Day 661: Whelmed

With all the things I’m doing these days, including

  • blogging every day,
  • taking photos for this blog,
  • working full-time as a group and individual psychotherapist at a major Boston hospital,
  • being a mother to a 16-year-old son,
  • maintaining my health,
  • participating in activities I love, including musical events and travel, and
  • promoting ideas I have about improving health care delivery

…. it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Yesterday, I recognized that my chances to feel overwhelmed were increasing, because  my sold-out presentation on The Koplow Method of group therapy is coming up in three days (but who’s counting?).

I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. I just don’t.

Somebody I admire recently said to me:

I’m overwhelmed

as a way to express gratitude. However, when I use the word “overwhelmed,” I mean

  • confused,
  • lost,
  • anxious,
  • disconnected (from people and hope), and
  • insecure.

At the same time, I don’t want to feel underwhelmed, either.  To me, underwhelmed means:

  • unimpressed,
  • dissatisfied, and
  • aware that things can be much better.

For example, WordPress recently changed the way bullet points appear for this blog, and, I, for one, am extremely underwhelmed by that change.

I think it’s time to use today’s title in this here blog post, don’t you? Here we go:

I do not want to feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed. As much as possible, I would like to be balanced and in the middle of those extremes: in other words …”whelmed.”

I am neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by the way I defined “whelmed.”

Yesterday, to stay whelmed in the midst of all my different commitments, interests, and obligations, I prepared for today’s blog post, as I made my way throughout the day. That is, rather than wait until I got up in the morning to decide on a topic — which is my usual, natural process — I thought of a title:

What smells?

which was inspired by a new raincoat I was wearing. I knew that

What smells?

was a fertile topic and one that I (and my readers) might benefit from, since I could write about

  • how smells trigger memories,
  • how new smells (and other unfamiliar things) can affect us, and
  • shame people can have about human body smells, which we just can’t avoid in our lives.

Also, since everything has a smell, the opportunities for words and photos were … endless!

Also, there was an obvious musical number I could use in that post:

(I sniffed out that Lynyrd Skynyrd performance of “That Smell,” on YouTube, here)

That post could practically write itself!

So all day, yesterday, as a way of NOT getting overwhelmed by fears and cognitive distortions about my upcoming presentation or underwhelmed by a potentially not-good-enough blog post, I focused on

What smells?

and I saw

  • things that smell and
  • things that USED TO smell (like the Charles River in Boston, which has been cleaned up, quite a bit, since I was a kid).

In addition, I ran into lots of challenges, like traffic that made me late almost everywhere I went yesterday, including

  • work,
  •  Berklee College of Music, to hunt down the recruitment video I helped create for them in the 1990’s,
  • therapy,
  • visiting with my neighbor, whose dog recently had surgery and who has a toilet she recommends as a possible replacement for our toilet that keeps running, running, running, and
  • my usual Wednesday evening routine, with bf Michael, having dinner at a local mall that includes a pet store and Whole Foods Market.

I realized I could include ALL those things, too, since certain obstacles can really stink, unless we let go of feeling overwhelmed and/or underwhelmed by our daily commitments, interests, and obligations, and stay as whelmed as possible.

So I had fun, yesterday, thinking about how I might write to you about

What smells?

and I took lots of  photos, including (in chronological order):

IMG_1134 IMG_1148 IMG_1150 IMG_1152 IMG_1157 IMG_1161 IMG_1162 IMG_1164 IMG_1168 IMG_1169 IMG_1172 IMG_1178 IMG_1179 IMG_1180 IMG_1184 IMG_1186 IMG_1187 IMG_1188 IMG_1190 IMG_1208  IMG_1209 IMG_1217 IMG_1219 IMG_1220 IMG_1221 IMG_1225   IMG_1228 IMG_1238 IMG_1234 IMG_1239 IMG_1243 IMG_1250 IMG_1251 IMG_1253 IMG_1254 IMG_1255 IMG_1256 IMG_1257

But then, I thought, how the hell am I going to explain all those photos? And there are some photos I might want to comment upon, like

  • how everybody gets parking tickets in Boston, even utility workers,
  • a study room at Berklee, which I attended during two summers when I was in high school, which looks exactly the same as it looked when I was 16 years old and where a very mean (and perhaps, insecure) boy said something humiliating to me and his friends laughed, laughed, laughed,
  • my neighbor’s daughter, dressing up for Halloween years ago as a virus particle,
  • my neighbor’s dog toys, which are stuffed animals purchased at the Boston Science Museum, representing (left to right) Ebola, Salmonella, and the common cold, and
  • how the Halloween costumes at Whole Foods Market include a Chef’s outfit, which Michael (who used to cook for a living) found particularly underwhelming.

So, I hope, you can see my dilemma about writing the planned blog post

What smells?

There are just too many chances for that post to be overwhelming or underwhelming.

Instead, I’m glad I changed the topic to


And sure enough, that’s how I’m feeing now.

Thanks to everything that smells AND to everybody who ever gets overwhelmed, overwhelmed, and/or whelmed. I thinks that includes you, me, and everything, don’t you?

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 29 Comments

Post navigation

29 thoughts on “Day 661: Whelmed

  1. I know overwhelmed quite well and also know underwhelmed. But I guess I never thought about simply being whelmed. And smells can certainly be overwhelming, but not really underwhelming, I don’t think. Mostly, I guess, they are just whelming.

  2. The over-under on your post today is two, Ann. As in, I have two aleck comments. Up to you whether they are smart or not. Here’s goes:

    • I did not know if the gentleman standing in line in your photo was in music school or fishing class.

    • The new bullet points of which you spoke stink.

    I hope you spend your Thursday thoroughly whelmed, my friend.

    • Thank you, friend Mark, for supplying something I forgot to include in this post, as I was underwhelmed, overwhelmed and whelmed during its creation. That is, the excellent bass pun. And I appreciate, also, the validation of my feelings.

      It is very whelming to me how you always have my back.

  3. monalee2usa

    again today you’ve hit the right chord your amazing Ann , I’m overwhelmed now with lots of things I hope I can work thru..miss u stop to smell  the roses

    • Thank you so much, Lena, for commenting, for letting me know, and for that beautiful invitation to Stop to Smell the Roses.

  4. I love how you think and how you see the world and share your insights.

    Nothing smelly about this post — though sometimes stinkin’ thinkin’ can overwhelm us all!

    Good luck with your sold out presentation — yippee!

  5. Ann, I honestly don’t know how you blog each and every day and continue with Life. I really don’t. I KNOW what that involves. When I get overwhelmed, as I do with Petals, I step back just to BE, just to BREATHE. When Life is throwing those hard curve balls, the shock that results at first is rampant, but then I pick myself up and continue to move forward. I know I don’t get here often enough, and for that, I feel badly. I wish I had more time, Ann, to do all that I would like to do. Yet, here again, I keep doing what I can, when I can, where I can. My hat is off to you, Ms. Ann. Again, I really don’t know how you blog every day, and continue to create these amazing posts. God bless you! (((HUGS))) Amy

    • Thank you for your beautiful support, Amy. And, please, NEVER feel badly. I understand how much you give and I appreciate any time you spend here. I blog every day because it helps me and I’m so pleased that you enjoy it, too.

  6. I refuse to use the word overwhelmed. I never feel that. Because what is in my life is everything that I have asked for. I have asked for all that I have in my life, and as such, it is not possible for me to be overwhelmed. And, it’s been a great way to live my life, I’ve enjoyed refusing to use that word! Each time I’ve been tempted, it’s been a trigger to stop and take a breath and bring myself back to the Now!

    Have a great day! Loved the pictures.

  7. There are different words for describing the olfactory senses. If it’s a bad smell use odor or smell. But if it’s a good smell use fragrant. So please don’t tell me about my odor, but please tell me how fragrant I am, or I might be overwhelmed by your comment.

  8. I’m really glad that you wrote about being whelmed rather than what smells. Especially when it came to the toilet part. (Speaking of toilet parts…. have you tried just replacing a part in the tank? If you find that lifting the float or pulling on the chain or pushing down on the rubber plug at the bottom stops the running, maybe you can get away with a short trip to Home Depot and$4.99 in parts, rather than having to make off with your neighbour’s toilet.)

    I m benefitting from all you wrote about being whelmed today because lately I have been a little over in the whelmed area. Good to keep an eye on that.

    Are you going to make your Koplow Method talk available online for streaming? –hint hint–

    • I don’t know how to make my talk available online for streaming. Maybe you should make a trip to this area and be my consultant for that. -hint hint-

      • Ha, ha. Wouldn’t I love to have been in that audience? Yes. And, I do have the skills to do that. But, not the air fare! Will ponder this for next time.

      • Just to let you know: I was sitting on a sofa while giving the talk. Keep pondering for the future.

  9. Great! This blog clearly shows that you planned a lot before writing. I am glad that I am following your blog:)

  10. You post Lynyrd Skynyrd and everything else is magic!

  11. I’m usually on overlad so I understand perfectly and blogging does take lots of time especially when you follow the amount of blogs I follow… Happy Friday…

  12. A totally fascinating set of photos and I enjoyed the explanations. Re the overwhelmed: having done your year (plus, plus, plus) of non-judgemental daily blogging, could you not settle for, say, every other day, or shorter blogs? Maybe readers, however much they enjoy the content, have lives that are close to overwhelmed too. I think this is the nature of the wonderful, varied life we all live and sometimes I find I need to do a little rebalancing of all the activities I enjoy.

    • Balancing and rebalancing ARE great for staying whelmed, I agree.

      Regarding my settling for blogging every day or doing shorter blogs … writing the exact post I do, every day, is what helps keeps me balanced. Who knows what I shall do in the future, though?

      Here’s an activity I always enjoy: reading your comments, Hilary.

  13. Pingback: Day 684: Down time | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  14. Pingback: Day 779: Leave behinds | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  15. Pingback: Day 1007: That stinks! | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: