When I was thirteen, I saw the made for TV movie The Day After. My parents clearly had no idea that the anxiety caused by this movie would stick with me FOR DECADES!!! The film was "provocative, apocalyptic, and gut-wrenching."
It says so right on the poster!
For months after watching it, I had terrible nightmares. Even during the day I imagined that a moment of static on the radio meant that a nuclear missile had entered North American airspace and was minutes from impact. I pictured my family and I scrounging for food under the rubble while tending to our radiation burns. I was a total mess.
My son is thirteen now and I'm wondering, what has HE seen or heard that is causing him to question his mortality and to worry about the health and safety of his family?
Being privy to heated and somewhat panicked discussions about the "surreal" era of Trump can't have done much to foster a carefree and hopeful outlook about the future of his planet.
I hadn't thought of the movie The Day After for years. Now suddenly I'm worrying about political stability and the possibility of nuclear war. I'm a nervous thirteen year old all over again.
Is my son worried too? Has the notion of a mentally unstable person at the helm of the most powerful country in the world kept him awake at all? I dare not bring it up for fear of implanting that sinister seed—for once it takes root and grows into a full fledged worry weed, it's impossible to prune that pricker back.
Our kids hear and see so much. Too much, in my opinion. They need to understand the world, but do they need to carry it on their tiny shoulders?
I'm wondering, do we give them too much credit and assume they can handle more than they actually can or should?
I'm asking in earnest.
Friends of mine tease me for my bubble-wrapping tenancies. We've never allowed our son to play with toys or video games that glorify guns or violence. But now that he's a teen, we've let things slide. He understands the difference between fiction and reality, so maybe it's okay for him to shoot aliens and watch the news? Other kids are doing it and they're fine.
But are they, are they really?
My parents had no idea that a made-for-television movie would affect me so deeply and negatively and for so long.
Can we as adults do a better job of protecting our kids from the evils of the world (real and imagined) until their brains and hearts are better able to cope?
The carefree innocence of childhood lasts for a blink of an eye. So shouldn't we shield our kids from the scary sh*t as long as we possibly can? And how do we do that in the age of instant clicky images and info?
I fear it's too late in my son's case. He's six feet tall and has an understanding of how the world works that is far more broad and sophisticated than me, decades his senior.
But I'm asking in general, do we as a society glaze over the TMI factor? And are we scaring and scarring our kids for life?
That 1980's nuclear war movie was for-reals scary, but I fear real life news ("fake news" and otherwise) today might be even scarier.
People really get their knickers in a knot about New Year Resolutions.
“Resolutions set us up to fail!” they cry.
“Don’t shame me into making changes!” they exclaim.
“I refuse to be pressured into announcing silly resolutions that never work anyway.” they state through gritted teeth.
Maybe we need to rethink the word resolutions?
It does sound a bit rigid. Maybe “positive attempts at life revisions” or “no pressure challenges that can only end up helping us in the end” is more palatable?
I don't see the problem with listing parts of your life that could benefit from some attention. I mean, taking a look back over the year to evaluate areas that might need some work can’t actually hurt, can it?
Of course sweeping claims like, “This year I will lose 50 pounds or bust!” or “This year I will put all 18,567 photos on my computer into neatly labeled albums with witty captions if it kills me!” have a high probability of failure.
HUGE changes take HUGE effort. I prefer small, and manageable. I can do pretty much anything if it’s bite-sized. Take running for example. I loathe it. But I can sprint for 30 seconds, several times in a row with rests in between because it’s only 30 seconds at a time.
So here’s what I propose… app developers, pay attention. Please make this Reso App (and feel free to give me a cut).
The “Easy Bite-Sized No Pressure It’s All Gooooood New Year Resolutions App” (the name might need tweaking) is simple—at the end of the year reflect back and identify a few areas of your life that could stand to be improved.
Input these goals into the app (ten little goals to start would be great—you can always add more as the year goes on) and the app will “suggest” one small change to focus on each day over the coming year. If you like the way it’s going, you can opt for that challenge to continue for two days or three or a week or more or until you’re bored and want to try something new. Or maybe try two challenges at once. Or not. No pressure. Eeeeeeeeasy does it. (I’m trying very carefully not to frighten the anti-resolution people. The last thing I want is a resolution revolution on my hands.)
The app will continue to run down your list of
resolutions positive changes for the rest of the year. Once you get to the end of your list, the app will randomly choose formerly attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) goals to revisit.
You can try them again, or not. It's all good. *gently backs away from nervous resolution haters*
In the end, you’re only helping yourself by striving to improve your life. Am I right or amiright?
Challenges can be silly or serious. Healthy or savvy. Whatever you choose is okay. *strokes timid revolutionite’s hair*
To demonstrate, here are some challenges I would input into my app and a brief explanation of why I feel these changes will make my life better.
After a jumping jack gone wrong at the gym it occurred to me that my pelvic floor is in need of repair.
Challenge: Do one minute of Kegels 3x per day. (Just me, or if you hear the word Kegel do you immediately clench?)
I’m feeling out of touch. The internet is great, but FaceTime isn’t the same as face time.
Challenge: Reach out by phone, in person, or by letter to a person I care about.
My heels are cracked and scaly.
Challenge: Apply cream to my elbows and heels before bed.
I have the music in me. I just need to coax it out.
Challenge: Pick up my guitar for five minutes per day.
I’m so freaking tired all the time.
Challenge: Go to bed an hour earlier than normal until getting up at 6 AM doesn’t hurt so much.
I used to be as bendy as a pipe cleaner. Now I’m more like a pipe.
Challenge: Stretch while watching TV for three minutes.
When I’m stressed I hold my breath and I don't even realize I'm doing it.
Challenge: Breathe in the good (take a deep cleansing breath in and imagine the air is pretty and pink and full of positivity and energy. Slowly exhale and imagine the air is grey and dirty….which is all the stress and crap leaving). Do this 3x a day. I know, it sound airy fairy but it really does work.
I lie to my husband by claiming I “need” my iPhone beside me at night for my alarm. I’m calling BS on myself.
Challenge: Move my iPhone far enough away from my bed that I can’t reach out and grab it.
Dehydrated…all the time...
Challenge: Start and end the day with a large room temp glass of water (additional glasses throughout the day are a bonus).
I’m always frantically running around in the morning.
Challenge: Lay my gym/regular clothes out the night before.
What happens if we try but fail to make these stick? Who cares? The exercise is about taking a look at your life and making an effort to make small changes. If beating yourself up for losing focus and moving on is a thing, well then I’m a boxer with a black eye and a split lip.
The beauty of this plan is that even if you get bored and move on, you can always revisit each goal several more times over the year. You’re making changes, on your terms, and on your schedule. No pressure. No losing, only winning.
*While we wait for the app (which I’m sure programmers are working on any second!), the process can be replicated using two jars. Fill the first jar with resolutions. Once you’ve given a goal your most valiant effort, put it into the second “revisit these later” jar and choose a new challenge or two.
*I was mostly joking when I came up with the app idea but now that I think about it, it’s a pretty good idea.