Resolutions

Admit it.

Every year around this time we start writing down all the things we resolve to do by the end of the year.

Lose weight.

More money.

Learn a new thing.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having resolutions for the year. The key is making those resolutions manageable strategically.

Oh, you thought I was going to say “make them reasonable”?

It is absolutely reasonable to have goals that may seem unattainable to some. Your job is to figure out a way to make them happen.

Step 1 – write down one to two goals you have for each category of your life (you, family, friends, career, health, fun, other things important to you and the “just because”)

Step 2 – Now divide your year into quarters (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, etc) and write down what you can accomplish in each category for the first quarter. (Don’t map out the entire year! Things change and you need to be able to adapt).

Step 3 – For the first quarter, break each goal into the tasks needed to get there. Assign one task per month.

Step 4 – Each week work a little bit on the tasks. Can be once a week or 3-5 days a week. It’s up to you and you must allow yourself room to slack.

Step 5 – Tell someone else your plan so you can report out weekly and be held accountable.

An example would be the inevitable “resolve to exercise more”.

Quarter Goal: workout 30 min daily by the end of March, so maybe work out 5 x week by the end of February, therefore start by working out 3 x week by the end of January.
OR 10 minutes a day in Jan, 20 minutes a day in Feb, 30 minutes a day by March.

Break it down.

And forgive yourself for missed days.

And at the end of the quarter reassess. What you wanted to accomplish in January may have adjusted in April. Make the necessary changes for the next quarter and keep going.

Resolutions are supposed to make you feel good not guilty.

Give you a sense of purpose.

And it is for you.

Wishing everyone a safe new year with health and prosperity.

Butterfly

This morning as I was looking for the right necklace to match my stay at home outfit (yes- I am one of those people), I came across a butterfly pin that made me pause.

Mind you, I had seen this pin on many occasions while looking for the right accessory for the day. And usually I just quickly scanned past it because it made me feel uncomfortable.

You see, I made this butterfly despite every ounce of my being wanting to do nothing of the sort.

I was in the hospital (as a patient, not a doctor), feeling ill and despite my usual optimistic nature, I just wanted peace and quiet.

Into my room comes a bright and cheery volunteer artist who insisted I make an art piece to keep my mind centered and bring me a bit of peace.

I wanted to tell her to please please go away.

But I decided to give in and partake of what she had to offer.

Picked the butterfly.

Colored it.

Made sure to do my best to ensure the colors and patterns were symmetrical. (My internal mechanism of being able to control something in my life when everything else was out of my control).

And after she shrunk the artwork with heat, she added a pin to the back and handed it back to me.

It wasn’t half bad.

I made sure the butterfly came home with me and placed it with my other jewelry but never brought it out because it reminded me of a tough time.

Today I looked at it and thought, “Hey butterfly, we’ve both come a long way”.

So I brought it out.

Held it for a while.

And was truly grateful.

Grateful that I was not in the same place I was when I made it.

Grateful that I have today and am looking forward to tomorrow.

Planning to soar.

Reminds me of the lyrics Deniece Williams sang in 1984;

“Black butterfly, set the skies on fire
Rise up even higher
So the ageless winds of time can catch your wings.”

T’is the Season

Where I am, there is snow on the ground and the temperature is a bit cold.

Our teams are manning the antibody infusion tents for those with mild to moderate Covid19. These same team members are also getting their vaccines to protect their patients, colleagues, friends and family.

So there appears to be hope on the horizon.

I look at this season and recall the heartbreak and sorrow we experienced throughout 2020, but I also find the moments of joy that may or may not have occurred in spite of (because of?) everything.

Birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc may not have been as expected but they happened. The significance of the events was not diminished by the method in which they were celebrated.

I will not pretend that the “good” things outnumbered the “bad” things in 2020.

But I will acknowledge that I am here today.

You are here today.

And it appears we have made it to the end of 2020 and will hopefully awake on the morning of 2021.

The holidays may be different this year but there is so much to be thankful for.

Permit yourself to smile, sing and laugh.

Fa La La La La

La La La La

Sunday Morning

There is something about Sunday mornings.

Whether I was on call or working from home or at a meeting or just home.

Sundays felt like a reset.

A day to take stock of last week and then plan for the new one.

A day to reflect on what is going on in my life and then be truly grateful for the positive things.

Because no matter how bad things are, there are little positive things happening every day.

My positive is that I woke up today. Everything else is gravy. So I am looking forward to the week ahead.

As Lionel Ritchie sang…

“That’s why I’m easy,

“I’m easy like Sunday morning.”

Happy Sunday.

Broadway

I was hanging up Christmas decorations at home and had my music tuned to, not holiday music, but Broadway show tunes.

I love Broadway.

And that includes the off Broadway productions – so I’ll say I love live theater.

Sitting in the audience, excited, waiting for the curtains to open (if not already).

The orchestra begins to play and then the show begins.

I really really miss live theater.

My promise to myself is that when we get to our steady state where live theater is allowed again, I will make a more concerted effort to attend performances.

Meanwhile I am starting to watch the live performances and/or movies that are on the various networks (on weekends, at night, when able…we are under a second wave so weekends are no longer sacred).

The recordings are not the same, but I still enjoy the chills, warmth and excitement of performers showcasing the fantastic work of writers and backstage staff and producers.

For now, I hum along to the online station, try to guess which show a song is from, laugh and cry at various lyrics, and just allow myself to feel good.

All The Leaves Are Brown

And the sky is gray.

If you are of a certain age you are probably humming the song that these two sentences trigger.

Yes, it’s not as bright and sunny in the Northeast as it was many weeks ago.

And a number of us are dealing with the new surge of Covid-19 cases because our jobs require us to step up our activities during this period.

The concern this go round is that the human capital that health care systems, transportation, food and retail industries, utilities, etc needed to keep us going may not be enough.

After going through the first wave, a number of people are tired.

Mentally, physically and emotionally.

Some have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and are unsure if they can go through this again.

So what can we do?

Try to keep the number of cases with Covid19 from escalating too high (I know, it seems like that ship has sailed).

Wash hands, mask up, social distance.

If you are positive, follow the quarantine guidelines.

If you have mild to moderate symptoms and are high risk, ask about the new antibody infusion treatments that the FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorization. See if this treatment is an option for you.

You have to be 12yrs and older, 40kg and up with certain risk factors. The infusion takes about an hour. The idea being to hopefully prevent you from becoming a severe case that needs to be hospitalized.

Meanwhile the various vaccine options are almost here. Some requiring two doses which take effect two weeks after the second dose is given.

Regardless of what you decide- have a conversation now with your family and your doctor so you are prepared should you find yourself in the position of needing care later.

If you are suffering from mental, physical or emotional distress please reach out to someone.

If you notice someone is in need, please reach out to them.

Remember, hospitals are slowly shutting down visitations because of the surge.

You do not want to be faced with that prospect as a patient nor as the loved one.

And should you be in that position, things are a bit more hopeful in that we have new treatments and have a better understanding of how this virus works than we did at the beginning of the year.

Science is working.

So, I’m looking out again through my window.

All the leaves are brown

And the sky is gray

But I am hopeful we will get through this if everyone does their part.

Rain

This morning I woke up to see gray skies and rain.

What was interesting is that it didn’t make me feel gloomy at all. Rather I felt like a kid who gets to put on their raincoat and galoshes to jump around in a puddle.

For me, I guess, my mental state needs to see this as a shower over all of the pain, sorrow, angst, stress, discomfort and uneasiness that all of us are dealing with. No matter who you are, where you live, what you do, life has been a bit bumpy lately.

I try each morning to post one positive line. If I have to think of a positive saying and can write it down, I’m starting my day on the right foot. Everything cannot be horrible.

Yes, there are concerning things occurring around us. Some we can change quickly, others may take much more time and effort. But there are moments of good that occur as well, which we cannot ignore.

So as I start today I have a choice.

Look at the rain and complain.

Or put on my raincoat and boots and smile.

Because I am grateful for another day.

Trick or Treat

I was in my kitchen going through the pantry and saw some bags of candy. My immediate thought was to make sure they were good enough for Halloween.

Then I paused.

Halloween will be different this year.

My kids are older so it’s not an issue for our home (16, 17, 20) but I was thinking of the kids who come by every year for their treats.

I have nephews and nieces that will be looking forward to this day.

So I started thinking of how the candy and treat manufacturers will need to make mini bags of treats that can be sold in bulk for people to distribute. And how everyone will have to wear masks (which most are used to doing).

Then I thought about kids having to go to various homes and how the adults in their homes would have to wipe down every mini bag of candy (the assumption being there would be no individual pieces).

So I thought, maybe there would have to be small get togethers where kids did trick or treating from room to room or from corner to corner of one home.

And then I stopped thinking.

Somehow, someway, the adults will hopefully figure out the safest way to create Halloween festivities for children in our unusual climate.

It’s not too early to start planning ahead.

Happy September- preparing for October.

Looking forward to treats.

Catching Up

I find myself “bumping” into old friends, colleagues and acquaintances either live or virtually. Recent events have made the last 12 months go by without the usual venues to connect and it sometimes is surprising to realize so much time has passed since the last encounter.

The conversation usually starts off with “So when did we last see each other?”

Then we each think out loud…

3 months ago? 6 months ago? Wait before Covid? Ok, last summer? Has it been a year already?

It ends with the “We really need to catch up.”

But instead of the usual goodbyes, I pull out my iPhone and open my calendar app and tell them we need to lock down a date and time for a get together either live or virtual.

Even if it is one month away.

And this has worked for me so far.

My live meet ups are usually in my home where before they arrive we agree on a restaurant from where to order a meal. The idea being to avoid the “buffet/family style” food sharing.

When they arrive, we both have our masks on and do the elbow bump as a greeting. Hands are washed and we sit in my living room the obligatory 6 ft apart, then we start talking.

What’s been happening with the family.

What’s been going on at work.

How are we each handling the current events locally, nationally and internationally.

The food arrives and we move to the dining area – again apart, with our own food items. Masks have to come down so we eat and drink carefully. Masks go up intermittently. And when the meal is done we retreat to the living room.

Masks up again we continue our conversation, laughing and sometimes lamenting.

For the times when we have to schedule a virtual meet up, the same rule applies. It goes in my calendar as a Zoom meeting. At the appropriate time (usually later in the evening) we connect virtually, each with our favorite beverage and snacks/meal.

The advantage here is we aren’t hindered by masks.

We can see each other’s facial expressions and guffaw without concern. Same conversations as if we were together in person (with the obligatory family member walking by or the dogs barking- but it’s not a business meeting so all is good).

Plus we aren’t worried about having to drive home after our time together. (The roads are safer!)

At the end of each encounter I have a warm feeling inside. Just the ability to connect outside of work for the purpose of reconnecting socially (with non-family members- because though I love them, they don’t count in this situation). How I had missed that! And now I’m finding a way to bring it back into my busy life.

Social connection while social distancing.

Find a way to make it happen.

Challenges

Let’s face it.

There is no shortage of challenges that are dropped in front of us these days. It’s just the nature and timing that make some more difficult than others. And they don’t seem to wait for one challenge to leave your life before presenting themselves.

Some of them are just not worthy of your efforts, or the timing is not right. And if they are not a matter of life or death- you reassess your priorities and make the decision to face them or turn your back on them.

Others leave you no choice but to face them head on.

Those are the truly tough ones.

Because you don’t always get a chance to drop everything you are doing to focus all your energy on dealing with them. You have to figure out a way to compartmentalize or divide your resources in order to attend to the new issue at hand while not neglecting other important matters.

The weight of the challenge can be daunting.

You may wake up feeling great, then all of a sudden you remember the task ahead. (You know the feeling – wanting to pull the covers over your head and just not do anything at all.)

But you swing your legs over the side of your bed. You start your morning ritual. And in your head you start strategizing on how to proceed or which steps of an already planned out process you need to take.

And you reach out.

To those who are going to help you with the challenge.

To those who are going to be your cheerleaders.

To those who will just listen when things are extremely hard.

Take note that you will come in contact with individuals that seem to be put in your path just to make the challenge a bit more difficult.

Just keep in mind that each individual has their own batch of challenges they are also navigating. Some doing it well, others not so much. And their mismanagement of their own issues may spill over into their interactions with you.

Don’t allow this to add to your burden.

Stay focused on what you need to do.

And remember that, despite the outcome, you will have grown. Physically, mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually. The lessons learned will help guide you in the future.

So – you’re probably thinking I’m going to end this by saying “Challenge Accepted”.

Nope. (Though I was really really tempted to do so!)

Decide if this challenge is what you need to do for you and yours. Think it through. Strategize. Gather your resources (human as well). Then go.

May the other side be everything and more that you hoped for.