Don’t Panic

Don’t panic. If you’ve ever read Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know all about that awesome catch phrase. Besides awesome works of fiction, it applies to any humans’ daily life as well.

Today I was driving to work and as I neared my destination (I was about ten minutes away) I felt this excruciating burning on my back. What the hell? I had to think about it for a second. Then it went away, and I kept driving. Then it came back. Holy shit, what the hell is that?! I knew what it was, but I couldn’t figure out how it got to my back. Then I realized all four of my windows were down (my AC doesn’t work) and the culprit must have gotten sucked into the cab of my truck.

Bee sting. Ouch.

Once I figured out it had to be a bee, I took deep, intentional breaths and found a spot to pull over (church parking lot). I was moving faster now as it was burning like hell. I threw the truck in park, hopped out, ran around the side away from the traffic and tore my shirt off over my head. I shook my stripped clothing vigorously and spotted the bee.

“Mr. Bee, why?” I asked as he fell to the ground. He didn’t answer but I knew that it didn’t matter why, it just mattered that I managed to not panic and was able to pull over and get my situation back to normal (without causing an accident) before I continued to work. When I got there, one of my female coworkers was in the office and I asked her to go in the bathroom with me and see if there was a stinger in my back. She looked and there wasn’t. Just a giant, red welt.

Okay, I can deal with that. I took some Advil, made my green tea and got on with my day.

So, why am I telling you this weird story about a bee sting and not panicking? Because when we panic, shit gets effed up. I mean, what if I had panicked and drove into oncoming traffic? Or hopped out of my moving car? I’m not sure that it is human nature to panic or of we just tell ourselves that because we’re expected to panic.

No matter what happens: don’t panic.

In my new book, I am writing about a carnival that comes to a small Pennsylvania coal town and a local waitress disappears during this time. Are they related? You’ll have to read the book to find out. But in writing my female lead, she is also the type of person who doesn’t panic – other people in my books panic, but my female leads don’t. I tend to like people who don’t panic…

Do you tend to panic or remain calm in high stress situations?

Let’s Talk About Down Time

Last week I had kind of a scare.

How busy are you? Between relationships, jobs, kids, pets, appointments, hobbies, paying bills, making meals, self-care, commuting… where do you fit in to everything? Like, where is there a section of time blocked out for you without kids, pets, deadlines, spouses, bosses, etc.?

Last week I had kind of a scare. I went in for a routine OB-GYN appointment then found out I ultimately have to have a full hysterectomy. Okay, I am 46 years old, I can deal with that. So, we set it up (even though I still need to go for more tests – can you say MONEY GRAB?) and I am scheduled for the end of August. Then, at the end of last week, I had an awful migraine to which nothing would relieve it. I left work early on Friday and had a grueling weekend only to have to go to the ER because I could not stop vomiting and felt like walking death (literally). Well, here, I did not know that feeling the way I did would lead to potassium depletion and that can make a person feel like dogged hell.

So, why am I telling you this? When we get busy we often forget to take care of ourselves. It is so easy to put our health last, to push off eating or forgoing a nap when we are exhausted. Taking care of our bodies is as important as taking care of our minds. I realized that a few days ago as I laid in the hospital on a potassium chloride drip due to potassium depletion that I had some serious decisions to make about my life. And I came up with a few:

  1. It is time for me to get serious about finding work closer to home. We moved three years ago and my current job is 25 – 27 miles from my home. That makes for close to an hour of travel each way. That is ten hours a week travel time and 250 miles a week (12 hours and 300 miles during tax season).
  2. I have to get consistent with my meditation and self-care. I noticed I feel so much better when I meditate and get mindful about my day. One of the terrible things I do is run on autopilot every day. Not a good idea. Also, taking my vitamins and getting in some exercise. I am forty-six years old… the longer I put it off, the worse I feel.
  3. I really have to commit to saying “No.” when I feel it is justified. Sheesh. How many times do I say, “Yeah, sure, I’ll get right on that.” only to regret it immediately and be mad at myself for not sticking up for me. I have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable for a little while in the name of self-care.

The truth is, there is no shame in self-care. If we’re not careful we can exhaust ourselves and for most things that could wait or will go on long after we’re gone (jobs, chores, etc). So do yourself a great thing and take the nap, have that bit of ice-cream, write that book, move to that new place… do what it takes to take care of YOU. You’re the only you there is! I think Dr. Seuss said it best:

Have a blessed day. ❤