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.
I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. I just don’t.
Somebody I admire recently said to me:
as a way to express gratitude. However, when I use the word “overwhelmed,” I mean
- disconnected (from people and hope), and
At the same time, I don’t want to feel underwhelmed, either. To me, underwhelmed means:
- 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:
which was inspired by a new raincoat I was wearing. I knew that
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:
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
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
- Berklee College of Music, to hunt down the recruitment video I helped create for them in the 1990’s,
- 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
and I took lots of photos, including (in chronological order):
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
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?