I Owe You.

I think I owe you a follow-up story to the – my ex-husband moved into my basement for two weeks, and he ate a lot – story.

Since we last connected, my former husband lived with me for a few weeks to get back on his feet after a health catastrophe in July and August (think MRSA, not COVID). He moved out on the day my daughter Meg and I flew to London. I helped get her settled to start graduate school, she deciphered the double-decker bus schedule, and we bought medicine for gas pain appropriately named Wind Settlers. I wrote the ending of my book in London. The people we stayed with said, “Boy, you sleep a lot.” And I thought you have no idea.

When I returned home, I handed in my manuscript to my editor, put a champagne bottle in my freezer, and then promptly fell asleep. It burst in the night. My dog barked once. The next day I cleaned it up. A metaphor for life, no better made.

I was out walking my dog today in an expansive park near my house. It was the kind of day that deserves its own soundtrack. In fact, listen to this song here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svSugEJER2A

while you read the next scene in this letter. It’s worth the click.

A woman struggled to push a baby stroller and walk her huge dog off the asphalt path. The woman was bent at the waist, really working. The dog tugged on the leash and unceremoniously pooped, and she cleaned it up. Burst champagne. Dog poop. Same. Same.

Women, mothers, parents. People. We are such hard workers. We have to be sometimes.

I used to want to do everything. Even if I didn’t want to do it, I did everything. Sometimes because I had to: dying parents, single parenting, a tenure track position. Other times, I did everything because I have curiosity and a hunger for connection and experiences that rivals astronauts. 

Recently, I caught myself saying, “I used to be able to handle stress better. I used to be able to (fill in the blank here).”

But I was misspeaking. Actually, I used to want to handle stress. Do all the things.

Now, I don’t.

A central truth of myself (and I bet many of you) is that I can’t make myself do something I don’t want to do for very long. I admire people who can, but that is not and has never been me.

This is the actual value of knowing yourself a little better than the year before. You learn how to speak about yourself. You understand what you want and what you are willing to feel and do.

Why am I writing to you today? Because I want to. Thank you for being here.

If you want to catch up on the last two emails, click below.

xo Ann


If you love a lot of people: https://wp.me/p7XeA8-K7

My husband is in my basement:  https://wp.me/p7XeA8-K8


  1. Bambi Rathman on September 30, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and that it’s ok to not do everything ALL the time or even some of the time. It’s ok to step away and just be me. I am grateful for your words!

    • Ann Garvin on September 30, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you for saying so. We all need a reminder. I really, really do too.

    • Barb on November 1, 2021 at 10:17 pm

      Speaking the truth for those of us who have had the drive to be ourself carrying the load of our childhood, a life of challenge and a journey back to find peace ☮️

      • Ann Garvin on November 1, 2021 at 10:23 pm

        That’s right, that’s why I can write about it. xoxox Thank you.

  2. denise on October 1, 2021 at 4:35 am

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Happy October!

  3. Heather on October 1, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    The older I get, the less I can successfully pretend. And yes, that includes pretending that I can tolerate stress. (Don’t know that I was ever fooling anyone on that, but at least I’m starting to not fool myself.)

    • Ann Garvin on November 1, 2021 at 6:59 pm

      Say it louder, we all need to hear this. 🙂

Leave a Comment