I am LIVING with Eli Roth.

What are you guys watching right now?

It’s probably no surprise to you that when all of my friends are watching The Queen’s Gambit, I’ve been binging Eli Roth’s History of Horror. I highly recommend! If you are fans of horror you will LOVE it, as each episode he focuses on different aspects of horror in the movies; vampires, monsters, ghosts, etc. If you don’t love horror you may find it interesting just to see them talking to the actors and people behind these blockbuster hits, and the psychology they discuss around why people like me love horror films so much. Fascinating!

A lot of it comes down to grappling with our fear. Like kids reading and singing those horrible nursery rhymes, (Ring around the black plague-induced circular rash Rosie, anyone?!) we actually get comfort from seeing other people in worse circumstances than we are. (how nice of us.) I never thought about it before, but so many of those monsters are metaphors for things in our lives that CAN actually kill us. So we watch them and feel relieved that, while we may have to deal with the anxiety of a horrible boss, at least we don’t have to find THAT ghoul under our bed.

But what about when we are living with that monster all around us?

Like all of a sudden, Ring Around the Rosie doesn’t seem like such a far-away thing? I’ve said it from the beginning of this COVID mess…it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King novel. And it’s not getting any better any time soon.

So how do we continue to live with it? Well, quite simply, we continue to LIVE with it. 

We LIVE. We do so by doing the simple act of wearing our masks and staying home as much as possible so we can slow this fucker down. For us, so we can get back to what we consider ‘normal’ sooner than later, for others who may not deal with it like a simple cold or flu because they have underlying conditions that could literally make that virus life threatening. I’m not going to get on my soap box about this here and now–although I certainly could, but if I get started I won’t stop and I’ll still be typing my rant 6 months from now as they (hopefully!) stick that vaccine needle in my arm.

We LIVE by still celebrating big things, but in smaller ways. We still buy the turkey and all of the trimmings, we still decorate for the holidays and drink the egg nog. (or not, yuck.) We FaceTime our families and friends so we can still spend some time ‘together’. We Black Friday shop locally from small business by mail or curbside pickup. We light candles and revel in the beautiful light, and feel closer than ever to the ones that are sharing our bubble with us.

We LIVE by sticking to a schedule that gives us comfort, going about our lives as we did as much as we can. Working from home, going to school or not, setting alarms to get the day started at a decent time. Having meals at regular times, still cleaning our rooms and our houses even though no one is coming over to judge us about them.

We LIVE by taking care of ourselves as best we can. Getting a good night’s sleep. Turning off the news or social media when we realize we are starting to twitch with anxiety. Meditating. Journaling. Laughing! That really is the best medicine.

Martha Beck writes in The Joy Diet that we should have an LPD (laugh per day) rate of 30. An average adult typically only laughs 15 times a day, a typical small child, four hundred. 400! (ok, as a not-so-typical childlike adult who is her own best audience, I’m going to say I’m at 415.) Since laughing helps release stress this is a big goal for living. What, or who, do you find funny? Make sure and get a lot of that in your life right now!

We LIVE by being good to ourselves. By forgiving ourselves when there are days we can’t do any of this but just lay in bed and watch Eli Roth’s History of Horror. We eat foods that are good for us and ALSO eat the donut, and then get outside for some fresh air to walk it off, even in the butt-ass cold. We stop and think and feel and learn what it is that is really important to us, and get more of that in our days as much as possible.

So how are you gonna LIVE? I’d love to hear some things that are keeping you going these days! 


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