Sometimes the Most Powerful Thing You Can Do is Floss and Go to Bed


dinosaur-1Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is floss your teeth and go to bed.

I haven’t done the research, but I know how powerful it is to not do those things, so I’m figuring the same is true in reverse. At least I’m banking on that, because this solo spirit-preneur is tired.

This week has felt like a confluence of so many responsibilities and seasonal shifts that I literally don’t know where I’m sleeping some nights. Then, about midweek my body decided to start having funny sleep. Then, no sleep. Then deep sleepiness in the afternoons. And headaches.

Our seasonal camp rental season is underway. The soft start turned into hitting the ground running in the blink of an eye. Both eyes. Actually, I don’t remember blinking. I just remember waking up overwhelmed one day. Oh, that was today. This morning, 3:30 a.m., was a long time ago.

The holiday weekend was a true holiday, but Tuesday nearly killed me with relentlessness. And Wednesday came with a headache I had had all night. While I did prepare for and host my mastermind group, I also forgot to publish a blog post. Because tired, because mastermind group, because sick friend, and because a gift of hundreds of flower bulbs. All good things! (Well, not the sick friend, but bringing her sushi and notebooks in the nursing home was good.)

I didn’t post. I wasn’t awake enough to be clever or pithy. But I did floss and go to bed. This I did do, and I consider it a triumph.

In this tired stated, I’m mulling all the gyrations and strategizing I sometimes go through just to figure out how to get someone new to read an essay. I’m thinking of how tired I am with catchy headlines and suspicious I am when I see something that says, “Seven qualities all successful people share” or “The one thing you can’t afford to ignore…” I’m -did I mention this? – tired. I’m tired of hype. And because I’m tired, I’m looking at ways to simplify and cut out the unnecessary.

No, I’m not cutting out blog posts. But I might cut out a few gyrations.

When it comes down to it, I think about shit, and I write about it. I care about the inner life, and that’s what I write about. If you’re my kind of reader you skip the catchy headlines, the lists and the provocative twists of phrase, and you sink into the meaty, the thoughtful, the gentle and the uplifting.

But trust me, I am no good to you if, when I’m tired, I can’t floss and go to bed. You will survive without my essay. We might both be the cleverest people in cyberspace, but  in the end no one is going to floss my teeth but me. That’s right, I won’t floss yours, either.

In other words, self care is still coin in this realm. I actually cannot do it all and survive to be a good person. And I was still a good person today. Which gives me more things to write about, so it all works out.

Because here’s what I did do when I should have been writing you an essay: I planted daffodil bulbs. Which was hard because most of what looks like dirt in my yard is actually tiny shards of slate. It’s more pickax material than shovel.

While digging, I chatted with Bob, our elderly neighbor who walks up the street everyday with his walking stick. He asked me about the gorilla who attacked the boy, on TV. Did I see that? Nope, I said, but I’m not really keen on putting animals in cages. No, he said, me neither. Then I asked about Betty, his wife, and whether they were taking any road trips, and everyone is fine, and yes.

After Bob ambled away, there was a loud screeching of brakes followed by a bang and a car horn blowing that didn’t stop, out behind the across-the-street neighbor’s house. My neighbor peeked out of her camper, and she and I and her husband Jim walked to the back of their yard and down a path that leads to the boulevard, where the crash was. On the way back, we chatted about the neighborhood. It turns out that Jean went to school with my partner’s second cousin, who used to live in the house next door to us, and Jim grew up right here on our street. We commiserated over speeders, and I gave them some daffodil bulbs.

Then I texted my sick friend to see if she was up for a visit, and asked about a treat, since the nursing home food is so terrible. “Savory,” came the reply. I called the sushi place, changed my clothes, and picked us up some maki rolls and paid her a visit.

On the way home I returned a phone call from a friend who’s going off anti-depressants, which reminded me of a book I’ve ordered from the local bookstore but haven’t picked up yet, about treating depression naturally.

I came home to peach-golden sunset across the neighborhood, my garden hose still stretched across the lawn. The hose looked so much more comfortable uncoiled for a change that I left it there. I also came home to two hungry cats. They think that every arrival is feeding time. It detracts from the greeting they give me. They don’t care if I’ve written, planted, chatted or anything.

Someday my yard will be landscaped.  The bulbs may not bloom next spring because I’m planting them now instead of in the Fall, but this is when my bulb benefactor and I could both do the exchange. Two Springs from now is a long enough time that I wonder if I’ll even be here. When I stop and consider waiting two seasons to see daffodils, I resign myself to knowing that they may be someone else’s to enjoy, not mine.

That’s a thing at this age, isn’t it? A family member, a friend, a friend of a friend, bodies weakening, accidents happening, cancers cropping up like TV ads you simply can’t get out of your head.

It’s all so fragile, really, including, frankly, my teeth. So, I floss, and I settle in, because self care is still the coin. It’s what I’ll have when I wake up in the morning. And as I drive away to my little day job, I’ll know that a couple of neighbors will be watching for me, and that makes me feel as brilliant as I need to be just for right now. Sometimes the flowers that bloom are not the ones we plant, but the ones we end up tending when we meant to do something else entirely.


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0 thoughts on “Sometimes the Most Powerful Thing You Can Do is Floss and Go to Bed

  1. I wish something profound would come to me, in response to this piece. All I can say is “Thank you!”, and now I’m going to go floss and go to bed.

  2. I like everything: the headlines, the pictures and, most of all, the content. Your coin of the realm is a lot more valuable than the stuff in our wallets and pockets. However, flossing is against my religion and tears at the moral fabric of America. Enough said.

  3. I’m glad that you flossed and glad that you had those conversations while planting your bulbs. And glad that you blog. And for your honesty. Your last line reminds me of John Lennon’s “Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans,” which is a lot of what I got out of your blog and makes me gentler with myself today. – Deb

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