Compulsive Phone Checking

You want to see something freaky?

Go into your settings and look at your screen time report.

Earlier this year I finally turned off my screen time report notification when it kept telling me that my average weekly screen time was creeping up.

I looked at it today for the first time in a while, and it’s at 1 hour and 28 minutes per day on average. That’s down 29% from last week!

The truth is, picking up my smartphone has become almost a compulsive behavior.

Put Into Perspective

Let’s be generous and say I sleep eight hours a night. That gives us 16 waking hours left per day.

If, on average, I’m spending 1.5 hours per day on my phone, that leaves me 14 and 1/2 hours left in my day.

That doesn’t sound too bad.

But when I compare that to the time I spend doing my hobbies, that’s when it starts to seem like a lot.

  • Reading: I definitely don’t read 1.5 hours a day.
  • Knitting: if I knitted that long every day I’d have serious shoulder pains!
  • Writing: nope.
  • Exercising: it’s about 30 minutes every other day.
  • Playing piano: I play for max. ten minutes if I’m lucky.

And remember: 1.5 hours is down 29% from last week! What was I DOING last week??

Checking the Phone Compulsively

I wake up, I check my phone. (The first pickup today was at 7:35am.)

My phone lives in my back pocket or sits next to me on the counter. It follows me upstairs, downstairs, outside… To the bathroom…

(Don’t tell me you don’t do it!)

Any change in pace or activity, any lull and I whip it out.

Mostly I’m on WhatsApp and Instagram. On WhatsApp I’m at least interacting with family and friends.

But on Instagram, it’s just mindless scrolling. I shoot past post after post, pausing occasionally to unmute and watch a video, or to like something.

The worst part is, though, that I’ve clicked on some Instagram ads. And have even bought off of Instagram ads!

Each time it happens I get SO ANNOYED with myself! I’m behaving exactly as Mark Zuckerberg wants me to and making him money with each stupid purchase.

Gah! Damn the man!

Why the Compulsive Checking?

I’ve been wondering about this. What is causing me to constantly reach for my phone?

Why am I mindlessly scrolling? Checking for messages I know have not come? Looking for likes when I haven’t posted anything?

What does it give me? Is it escapism? Am I doing it out of boredom?

Maybe it’s just become a habit, like twirling my hair. It certainly feels that mindless most of the time.

Looking for Contact?

Or is it that I’m desperately looking for contact?

I’d have to delve a little deeper into my screen time data to see if the pandemic has had much of an impact on my phone use.

Since we’re not seeing much of anyone, the phone is my only point of contact with anyone outside my household.

Perhaps this compulsive phone checking is simply an expression of loneliness.

What To Do?

1 .Forgive myself:

It’s okay to be desperate for contact in these socially distanced times. I think we can all relate to that.

2. Set some ground rules for phone use:

Not at the table. Not when I’m spending time with my Chico or the kids. Never in the car. Leave it downstairs at bedtime.

3. Delete Instagram:

I’ve done this before, and it was good. I still used my phone a lot for WhatsApp and other messaging apps, but at least I stopped the mindless scrolling (and stupid purchases. Damn you, Mark Zuckerberg!).

4. Wear my watch:

One of the biggest reasons I pick up my phone is to look at the time. Wearing a watch precludes that necessity.

5. Forgive myself again:

Don’t get mad at myself for failing to do any or all of the above. Even being more aware of my compulsive phone checking is a positive step forward.

The Slough of Despond

The Swamp of Despair. The Pit of Gloom. The Dismal Abyss.

You get the idea, yes?

John Bunyan’s Slough of Despond was a place where his protagonist (a rather obviously named “Christian”) wallowed in the weight of his sins and his sense of guilt.

My personal Slough is more to do with my feelings of failure.

What Brings It On

It’s hard to say what brings on these episodes. I find myself sinking into a gloom, as if the weight of something is sitting on my chest.

The smallest tasks become overwhelming. The slightest things become major irritants.

It’s a debilitatingly contradictory combination of numbness and hyper-sensitivity. It fixes me in a gloomy funk and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, or in extreme cases, a few weeks or even months.

Focusing on Failures

This gloomy mood happens to all of us. Many people are feeling it more with the isolation that the pandemic has brought.

When it descends on me I tend to focus on my perceived failures. Which particular failures change from spell to spell.

This time my brain seems fixated on how I have failed to be as well-informed, well-read, thoughtful, spiritual, generous with my time as…

My Mother.

This is not a new way I have devised to punish myself. I’ve compared myself to her often enough in the past.

The comparison has also been made by others, and often times the expectation for me to be like her is very real. I’ve been told of it outright.

It’s unfair. It’s unfair for me to do this to myself. It’s also unfair for others to do it to me.

My mother was an extraordinary woman. There is no doubt about that.

I am also extraordinary in my own way. I’m a woman of remarkable abilities. However…

I am not my mother.

I’m not even all that much like her. I think that’s part of why we got along so well.

While she was alive, I felt no pressure to be like her (at least not from her). We shared the joy of our mutual love, our admiration and our capacity to push each other out of our different comfort zones.

Since her death, however, both I and others seem to have transferred a lot of what she was to me.

A spiritual mentor of hers writing to me as he would have to her. A friend of hers expecting me to share all my mother’s knowledge of literature. A family member expressing dismay that I do not take the same joy from cooking as my mother did.

And then there are my own feelings of failure at not being such an active participant in my community as she was in hers.

The list goes on.

Gloom or Grief?

It’s almost as if I knew better who I was and what my place was before my mother died.

Losing her, I have lost some of my sense of self.

It’s hard to say if what I’m feeling is a “depressive episode” or simply grief. More than three years on, it can still sneak up on me.

I miss her. I also miss who she helped me to be.

A Farewell to 2020

I came across this clip on Instagram:

npr.org

I watched it repeatedly. I cried as I did. I defy you not to shed tears when you watch it.

As Much As I’d Love To Forget…

Forgetting this year would be too easy. And extremely dangerous.

To forget this year would dishonor the memory of the over 343,000 Americans who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

If we forget, we brush aside those who have survived but suffered through this pandemic.

Forgetting would trample on the memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many, many more who were killed by police brutality this year.

We cannot forget the lessons and the reckonings of 2020.

If we do, what will happen the next time a global pandemic strikes? Will we be just as unprepared as we were in March of 2020? The idea of that terrifies me.

We Also Shouldn’t Forget the Joy

Amid the bleakness, the anxiety and the isolation, there have also been moments of joy.

These are usually small and very personal. Collective joy has been noticeably scarce.

Personal moments of joy for us this year have included:

  1. The Bug learning to read and becoming an independent reader.
  2. The Bear learning to ride his bike and taking joy in riding with us.
  3. The Chico’s slow progress in his immigration status (though admittedly this has also sometimes been a source of frustration).
  4. My rediscovering the piano and taking the time to practice.

What Joy has 2020 Brought You?

It doesn’t matter how short the list is. Try and make one. It just might help you feel a little better about this past year.

Happy New Year. I hope 2021 brings us all peace, joy and collective healing.

Making Christmas Last

As he was going to bed on Christmas night, the Bug said, “Mama, now we don’t have anything to look forward to tomorrow!”

That pretty much sums it up.

All the build-up of Advent is pretty much guaranteed to ensure that Christmas day is somewhat anticlimactic.

We Did Our Best

The boys definitely got more gifts this year than they have previously. Since we’re usually traveling on Christmas, presents have traditionally been kept small.

This year, we had more time to think about it. The present ideas kept accumulating, and knowing that we didn’t have to fit any of them in a suitcase helped to remove almost all restraint.

Luckily, our budget ensured that we didn’t go *too* far overboard.

Presents Alone Don’t Cut It

Yeah, the presents are great. There’s magic in coming down the stairs to find presents piled under the tree where only the evening before there were none.

But I think it’s everything around Christmas, the other traditions and activities, that help to make it special and to make the feeling last through the whole season.

Here are some ways you can make Christmas last a little longer than our modern allotment of 24 hours.

1. Food

Christmas cookies. Baked ham. Panettone. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious like I was this year, a bûche de Noël (aka a Christmas log cake).

These make the Christmas season so special. In Spain, it’s tradition to eat fish on Christmas Eve (Chico spoiled me thoroughly with a hake and green sauce dish with littleneck clams!).

Then of course there’s Christmas day with all its epicurean delights.

But the pleasures of Christmas food don’t need to end there. Panettone lasts for days, and Christmas cookies can last past Christmas (though they don’t often).

Baked ham makes for great leftovers, and there are other traditional foods to be eaten all throughout the twelve days. I’m looking forward to another spread Chico is planning for New Year’s Eve!

And don’t forget to make a King cake for January 6th! We plan to make a roscón de reyes. Soon we will have to have the perennial debate: stuff it with whipped cream or not?

2. Music

Yeah, I know you’re probably sick of Christmas music by now. But I’m not talking about cheesy mall Christmas tunes.

There are a lot of beautiful albums inspired by the season, in pretty much every genre. You can go for a cappella, crooners, jazz (a favorite of ours is the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas).

If you’re into classical music, you can enjoy a little Handel. Or even look up traditional Christmas music from other countries and cultures.

In my books, we can listen to Christmas music through Epiphany!

3. Gift-Giving

In the States we generally limit gift-giving to Christmas Day. Mostly, it’s because we don’t have the vacation days to celebrate for the entire Christmas season.

But one way to keep the Christmas cheer going for a little longer is to extend the gift-giving over several days. Or you can celebrate Epiphany on January 6th, which is when many cultures exchange their Christmas gifts.

Today is Boxing Day (the feast of Saint Stephen), which was traditionally when landowners would give gifts to their tenants. It was a day for the wealthy to share with those less fortunate.

Today, in the spirit of giving, we took some old shoes, toys and puzzles we have outgrown to donate to a local shelter.

It’s important to do as the song says and “pause in life’s pleasures to count its many tears,” and remember those who aren’t able to enjoy Christmas like we can.

4. Playing Games

Games are a big part of Christmas celebrations around the world. Yesterday we enjoyed a couple rousing rounds of Funny Bunny–always a kid pleaser.

The boys got several new games for Christmas, and throughout the season we’ll take time to play them as a family.

Charades or Celebrity are great games for get-togethers, and Chico and I have had success playing them over House Party calls.

If your household isn’t big into games, maybe the festive season is the right time to try a few. So long as you can avoid arguments. Always a danger when it comes to games…

5. Lights & Decorations

Darn it, I’m keeping these decorations up until Epiphany (or until the very last minute for when our HOA is offering tree pick-up).

Having the extra lights in this darkest time of the year is really cheering. The decorations make the house feel cozy and inviting.

Since we’re spending so much time at home, I say the cozier the better.

The Magic of Christmas

It doesn’t have to end too quickly. I’m going to continue to advocate for celebrating right until the very last day.

After the dumpster fire of a year this has been, I think we could all use some extended partying.

Christmas Cookie Madness

It’s been a crappy year. For that reason alone, we need LOTS of Christmas cookies.

Also because we’re at home, we’re bored, and we might as well bake.

Therefore, I admit it.

I have gone overboard.

I have made cookies in years past, it is true. But not quite this many cookies. And perhaps not with this intensity and sense of purpose.

It’s hard to say exactly when it started. Honestly, the days are kind of running together at this point.

But I think it was Friday night that I mixed up the first batches of cookie dough, ready to bake on Saturday.

First up were some wonderful gingerbread cookies. I haven’t made these every year, but the Bug asked specifically for gingerbread cookies this year.

Next up, I mixed up the dough for the ever-popular and much-beloved peanut butter chocolate kiss cookies (sometimes called peanut butter blossoms).

Saturday and Sunday we baked and decorated, and by the end of the weekend we had the previously mentioned cookies as well as my favorite sour cream ginger cookies, and Russian tea cakes.

The last cookies to make are the chocolate crinkle cookies, which are always popular.

Why so many cookies?

Is it just me, or does it feel like this Christmas has to be the most Christmassy of Christmasses in this history of Christmas?

As if, in an effort to make up for such an awesomely and epically crappy year, we need to make Christmas even more over the top to compensate?

I was even thinking of making a Bûche de Noël, for goodness’ sake!

Whatever the reason, I feel myself driven by some unknown force to make this Christmas a very special one for the boys.

This is the first Christmas we are spending at home just the four of us. Up until now we have always traveled for Christmas.

Perhaps I’m worried they’ll find it disappointing after previous years of boisterous family gatherings.

Relieved and Disappointed

Honestly, though, I am so relieved not to be traveling for Christmas this year.

Though we were supposed to have seen our family members throughout the year: in summertime, for Thanksgiving…

So now, even though I wanted to stay home for Christmas, I’m still feeling bummed about not seeing our families.

Less Christmas Stress

But as Chico and I were saying the other night: we feel far less stressed about the holidays this year.

It’s nice not to worry about packing so little so that we’ll have room to bring gifts back. I’m not worried about overweight luggage, travel delays and winter storms.

(I’m also remembering how last year the Bear spent the entire transatlantic flight being sick to his stomach. Man, I’m glad we won’t have to deal with that!)

Bittersweet

In 2019, I wanted to stay home for Christmas 2020. In 2019, I had crossed the Atlantic four times, flown domestically four times, and was ready to just stay put for once.

Now in 2020, I’ve been forced to stay put. And the travel itch is growing.

Hopefully, in 2021, we’ll be able to see our loved ones near and far. And maybe we’ll travel for Christmas again.

Maybe.

Snow Days!

I don’t know exactly how this works.

Our county schools all reverted to 100% distance learning as of Tuesday because of rising coronavirus infection rates.

On Wednesday, we had a snow day. Today, we had ANOTHER SNOW DAY.

I don’t really see the logic of declaring snow days when everyone’s connecting virtually anyway, but whatever.

One Happy Dude

I know one person was DELIGHTED to have two days off from school.

Yup. He’s in kindergarten, he’s nearly six, and he’s our Winter Baby.

The Bug, our very own Canadian.

In His Element

I practically had to wrestle his snow gear on to him before letting him out of the house. He was dying to get out in the white fluffy stuff.

The boy who normally doesn’t want to get out of his pajamas on the weekend was dressed shortly after breakfast and ready to be out of doors in the falling snow.

It was delightful. We took an ambling walk and admired the flakes that landed on our gloves, caught them on our tongues, and marvelled at the accumulation happening right before our eyes.

I was taking photos, and in each one the Bug has an enormous grin on his face.

He’s making snow angels, making footprints, gathering up snow for a tiny snowball…

The Bear, on the other hand, looks less than amused in most of the pictures.

Ah, the difference between my Summer Baby and my Winter Baby.

Born To Cold

The Bug was born in early January in Montreal, Canada.

The day before he came it had been mild, only -17 degrees Celsius (hovering just above zero in Fahrenheit).

That night, though, the temperature plummeted to -34C (-29F) and every pregnant woman in Montreal near her due date went into labor.

The only reason I scored a private hospital room was because the Bug came in a damn hurry. Five hours from the first contraction to delivery.

The February after he was born was the coldest February in recorded Quebec history (a fact my mother never failed to point out to me when she was visiting that month).

We toted him around in a carrier with a special insert in our winter coats to keep him warm. We took him out in a stroller so bundled up that only his little face was showing (he needed his vitamin D!).

And since then, he has always loved the cold.

Two in a Row

So you can imagine his delight when they announced another snow day yesterday afternoon.

We’ve spent most of the past two days outside in the snow. Snow forts, snow castles, ice piles, butt sledding, ice skating on our frozen driveway… We did it all.

And though it was exhausting, it was magical.

It’d be nice to get a bit more snow for Christmas, but being in Virginia, we won’t hold our breath.

At least we’ve had this taste of winter wonderland. And we can confidently say we took full advantage of every minute.

An Illegal Hug

We humans really are funny creatures.

Previously I wrote about being an extrovert and really missing contact with others. Today, I stole a quick moment of contact that was wonderful.

But made me yearn for more.

Outdoor Meetups

At some point, a couple friends and I decided to get together outdoors. We meet up with our kids in quiet playgrounds, always looking for secluded spots.

Today was a sunny and warm-ish day, so we met up after school got out on an elementary school playground.

We hadn’t seen each other for a while, and the sense of joy at being together was palpable. Chatting away, we were delighted to be doing something that felt so normal.

A Stolen Moment

One of my friends is acting as homeschooling teacher for her own kids and another pair of siblings. She is a woman of incredible energy, generous and kind in spirit.

We were just getting settled into a nice chat when suddenly, one of her charges called out to her from the top of a jungle gym.

“Ms. S! I’m stuck! I need help!”

She caught sight of him and broke off mid-sentence. A look of kindly exasperation came over her face, she gave a quick sigh and moved to step past me, towards him.

Just as she was preparing to dash over, she made the slightest move towards me with her arms open.

Without realizing what I was doing, I opened my arms to meet her, and we caught each other in a quick but warm hug, faces turned away from each other.

Time seemed to stop.

Her smell nearly overcame me. I caught a wonderful mix of scents: her laundry detergent, lotion, shampoo, maybe even perfume?

It was wonderful.

I realized in that brief embrace that I hadn’t hugged anyone but my family since February. No wonder the scent of her arrested me: I’m so used to the smell of my boys that any different smells strike me as strong.

It lasted just a split second. We broke apart, she ran off and negotiated the kiddo off the top of the jungle gym.

That Hug Said So Much

Without saying anything, I felt like we had told each other so much.

That hug spoke of loneliness, exhaustion, frustration, empathy, solidarity. It spoke of need.

It was a beautiful and spontaneous expression of a need for contact.

All Too Brief

Shortly after, a nasty fall from a different jungle gym ended our visit a bit early. Someone got a knock on the nose, and needed to go home for a little TLC.

Without any expression of resentment for shortening the visit, my friend gathered her charges and prepared to head home.

I sensed that she could have done with a longer visit, a longer natter, a good yarning session.

I wished she could stay longer too, but I silently thanked her for that illegal hug.

It was a little preview of what we have to look forward to when, some day hopefully not too far from now, the pandemic is over.

No Christmas Shopping Mojo

I am a terrible shopper.

I’m especially bad at clothes shopping. I get bored and frustrated quickly, and can only really shop for clothes in good company. Otherwise I wilt.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, I make the classic mistake of only thinking about Christmas gifts as the holidays approach.

This, I have learned, is not the best approach to Christmas shopping.

Good Christmas Shoppers

I suspect that people who are good at Christmas shopping are people who shop regularly.

They know who they want to buy gifts for, and when they’re out shopping throughout the year, they always have an eye open for a good potential gift.

I’ve known people who have a hideaway in the back of a closet or under some stairs where they keep the potential gifts they’ve accumulated over the year.

These people are the BEST people to get gifts from. They’ll give you something they found at a craft fair last spring, or in a gift shop in Vienna in September.

I wish I were one of those people! Instead, I am a:

Christmas Shopping Disaster

Suddenly, the holidays are nearly upon us, and here I am with few gift ideas and even fewer shopping opportunities.

I was so proud of myself last year: I had remembered to keep an eye open for Christmas gifts starting in late summer.

As a result, I was well-prepared with some great stocking stuffers and other presents.

In 2020 Though…

Thanks to the ongoing global pandemic, regular shopping has been curtailed for most everyone. We’ve barely gone anywhere since March and nothing’s been happening, so where are we supposed to have shopped?

This year, a lot of our Christmas shopping will have to be done online. But online just isn’t the same!

Shopping online limits the possibility of a serendipitous find–the stumbling upon something that makes you think of someone you love.

I know that Etsy and other platforms offer a whole range of lovely gift ideas, but being rather a kinaesthetic person, I have trouble really visualizing something when it’s in a 2D picture on a screen.

I like the experience of seeing, touching, holding and feeling something before buying it.

“But Jane! Don’t you knit?”

WELL YOU MIGHT ASK!

I do, indeed.

But, as with Christmas shopping in general, I only ever remember to start knitting for Christmas in October or November.

Then I make grand, ambitious plans and end up injuring myself trying to knit it all.

That’s precisely what happened last year when I knitted my mother-in-law an exquisite lace-bordered shawl (which she adores and I was so proud of, but OUCH MY SHOULDER!).

Christmas Shopping in 2020

I’m just warning anyone expecting a Christmas gift from us: It’s going to be small.

Our boys will be getting a gift from Santa, one from the Three Kings and maybe a pile of books from us. We’ll make up and send packages to our family, and we’ll do our best.

In this year of illness, death and mourning, I desperately want to brighten up everyone’s holiday by sending them the perfect gift.

But that is an unrealistic expectation, and it’s not healthy for me to put that much pressure on myself.

So Christmas will be small this year. We’ll be celebrating quietly at home. No traveling for Christmas for nearly the first time in a decade.

But we’ll be thinking of those we love, and looking forward to another year when we can all be together.

Meantime, here’s James Taylor singing “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”

That Being Said…

So the other day I was all, “Bah! Humbug! Let’s not start celebrating Christmas too soon!”

Well, today my house is all decked out in Christmas decorations.

It turns out, I have small children.

Christmas Is Irresistible to Small Children

The lights! The decorations! The colors! The traditions!

It was all I could do to keep our kids from writing their letters to Santa and los Reyes Magos before Thanksgiving.

(Quick aside: in Spain–and many other countries–the Three Kings bring gifts on January the 6th. Since our Bug’s birthday is January the 8th, we put in a special request to their majesties to come on New Year’s Day. They’re very obliging.)

And so, we pulled out the box of Christmas decorations. We took one look at it and decided it was too meager.

Thankfully, Trader Joe’s had pretty table wreaths. And Target had adorable decorations. And the Bear needed his own Christmas stocking! (Shockingly, I haven’t made him one until now…)

The Bear really likes trains. Like, really likes trains.

What About the Humbug??

Believe me, there’s still plenty of humbug in me!

But it is true that the kids’ excitement for Christmas is infectious. As we put up our mix of sentimental old decorations and new mass-produced ones, I felt a bit of that humbug melt away.

I was reminded of my favorite Christmas decorations growing up. The beautiful glockenspiel. The brass angel candle holders. My parents’ modern wooden nativity scene.

I remember how magical they seemed to me. How taking them out and polishing them each year sparked the magic of the Christmas season.

So I let a bit of the humbug go.

But not enough…

To put up the tree yet! DARN IT, I WILL NOT YIELD!

The Big Important Things

I’ve been pushing these out of my mind lately.

You know what they are. The Big Important Things you need to do. The things that seem terrifying.

And the longer you go without doing them, the more terrifying and difficult they seem.

An Example

Take, for instance, the dishes (not a Big Important Thing, but serves as a good example).

Since this is pandemic time, and we’re all at home together, we have four people eating three main meals a day and two smaller snacks. That generates a lot of dishes.

Say I were to leave them piling up in the sink and on the counters until the end of the day. By the time evening rolls around, the number of dishes in the kitchen is overwhelming.

There are now more dishes that I will ever possibly be able to do! The pressure!! The stress!! I naturally have a breakdown.

However, if we start the day by one of us popping all the breakfast things in the dishwasher right after brekkie, another tidying the lunch things away, quickly sweeping the snack dishes in in the afternoon…

Then, by dinner time, the kitchen is tidy and ready to be cooked in, and the dishes after dinner aren’t so crushingly overwhelming.

Voila! Simples!

In Reality, Though…

While we all know that the Big Important Things aren’t that difficult to do, they, like the dishes, accumulate and seem to take on an aura of impossibility.

For me, it’s financial things. Doing taxes, financial planning, etc. It’s not that it’s hard, but it’s something I do not easily grasp and must take a little more time to think through.

And so, I often push them aside until (like when we eventually run out of dishes to eat off of) I’m forced to deal with them.

(Now that’s not to say we’re not taking care of things. We are.)

Grow Into Boogeymen

Though these are things that can be fairly easily dealt with, because I keep putting them off, they seem to get more and more Big, and more and more Important.

That’s when I wake up to pee at 3am and suddenly it pops into my head that I haven’t looked into whether I can continue to contribute to social security in Switzerland while living in the United States, and OH MY GOD I NEED TO DO THAT, and what about looking into that investment we were thinking about, and have we saved enough for a down payment on a house, and OH GOD WILL THE BOYS WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE IN THE STATES HOW WILL WE EVER AFFORD THAT and I should be looking for a job but I’m stuck home with the boys and do I need to have that mole looked at?

But it’s 3am and it’s simply NOT THE RIGHT TIME.

This is where the Big Important Things become boogeymen.

When Day Breaks

But the funny thing is, that (after eventually drifting off to sleep), in the morning I wake up and I have entirely forgotten about these things.

Because the requirements of every day life take priority. And that to-do list of Big Important Things continues to grow.

Occasionally, I’ll take a scythe to it, and like the Grim Reaper will mow down the terrifying Big Important Things on my list and try to reset to zero.

And that’s the trick! The thing is to do one, just ONE of those terrifying things on your to-do list.

When you do that one, you quickly realize that it wasn’t that hard to do after all. And that gives you courage to move ahead with the rest.

Like washing up the dishes, it’s getting started that’s the hard part. Once you get rolling, it’s like they do themselves.

So let’s get rolling!

What are your Big Important Things you’re putting off? How can you get started on just one of them today?