So much of my life these days is about staying even and paying attention. I find that I have two modes: totally fine and in the zone and overtired, fussy toddler about to cry. Buddha says we should seek the middle path, but what if your middle path is a hair-thin strip running through the expressway of life?

My higher self, the one who remembers to floss and never does embarrassing things like swear at the cats or parade around in stained pajamas, taps me gently on the shoulder. “It means you have to stay right here, in the moment, and look at what is in front of you.” Whatever. How can it be that simple? Higher Self, who can be kind of a pain in the ass, smiles patiently and removes the half-eaten bag of Crunchy Cheetos from my clutching fingers. “Yes, dummy. It’s that simple.” Higher Self loves me, but sometimes I exasperate her.

Here are some simple rules Higher Self and I have established so that I don’t wobble and fall off the middle path:

Check in regularly, the same way I require my teenager to call home when he’s out with friends. Or the way I checked on my tables when I was a waitress in college. “How are you doing? Can I get you anything? Is everything all right?” How about that revolutionary thought: I should be at least as attentive to my own needs as a considerate server would be at my favorite eatery. Huh.

Drink more water than I think I need to. And get outside or near a window. Outside is preferable. Like a plant, I wither without proper hydration and sunlight.

Be clear about personal responsibilities and stick to those. Mine: family, work, living quarters, friendships, personal health, being a good human being. Not mine: annoying Internet denizens, celebrity starlets who probably need a hug and a sandwich, North Korea, the mental and emotional wellbeing of people I cannot control (which is everyone who isn’t me, at least until my psychic powers kick in). I just need to have faith that if I concentrate on the stuff that is within my immediate jurisdiction, the rest will somehow sort itself out.

3 Things That Were Good:

1. The sanctity of the Tiny Office Pod. Sherlock has his Mind Palace, I have the Pod. I have strict rules about it. No effing around in there. No napping. No Internet surfing. When I enter that space and close the door behind me, every part of me knows it is time to focus and create. It’s powerful. Not everything that comes out of the Pod is gold – I’ve written some terrible dreck in the lovely sunlit room. But I have to trust that the process is valuable.

Tiny Office Pod interior

2. Fuzzy slippers and an adorable Emily MacDowell coffee mug. Santa forgot to bring these, so I treated myself.

3. My own Pokemon card, complete with special attack powers.


2 Things I Did Well:

1. I made tiny, crispy chocolate chip cookies. My husband says that aside from our children, these are the best things I have ever made. They are a testament to the happy alchemy of mistakes – the result of my inability to math properly when attempting to multiply ingredients in a regular cookie recipe. I put in 3 times the amount of butter and ended up with these sort of lacey, wafer like cookies that melt on the tongue. (That, btw, is the recipe: just triple the amount of butter in whatever cookie recipe you normally use. And plan on a few extra workouts.)
Buttery cookie mistake

2. I wrote a piece for a wonderful new project called Stigma Fighters which is founded by Sarah Fader. The “did well” part is that I managed, despite some vulnerability hangover, to tell a story I’ve carried around for years about my anxiety disorder and the choices I made because of it.

1 Thing I Am Looking Forward To:

2015. Bring it on, baby.

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