Coronavirus-itis

My husband showed me an article in The Atlantic about COVID-19 and I saw myself in it: Americans are used to moving forward in the face of fear. We don’t let fear stop us from living our lives. In the wake of 9/11, it makes sense. This was how I was mentally dealing with Coronavirus: just keep going. This is no big deal. Everyone is overreacting. I wouldn’t even blog about it.

The big difference is what we are defying isn’t terrorism but a virus. A couple of friends told me I was being an asshole about COVID-19 and it turns out they were right. But now I understand where my assholery came from.

I’m anxious. Will I lose my new job? What about our theater friends who have lost their show and waiter/bartending jobs? How will I get to my elderly parents if something happens to them? How long until someone I know gets sick, or someone I love dies?

Channeling anxiety into productivity is a challenge. I pulled out my bucket list and picked a few things to work on for the foreseeable social distancing. It’s important to pick tasks I can achieve in the short term (learn to armpit-fart. I’m not kidding! My nephew can also make a knee-fart) and the long term (finish my short story collection) so I feel accomplished throughout. I also want variety in the tasks, not just fart-noises or writing, and not just passive activity like binge-watching. My categories are: try something, learn something, start something and share something.

Try something. Now that my brilliant plan to outsource my health is foiled, I have to face the music and deal with my food issues and fitness on my own. I’ve had this Couch-to-5K app hanging out on my phone for forever so I finally caved.
Day 1: Running isn’t so bad.
Day 2: I’m very jiggly in weird places. I don’t like this.
Day 4: “I HATE YOU, RUNNING APP!” I screamed at my phone during one of the “walk” parts.
Day 7: This is still miserable but at least I’m outside.
Day 9: I’m running for longer stretches. I begrudgingly admit this is, maybe, a little, not so bad.

Learn something. Friends have offered to teach me to play chess throughout my life but I never took them up on it beyond a lesson or two. I lived above Chess Forum in the Village for a few years and never went inside. My husband bought me a Simpsons chess set that we have played exactly once. So, I signed up for lessons on Chess.com which also has an app. Need an idea? How about learning to sing, tie a tie, stretch your hamstrings? YouTube’s got you! If you can splurge, try a Master Class or two. There are dozens available taught by the legends of their fields.

Start something. I started this blog! I research topics that interest me, I write what I choose, and I watch a lot of WordPress videos on YouTube about layout and design. Whatever you’ve dreamt about but could never do, I am rooting for you to turn this stressful coronavirus situation into something positive for yourself. I believe in you. The millennials know: you do you!

Share something. Honestly, I don’t have any idea of something I can do that’s shareable beyond the short stories I tweet. I’m incredibly excellent at pinball, real and virtual, but no one wants to watch clips of me kicking Zen Pinball‘s ass. We are starving for new content. What are you great at? What’s your stupid human trick? Can you fancy-pan-flip an omelette? Got a cool card trick? Maybe this guy will inspire us.

How about you? Let me know what you’ll be working on in the Comment section below, or send me a message.

Adventures in the twitter-verse

Once again, we are skipping COVID-19 (sung to Gen-X anthem Come On Eileen) for mindless, pointless prattle: interacting with medium-level celebrities on social media!

My husband does it all the time. He’s become twitter-friends with New York celebrities Roma Torre, Amy Freeze and Sean Allen Krill, to name a few. I, on the other hand, barely used twitter until December when I sought DAYS fans who had access to super-secret fancy spoilers, and then fell ass-backwards into an awesome #writingcommunity.

In my teeny, tiny corner of the internet, I’m getting bolder with social media. I think my shyness comes from my boomer parents who think everyone on the internet is the government trying to “get you.” (Get you how? For what? No one cares what you’re doing on yahoo mail, Mom.)

But first, a reminder that President Obama follows me on Twitter.

I’m as baffled as you are.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I pivoted from fear and tweeted about my new blog. I tagged a certain two millennials whose definitely to blame for all of this newfound boldness.

Only 1 like. I know, I know: pretty lame. But it’s the quality, not the quantity, amiright? (No. I’m not right. It’s the quantity. )


This is the second time Alyssa liked my tweet.
SHE’S CREATING A MONSTER!

Alyssa’s like is a gold star to me. I crave gold stars. My husband even bought me a gold star necklace so I’d always have one. Now I want more likes! More gold stars! MORE, DAMMIT! MORE!

In Episode 76 of The Freddie & Alyssa Show, they asked their listeners to post questions that they’d answer in future podcasts. I boldly went where no me has gone before: the comment section of YouTube.

In Episode 80, whose question was answered at 9:38?

Tweet! Tweet! Tweetle-deet!

They picked my question and talked about it! What do I win?!

Discovering new music is something I’ve struggled with since the disappearance of record stores as I’ve previously posted. Ever the dutiful student, I downloaded TikTok. (I haven’t played with it yet, but I downloaded it!)

Pandora is best at predicting music you’d like to hear, which creeps me out, but that’s my parents talking. No one is trying to “get me” with songs, Mom!

This is way more fun than I thought it would be. So, the next step in my newfound celebrity stalking… Should it be to get another question answered? To get a reply to a tweet? Get them to follow me back? Comment below or send me a message!

For the record, there’s another fabulous celebrity Freddie in my twitter-verse. The one who’s already tweeted me back twice.

If FPJr. can get past my horrible Fedtival typo, so can you.

A-B-C Easy As 1-2-3

I am definitely not Coronavirus-ing today. Instead, let’s do Chapter 8 Pivot Your Activity. Drop some knowledge, Alyssa and Freddie!

There are 3 kinds of activity that make your plans come to life. C activity, B activity and A activity.

C activity is research. Immersing yourself and learning as much as you can. Freddie uses baseball to illustrate: learning the rules, reading books, studying statistics, watching baseball on TV.

B activity is preparation. Buying a glove and bat, getting a group together to play at a park on the weekend.

A activity is action. Showing up at the park and playing baseball.

Freddie’s point is you can research and prepare ’til the cows come home, but you won’t know how to play baseball until you play baseball. His illustrates this further with his web series Addicts Anonymous.

He and his friends wrote the scripts, raised money, hired actors, got cameras, sweet-talked their way onto a college campus to film it and just did it, learning about marketing, fundraising, acting and directing along the way. Sure, they could have helped themselves a bit if they’d researched and prepared for some things in advance but the point is, the best teacher is experience.

My parents used to make elaborate plans to renovate our house. They would draw floor plans, argue over sofa styles, and have serious discussions about whether or not to add a bay window to the south side of the house. They made these sort of plans through their entire marriage. Once in high school I went to a friend’s house and was astounded to find his mother peeling wallpaper off the walls of their dining room. Mrs. Hymowitz was sick of it and was changing it. Right then and there. I was stunned. People actually made changes to their houses without months or years of design plans?

Mrs. H was all about A activity. Renovation plans were basically foreplay for my parents.

So, it’s no surprise that I hang out a lot in B and C activity. Especially when it comes to writing. I make schedules, I google stuff, I spend time following writers on twitter (#writingcommunity), I strategize how to query an agent… all before I have any completed writing to share, much less sell. For me, B and C activity help mask fear, which must be pivoted from!

So how do you get yourself to do A activity? Researching how won’t help – hey, that’s B activity (or maybe C activity?) Whatever, it’s not A activity!

Do your thing. Write a page. Submit your resume. Pick up the guitar. Run the Couch-to-5K app.

The only way to do A activity is to do it.

Millennials Will Kill Us All

I can’t deny it. Pivoting my mindset to live like a millennial has really turned my life around. Since November 16, 2019, I’ve lost over 20 pounds, upgraded my employment, seriously improved my social media, and faced some of my worst bullsh*t.

But, I am starting to question this decision. Because even though my millennial gurus are self-quarantining in LA (omg they are so cute, check out their podcast), the rest of you millennials are freaking selfish, or crazy, or oblivious! Look at you with no sh*ts to give about spreading the coronavirus:

Um, you’re like, not practicing social distancing?

Dr. Deborah Brix continues to appeal to the millennial ego. “I’m going to call on that group…we need them to be healthy,” she coyly told America during today’s Presidential coronavirus press conference, “We cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus.”

Get it together, millennials! Even Hilary Duff is yelling at you!

Millennials Will Save Us All

It seems millennials aren’t taking the coronavirus seriously. Instead of self quarantining, they’re taking advantage of cheap flights and making travel plans. I get this mentality, considering millennials are drowning in debt. Get the cheap rates while you can, live while you can, because the future is not guaranteed.

The baby boomers in charge know how to appeal to the millennial ego.

“Right now we need the army of millennials out there doing everything that they can to protect themselves from getting infected because we know a lot of their cases will be mild or asymptomatic, and making sure that they’re doing every single precaution to protect their parents and grandparents.” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx details new plans to curb the spread of COVID-19. Good Morning America 3/17/2020

Boomers aren’t doing too good of a job self-quarantining either, and they’re freaking out their millennial offspring. Millennials have to tell their boomer folks to turn off Fox News and take the coronavirus seriously.

“I can report the sky is absolutely falling, we’re all doomed, the end is near,” Sean Hannity said on his show February 26, adding, “Or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme, radical socialist party want you to think.”

And Generation X? We’re bragging that we can entertain ourselves thanks to our latchkey-kid upbringing. Millennials hit back:

They’re not wrong.

More Bites of Reality

“I think Generation X is the last generation to grow up in the real world,” a girlfriend said over lunch. “We actually talk to people. In person. And on the phone. My kid never answers her phone. She refuses to call anyone, especially a business. If she can’t find it on the internet, she’ll go without. She’s on her smartphone obsessively but won’t ever use the phone part.”

“Why are you so obsessed with millennials?” my husband demanded. “They are the worst. They’re so entitled! And not for nothing, but avocado toast is just guacamole on bread.”

“You know what Generation X gave the world?” my friend Phil asked. “Internet porn. You’re welcome.”

Pivot to an Update!

It’s been 114 days (3 months and 22 days) since I decided to change my life by thinking like a millennial and follow Freddie Smith and Alyssa Tabit’s The Pivot Principle (audiobook here).

Millennial-ing: When I needed glasses, I went to Warby Parker. Easiest exam and glasses purchase I’ve ever made. I now adore ThirdLove bras. I’m not a fan of having so many monthly subscriptions: quip toothbrushes, Harry razor blades, ipsy makeup samples, YouTube, amazon music, DisneyPlus, CBS… I feel out of control of my money. And I haven’t had avocado toast yet. That sh*t is expensive in NYC.

New Job: It’s been up-and-down, getting used to a new commute, new office, new people and new responsibilities. I think I’ll get the hang of it after I’ve been there for a full year. This is a test of patience and perseverance. (Finally being paid what I’m worth ain’t too shabby.)

THE PIVOT PRINCIPLE

Chapter 10, Pivot Your Health: I’ve only been able to go to my new gym twice. My job’s busy time is February and March, unfortunately, so there have been way more late nights than I expected. I hope my schedule evens out – Snatched in Six Weeks starts today! Since November I’ve lost 20 pounds and can wear my sparkle coat, two victories I’ll gladly take!

Intro: I have a post-it with Alyssa’s quote at my new office…

Chapter 1, Pivot from Fear: How to work the rejection muscle as a writer? I’m tweeting short stories I wrote that were vetted by my writing group. I tweet them one at a time, line by line. I finally got a couple of likes last week, but overall it’s been a one-sided experience.

Chapter 2, Pivot from Excuses: My ego is still sore learning that I’m full of lame excuses. Now that I know, I can’t make those excuses anymore. My plan of action: my brain is better in the morning than at night. I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier so I can budget a full hour of writing before work. It’s working! I’ve already revised two short stories and began a world-building document for a time travel novel.

Chapter 5, Pivot on Purpose: This one still stings too, worse than Chapter 2. Replacing “I don’t have time for _____” with “_____ isn’t a priority” is burned into my brain. I’m glad for it because it’s forced me to face a lot of my own bullsh*t.

Chapter 11, Pivot to Social Media: I WIN!

*mike drop*

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

Chapter 5, Pivot on Purpose, is a spiritual kick in the stomach. With stilettos.

At 8:12, Alyssa says:

Any time you catch yourself about to say, “I don’t have the time for _____,” stop and say “_____ is not a priority.”

I don’t have the time to work out. My health isn’t a priority.
I don’t have the time to write. My art isn’t a priority.
I don’t have the time to meal prep. Nutrition isn’t a priority.

Oh, Alyssa. I adore you. But today I kind of hate you.

At 9:00, she says, “It stings to hear, but it’s a necessary lesson.”

Devastating!