by Elizabeth Rago
The pause button has been triggered in many areas of our lives and after reading Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting by Julio Vincent Gambuto, I pulled back from my computer screen and asked myself:
What do I really want to put back into my life when we hit the play button?
In the article, Gambuto speaks of ignoring the deafening noise. Boy oh boy can I speak to being overwhelmed by the never-ending racket of horrifying headlines and ways to live my best life during quarantine (and shame on me for not taking “advantage” of this time because I’m being smothered by this disorienting circumstance and I need to take a nap and an extra dose of CBD to make it through the afternoon).
Running parallel to the militant pause of life has been the realization that both my personal and professional lives are in a transition of their own. My children, all out of diapers and into more self-sufficient living, opened a window to invite fresh air into my brain and start thinking purposefully instead of reactively. In fact, our family has transitioned from merely surviving to actively hungry to thrive.
Last week, soaked in the updates warning how much closer COVID-19 is to my home, long feeds about why I should watch Tiger King, I spent hours banging my head on the unemployment website. A building fear of sliding back into a dire financial state that we just clawed out of, I screamed out loud to nobody in particular,
I wanted everyone and everything to shut the hell up, for one second and let me think — or forget — or cry — or I didn’t even know.
My son wandered in and asked with a concerned/humored look, who I was talking to. Once your kiddos become teenagers, there’s this veil that’s been drawn where you can really talk to them like semi-adults.
“I can’t take it anymore — the news, the constant pressure to perform and do and hustle, the worry that our family and friends could get the coronavirus, that some of them HAVE, the fear of not having enough money to pay our bills, the fact that every 10 seconds my daughters are asking to buy Minecoins or Robux, my arthritis…”
After my run-on sentence rant, my son simply said, “Then, step away from it.”
Darn it, that’s exactly what I say to my children when they get overwhelmed with a task or school work — step away from it for a while, regain your peace, and then come back when you’re ready to tackle it again.
It’s an amazing moment when your off-spring comes back to remind you of the life lessons you’ve spent years preaching to them.
So here I am, entering a new phase of my life and I need some quiet to figure out which road to take.
Of course, I made a punch list of things-to-do because making lists is my specialty:
#1 — I’m going to quiet my mind.
To accomplish this I’ve unsubscribed from the hundreds of emails I get a day that inevitably lead me down a rabbit hole of distraction. Notifications, except text messages, have been turned off of my phone. Next, I’m taking a social media sabbatical, meaning I’m off Facebook and Instagram both personally and for The Modern Domestic Woman for at least a month.
#2 — I’m going to scrutinize and evaluate my motives.
What am I trying to accomplish? In my writing? With MDW? As a parent? A spouse?
Shifting from impulse to sound choices, quieting the mind allows for reflection, honest reflection, about the hows and whys of what I do.