)
Head on over to the Roosevelt Park Zoo on Saturday for Flutter Fest – when 150 monarch butterflies are released into the wild. (Minot Daily News)