My lord. It’s only 15 days into the New Year and I’m already mentally exhausted. My brain is mush. I’ve spent way too much time trying to follow the news, understand what I believe to be true, parse through the lies and half-truths and wow, just wow.
A press conference, contentious cabinet confirmations, Russia, Anderson Cooper and Kellyanne Conway fighting, Buzzfeed, John Lewis…oh, and President-elect Trump tanking the industry I’ve worked in for more than 20 years saying we are “getting away with murder.” (Funny, I thought drugs saved people.)
Let’s not forget appointing an anti-vaxxer (is he really a Kennedy?) to potentially head a vaccine safety task force, and oh yeah, there was a mass shooting last week by a man who should never have had access to a gun…and no one is even talking about it.
Rather than go on and on, however, about the craziness that is our world right now (and even if you voted for Trump, this is crazy right?) I thought it might be more constructive to provide to you, my faithful readers, with my own personal survival guide for 2017. Without further ado, here you go:
- Don’t be a celebrity. I got this one down. And if you’re reading my blog, you aren’t a celebrity either so you should be ok.
- Spend endless hours trying to figure out the plot of Star Wars VIII. Who are Rey’s parents? Luke can’t be her father, that’s too easy. Maybe she’s a Kenobi or even a Palpatine. Is she actually bad and doesn’t know it yet? Watch the lightsaber fight scene again in The Force Awakens against Kylo Ren – she fights just like Emperor Palpatine. Hmmmm. What about Finn? Is he force-sensitive somehow and related to Mace Windu and doesn’t know it? Is Kylo going to go back to the light side? What’s Luke’s deal, how does he eat on that island, is there Door Dash in space?
- Take care of your body in 2017 since your mind is going to be totally fucked with every day. I’ve decided this is the year I’m really going to get healthy. I’ve substantially cut down my carb intake including no regular coca-cola (ok, I’ve been sneaking a few but screw you), no In & Out Burger and French Toast only once a week. I’ve exercised nearly every day of 2017 and have lost 5 pounds. It’s one of the few things I can control.
- Have a social media strategy. I can’t tell you how many friends I have spoken with who are trying to figure this out. Too much Trump on Facebook, blah blah blah. Here’s what I’ve done: deleted FB off of my phone so I’m not a total slave to it. I go on when I’m at my computer or Ipad, which means not when I’m in my car waiting to pick up a kid from school or an appointment, which is often. I use Twitter as my newspaper, following only respected journalists/publications and this is where I also follow people in the Trump organization, including Mr. Golden boy himself. Reading Kellyanne Conway tweets is worse than root canal, but I feel I need to understand the other side as best as I can. Remember, you own your social channels. I constantly unfollow and re-follow people and organizations on FB and Twitter based on my mood (not you my dear friends). If someone is in Cancun for a month and they are just too damn happy, well, I unfollow them until they return. If someone’s kid can read and play guitar at 3 years old, you can bet I ain’t following them right now. I still love them, just not right this minute. Yes, I still see political stuff on my FB feed, but it’s from people whose opinions I generally want to know about.
- Pick something you really have wanted to do and try to do it. For me, I’m going to try to write a book, actually two books. One is non-fiction and one is fiction. The chances are slim that I’ll finish one, let alone two, but I just want to keep writing even if just for myself. And unless the spirit really moves me, I’m not going to blog that much anymore (boo hoo). I don’t feel as comfortable as I used to writing about my kids – especially Alex who is in a real public school now – and how many times do you all want to read about my thoughts on Trump and/or gun control? In truth, I’d really like to start a baseball blog, but gee, I bet no one has thought of that before.
- Spend time with your kids. If you don’t have kids, you can spend time with mine and I’ll pay you $20 an hour. Or just spend time with people that you really care about, or your dogs. If you don’t have a dog, you can spend time with one or both of mine and I’ll pay you for that too. Tuesdays are going to be Ryan’s time and Thursday afternoons (and a number of other times) I already spend with Alex. They have no idea who Donald Trump is and I can’t wait to escape into their world of trains, snakes and Jedi.
- Find things that relax you. Ok, so I’m going to admit here that I really liked La La Land. I mean Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling together again on screen. How could you not? And, frankly, I find the music relaxing. And it’s a movie filled with optimism and dreamers and that’s what we need right now. So I listen to the soundtrack in my car or when I’m writing and it makes me think of happy things. If I want to go a little bit more mainstream, I carefully select a Foo Fighters album based on my mood and listen straight through.
- Read a book. Yep, get off your computer and read something. I read Before the Fall – yes, it’s about a plane crash – over the holiday break. It’s the first book I’ve read in a long time. My next book is either going to be The Arm (a baseball book about pitchers and Tommy John surgery) or the new Michael Lewis book, or a book called Evicted.
- Be nice to your partner (or best friend, or mom or whoever you are closest to). For me, that means WAY, and I mean WAY, less eye rolls directed to my lovely wife, no more “I don’t do empathy” conversations and I lot more “no worries, I’ll pick up the dog poop in the yard.” I may have a better chance writing a book than limiting my eye rolls, but I can try.
- It’s wonderful. I just recently re-discovered Lego (through my kids) and it’s the perfect late night project. At the end, you have a totally rad tie-fighter or x-wing, and you feel like you are on top of the world. Until the next morning when you hear “don’t worry daddy, I promise I’ll be careful with your new lego….uh oh. DADDY!!!!”
- And finally, find a political cause you care about and dive in a little deeper than you normally would. I’m still sorting out my thoughts (and a new issue comes up every day), but right now I’m leaning toward putting a little more effort around gun control.
I hope you found this list helpful. If not, come talk to me. I’ll be easy to find. Just look for the guy wearing the SF Giants hat and the Foo Fighters t-shirt rocking back and forth in a fetal position singing “City of Stars.”