We should talk. Don’t worry we’re not breaking up.

We should talk. Don’t worry we’re not breaking up.

Many of you know I teach stress management (ok dad, stop laughing).

I spent my career studying anxiety and depression so, it stands to reason that I have it pretty much figured out.

(Dad, what did I just say?)

But, sometimes when you’re standing at the Redbox waiting for another man who can’t make a decision, your body kicks-in and all hell breaks loose (no I’m not writing from jail).

Then, your dryer stops working followed by your washer, water softener, and water heater.

Hospice calls and says your mom isn’t sick enough to be in hospice anymore and everyone in the world knows that this is what the term ‘splitting hairs’ means. Alzheimer’s is a one-way ticket to ‘sick enough for hospice’-street, which Google Maps says is at the crossroads of I’ve Forgotten Everything and For The Love of God Don’t Be Stupid Medicare.

In a hot second, your kids go to college and there are two tuition bills and two empty beds upstairs and only one super anxious dog left to tell you those pants don’t go with that shirt. You are face-to-face with the fact that no one in your house needs three glue sticks and seven single subject Mead notebooks anymore. Nope. They “need” a fake ID and bottomless Starbucks cup. Oh, and a loan to fill that Starbucks cup.

Your general to-do list is like your nagging Fitbit–always telling you to get a move on. Chop Chop. The first item on that list is to fix your damn fourth book.

“I mean how hard is it to write a book anyway?” asks my to-do list with her shitty little friend, Fitbit egging her on.

“It’s hard,” you whine just before you google, How to write a novel? So you go out to walk your nervous dog and run into your mail person, your neighbor, and that lady on your street who throws a lot of *mattresses away. Every one of those people ask, “When is that next book coming out?” And, you think. When indeed. When. In. Deed.

And when I say ‘you’ I mean me. But, you probably knew that.

I’ve tried a downward dog, reframing, and being grateful for the moon even while the ice cream is melting in the car. Dude can you just pick a movie, this isn’t the SAT.

I think trying to manage your stress response in the moment, is like telling your lungs to ignore the fresh air and stop being so gaspy. Your body is a ninja. Ninja’s are hard to derail, I’ve heard.

I’m not saying you can’t do it, but you have to be very an organized multitasker….or maybe high.

I obviously think about this a lot. I went on about it here and here too.

What’s a girl to do?

I do have a strategy, lest you ask yourself why you are reading this depressing, stressful uni-bomber manifesto. Here’s what I do. I eat a vegetable (I like pea pods), I take a nap in my car (I have a Honda) and I walk Nervous Dog (Peanut). If I am still stressed I call Linda (she said, ‘no’ to giving you her phone number). But, she also said this…

Ann, your mom is too well for hospice.
Your furnace is in tip-top condition.
You said you are almost done figuring-out your fourth & fifth book, and there are people kind enough to ask when it will be done.

She always makes me a little gaspy, but in a good way.

*goes to pick up one of that lady’s mattresses she’s thrown away so that I can take a nap.

If you want to laugh out loud, ladies who are my age Check out Sally O’Malley because she’d 50 and she likes to kick.

[Tweet “Your general to-do list is like your nagging Fitbit–always telling you to get a move on. Chop Chop. The first item on that list is to fix your damn fourth book. “I mean how hard is it to write a book anyway?” asks my to-do list with her shitty little friend, Fitbit egging her on.”]


  1. Kathy Mydlach-Bero on September 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Hilarious and familiar!! Make a list of all the silver linings you can think of, and then tell someone else your woes and ask them to id silver linings for you. See what happens

  2. Lynn on September 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Just what I needed to get over myself and be reminded that I’m not alone. Thanks for that – and thanks for the chuckles and smiles, as well!

  3. Maggie on September 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Favorite post yet. <3

  4. Gaye Mack on September 13, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    When I saw the headline I thought it was a private email to me
    I want a t-shirt that says, “don’t ask me about me about my book”

  5. Lyn Canger on September 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Ann, Have always enjoyed your “facts on life”. You were a teacher of my son at UWW. He grew as a person and teacher as a result of your humor and guidance. I look at where you are and realize that it was me 10 years ago. Fast forward 10 and you will realize that the “it’s my time” concept does not exist. I thought once my kids were grown that I could do what I want and be what I want to be remembered as. After caring for a terminally ill parent for four years, Ive come to realize that “my time” is every day. Life is the little smiles and jokes. Life is that naughty dog that digs holes in the yard so that it looks like a bomb field. Life is not fitting into your pants that you wore last year. Ive learned to listen more and talk less. Thank you for all you do. You have made such a difference in so many childrens’ lives (and their parents). I just thought you should know.

  6. Deidrah Shutt on September 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I completely understand the overwhelmed feeling of being buried in manure. You just think it’s starting to compost and settle and you can start to see the sky again when Wham! Here comes another load from a totally unexpected direction. But somehow we get through. Good luck with everything, especially your mom. After all, nothing shreds us quite like family. I have to go bathe my vaguely psychotic, allergic to everything dalmatian. Have a great day!

  7. Ann on September 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    You are amazing. Breathe. Rest. Write.

  8. Paula Longhurst on September 13, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Ann, you should be in cirque de soliel with all that successful juggling. A recent comment by my meditation teacher was ‘water the flowers not the weeds’ meaning look for the good stuff and more good stuff will come (the sound you can hear is 20 year old me busting a gut laughing at woo woo older me, but screw her) Taking my hat off to you, keeping grabbing those little bits of ‘you’ time.

  9. Larramie on September 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Ah, Life… And, then, there is Ann Garvin who ALWAYS makes me laugh and smile which instantly produces stress relief! Thank you, Ann! 🙂

    • Ann Garvin on September 13, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      You are so very welcome!

  10. Pam Gardner on September 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Well Ann, you made me smile which after the day I have had is one mean feat. Nobody has any more depression, stress and anxiety than I do- in fact a few months back both my Dad and husband were in the hospital the same day50 miles apart and I was close to being arrested( hand cuffs even on)- true story! My younger daughter who is already emotionally fragile was hysterical. Anyway I could write the book- that’s why I like reading about others in the boat with me furiously rowing. My frien’s name is Joan who is the voice of reason and also Sylvia who is more emotional, but I am lucky to have them. I love your books and you had better hurry on number 4 as I need to read it. ( no pressure). I think it’s time for a Corona

  11. Julie Sturgill on September 13, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Oh Ann, how I miss your sense of humor, honesty and our morning coffee dates when our grown kids were little. I needed this today.


  12. Sue Borkon on September 14, 2017 at 12:36 am

    This sounds like the beginning of a book! You’ve even got your title – We Should Talk.
    Many years ago, I attended a writers workshop conducted by Robert Larson. I hope that’s his name. He wrote The Land Remembers. Amongst his many sage comments was the one I always tried to push on to and into my students: ” your writing won’t ‘work’ if you don’t write about what you know.” Clearly, he was right! Your writing, even your blog, reflects his philosophy to a T.

  13. MAF on September 14, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Wow, Ann. Perfectly timed and toned rant. Just what I needed after a day that feels almost as bad as yours sounded. We are indeed not alone. Hang in there, sweetie. This is indeed just life doing its own shitty thing. Tomorrow will be better. And you and I both (and everyone else) will get that GD next book done, when we’re able.

  14. Ella Olsen on September 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Nodded in agreement and laughed my way through this whole post! Just what I needed this morning!

    • Ann Garvin on September 16, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      I’m so glad, my life is a shit show and I see no reason to hide it. hahaha

  15. Sue on September 15, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Ann, just for a minute, take a step back & reflect ~ from waiting ALONE in that book shop promoting your first published book TO people CLAMORING for your next book ~ you’re come along way Baby! And in true ANN fashion, reached out and pulled Soooo many people along “for the ride”.
    Thank you so much for including me in the “trip”.
    Cured my anxiety & any of depression!.

    • Ann Garvin on September 16, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Oh geez you are too kind. I don’t think people are clamoring, exactly but I’m going to think they are, now that you say it.
      Glad to have you along 🙂

  16. Lisa on April 26, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Google how to write a novel. I chuckle at this because, I too have done this. And I’m writing my first one! Lord help me if I ever make it to a second. My favorite search is How to get motivated to write a novel.

    In my short time as a wannabe author I have learned this:

    Writing is less about inspiration than motivation.

Leave a Comment