Deb Susan Manages … Today

Sometimes, life and news and the world at large whirl into a giant maelstrom from which there’s no escape.

Stress at home. Death on the news. Disasters on every possible level. It all becomes too much. I think about all the things that could happen, the things that must happen, the things that might happen … and all of a sudden I want to do nothing but roll myself into a ball.

Things look so bad that even cupcakes cannot make me smile.

On days like that, when joy seems very small and far away, I force myself to re-focus in smaller scale.

No one can do all the things. No one can process all of the fears, all of the “what-might-be’s.” All of the days between now and forever stretch out into far too much for any one person to handle. I cannot do it. I cannot manage.

But I can manage today.  13D20 marbled rose

This day.

These things.

The ones that cannot be put off for tomorrow.

These things I can handle.

And so, it’s these things – today’s things – that become my focus.

I turn off the news. I put down the paper. I refuse to think about “what might happen” next week or next month or next year. Those things overwhelm. Instead, I finish one contract. I cook one dinner. I go for a walk. And after that, when the sun goes down, I sit at my computer and write or edit one single chapter – more if I can, but always, always one.

Sometimes it’s difficult not to let my focus expand to include the myriad worries that want my attention. When it does, I sit myself down and refocus once again.

A thousand things, I cannot manage. But one thing, today’s thing – this moment’s thing – I can do. And slowly, sometimes painfully, the stress subsides, the ship rights itself, and the cupcakes once again can make me smile.

13B Icing on the Cupcake

11 Replies to “Deb Susan Manages … Today”

  1. Susan, so very much this. I spend probably 80% of my time counseling people trying to teach this one, small thing. And then I go home and try to teach it to myself, lol. I love this post

    1. Thanks Kerry…ironically, even though my day job is different from yours, I too spend much of my time teaching others to remember this – and then promptly forgetting to self-apply the knowledge. It’s funny how it’s clear when we look at other people, and can help them, but we have blinders on ourselves!

  2. Hi, Susan, Deb Kerry directed me to this post. Very timely today. This is my motto, “one step, one minute at a time. And if that doesn’t work, one second…” Thank you for reminding me. 🙂

    1. Hi Aurelia! It’s great to meet you here on the blog, and I’m so glad you liked the post. And I love the motto – I live my life the same way. It’s amazing, but sometimes we really do have to take it down to “get through the next five minutes and we’ll go from there.”

  3. How do you eat an elephant?

    One bite at a time.

    Just bought my daughter a stuffed elephant (and she’s almost 18) as a reminder that everything is manageable in small bits. It’s those big bits that getcha.

    1. I love that you bought your daughter an elephant to remind her. When I was 18, my mother bought me a stuffed seahorse, to remind me never to lose sight of the things I genuinely love, the things that make me happy inside. I still have that seahorse (it’s a stuffed male with a little pouch that has three seahorse babies inside) and it still reminds me – as I’m sure your daughter’s elephant will do for her.

      1. Susan, I love know you got that seahorse when you were 18. I knew the elephant was a good idea (and she loves it, and the meaning) but now I know for sure. Thank you, my friend, for sharing your story.

        1. I LOVE the elephant, Amy. 18 year olds are about to embark on the next big phase of their lives and I think it’s really special you gave her this gift for comfort! I’m filing this idea away for when my 6yo reaches that point.

  4. Beautiful post, Susan! It reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a dear friend of mine. *winks* Deep breaths. One foot forward. One dat at a time. This is certainly a motto to live by.

    1. Thanks, Heather. One day at a time, we get through this. And having good friends to do it with makes the walk so much easier.

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