It’s hard to write when you’re tired. Trust me, I know. I’ve been doing it all day—although, not very successfully. But that’s what happens when you only sleep two hours due to extreme anxiety.
Don Draper makes the whole creative-director-in-an-ad-agency-thing look super cool, but in the modern age it’s not about boozy leisurely lunches with co-workers on Madison Avenue. Although maybe I could use a glam Mad Men-era dining establishment as my Zoom backdrop? I’ll have to look into that. Most of my co-workers lean toward visuals of outer space. It makes sense. At this point, we desk-bound remote workers just want to board a space ship and fly away. Star Wars themes are also really big with my colleagues. But that’s not my thing.
Well, my extremely chaotic workday is over. So I’m better now. However, I didn’t stick to The Civilized Lunch Project, aka: eating lunch no matter how randomized I get from Slack notifications and impromptu Zoom calls. (Damn it! I was on such a roll!) But, I’ve made up for it with a refreshing bourbon-based cocktail. And since I haven’t eaten since breakfast, it’s technically lunch, right?
I was inspired by my bourbon, Campari and lemon juice concoction, but it was a little sweet. On a whim, I added a splash of pickle juice. Boom. Oddly perfect! Like so many things that I shunned in my youth, I’m now finding endless reasons to love not only pickles, but also the brine. There are a lot of cool ways to use it.
As I sat sipping my drink, blaring my music, and contemplating my options for lunch, er I mean, dinner, I started laughing at the thought of all the stuff that in theory I know—but is easy to forget in the day-to-day scramble. It seems the most obvious truths can be elusive. But before I get to those truths, one note on my new method for “finally getting organized.”
Right now I’m big on loose-leaf paper and clipboards. I have a bunch of them, each one dedicated to a different task, project or channel in my brain. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with photographing these handwritten clipboard-bound notes and organizing them by category on Evernote. I’m loving the old-school x digital mashup.
For years I tried purely online-based folder systems. Inevitably, they failed me, so I’d revert back to Ye Olde Moleskin. Alas, a single notebook doesn’t work any better. It’s impossible to keep track of ongoing project details when they are scattered across multiple entries over multiple days.
But loose-leaf sheets of paper. OMG! They can be easily reshuffled and paper-clipped! And with a quick iPhone snap, uploaded and digitized! It makes me optimistic. One day I may actually feel like I have my proverbial shit together.
One of my clipboards dedicated to random thoughts was just sitting there. So, I made a stream-of-consciousness list of things (life lessons?) that sprang to mind. It’s interesting what bubbles up when you’re tired and a little bit drunk. Here you go:
- Keep your data secure. (And, I mean this metaphorically as much as literally. Maybe even more so.) There are hackers out there, and the worst ones hack into your emotional core. No need to hand them your passcode on a silver tray.
- Don’t be afraid to cry. You will inevitably feel about a million times better. I did it today and it was almost like being reborn.
- Make time for love. Love of people. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of pets. Love of plants. Love of the sky. Just fucking love. Don’t let the corporate treadmill obscure what is essential to your existence.
- Doubling up on the friend theme: FRIENDS ARE GOLD. I am so grateful for my relationships, there are no words.
- Keep you’re knives sharpened. (Chef-recommended!) It’s highly useful in the kitchen, and cooking with a sharp knife is much better than cooking with a dull one.
- Save your pennies—and start young. They (whoever they are) should really teach the principles of saving when you’re in Kindergarten and reinforce the beauty of compound interest throughout the course of public school. Whether you come from privilege or humble means, it’s going to benefit you in the end. I talked to a salesman from a financial management firm today (with a Zoom background of a very slick headquarters with very big windows looking out onto very green trees.) The background looked real, but he was just sitting at home. There’s nothing like talking to one of those guys to make you feel like you’re in deep shit when it comes to ever being able to retire. (But maybe I won’t live to be 85?)
- Turn your stereo up super loud once in awhile. (To hell with the neighbors—at least for one of your favorite songs.) It’s important to be considerate of other people whether they’re next door or half way around the world, but sometimes those old-school manners that your grandmother taught you need to take a temporary time-out. Enjoy a tune on full volume. Dance around your living room. Then turn it back down.
- Save things. It’s easy to be wasteful, but don’t be. It never really feels good. There’s a lot of comfort in the worn and familiar. Patina has value.
- Give things away. Sometimes things look nice on the surface, but they no longer bring you joy. Donate them. Find a new home for them. Lighten your load. Possessions have a way of weighing you down.
- Be bold. This is the hardest one of all. Does something or someone make you miserable? Is there something your heart is yearning to do? It might seem like there is no way to cut ties or head in a new direction. But there are often more possibilities than your fear allows you to see.
- And most importantly: Try not to be a damn workaholic. It’s not a good way to be. Trust me, I know.