Saturday, 28 May 2016

Advice to my 20-something Self

So often you hear things like, “If I only knew then, what I know now...” Well, I know I would have made some different choices in my 20's if I'd been privy to some of the tidbits of wisdom I've gained over the last 15 years or so, and, as I watch a generation of family entering that phase in their life, I can't help but reflect on what I would tell myself when I was 'in their shoes' so-to-speak. Well, a few things come to mind.

You can do anything! But not everything. That first part they will tell you in high school motivational talks or career education or whatever it is called these days, but that second part I had to learn for myself. You know, being 20 is pretty great. You are grown-up enough to make your own decisions, but, as a generalization, you are not yet responsible for anyone else. Those two things set the stage for the very unique time in life where you can dabble in lots of hobbies, be (personally and professionally) whatever you would like to be, form relationships with all kinds of people, and just generally spend time growing yourself outside of your childhood parameters. From what I remember, that stuff is all pretty damn cool (is that a word anymore?). I just wish I had enjoyed it more and known how quickly it would all pass. I have no idea where I got the notion that I had 'all the time in world' to dabble in all the unique opportunities of 20-somethings whilst simultaneously getting my shit together, that I would eventually get to all those things on my “bucket-list.” But, that is simply not the case. Priorities, responsibility, age, dependents, and love will creep up on you one by one until one day you realize, 'Hey, I don't think I will be backpacking through Europe anytime soon.' or 'I'm not sure what happened to that grand idea of getting my degree in social work. I just don't know how I'll ever find time now that I'm a business-owner.' Having said that...

Invest in what you are doing, and forget about what you're not. I spent a lot of my 20's with the following dialogue running through my head...I need to get a better part-time job. I really want to learn to kayak, but I can't find the time. So-and-so is already making good money at X...I need to get my shit together like her. People say you have to travel, but I can never seem to afford it. Will I ever find the right guy for me? I've always wanted to do a road trip across country, but I really need to save money... And so on. Of course, this dialogue is completely understandable with the world of choices at your fingertips, but, as I've said, you can't do everything so don't beat yourself up for it.  My advice is to put your blinders on as to what everyone else is doing, make good choices for yourself, and enjoy.

Break-ups are the worst. No, seriously, the worst. Just as I've always thought it strange that our society expects life to go on as normal in the first three grueling months of pregnancy so I also feel the same sentiment applies to 20 somethings after a serious break-up. I’m not talking about someone you met at the bar last week, and you will know the feeling if you've been through it—the absolute burning devastation and loss that accompanies the realization that ending your intimate relationship is the best way forward, a way forward that is uncertain and SO difficult to see through the blinding pain of break-up. Truly, there is nothing in this world quite like choosing to end love or having that chosen for you. I don't have much in the way of comforting words, just the hindsight to tell you that it gets better and that I’ve never met a break-up that wasn’t for the best.

Transitions are hard, but worth it. Moving, new schools, new jobs, losing friendships, forging new ones, changing relationships, navigating your changing self through a changing world...All of those things are difficult, and there is some element of loss every time you close a chapter in your life, no doubt. For me, the most bittersweet pill I have had to swallow as a thirty something is this—truly, in life you can never go back, and, what’s more, the reason for that is you. Sure you can go and visit places, you can hold loved ones dears, you can cling to ideals and dreams, but you will never be the same. Luckily, I have found (and hope you will too) that to be a good thing. A good look at who I am now, the places I've been along the way, and the amazing people I have collected over the years are all the proof I need to know that I wouldn't even go back if you let me. So while there is an element of loss in leaving things behind, there is ALWAYS something necessary and wonderful gained moving forward.

There are no happy endings, not because there is no happy, but because there is no ending. There is plenty of 'happy', say, when you meet the love of your life or get the keys for your first new house, or maybe when find yourself in the job of your dreams or summit Everest if that's your cup of tea. There was definitely 'happy' for me when I held a baby in my arms for the first time, but, to date, none of those things have proven to be any kind of 'ending.' I am still growing as a person, I know shockingly little about how to raise little people, I've changed houses a few times and might do again sometime, I'm still searching for that dream career, I have the man of dreams but it is a relationship that requires work every single day. Don't fool yourself into thinking any one relationship or goal or achievement will somehow complete you or 'be your happy ending.' There is no ending, just a journey on which I wish you plenty of 'happy'.

But especially...Don't take advice from 30-somethings. Well, don't NOT take advice, but understand that you are not me. Also, you are not and never will be your mother or your father or your brother or anyone else that you loathe or look up to. Truly, you are own unique person living in your own unique time. And though I have bothered to go on and create this exhaustive list, I am under no delusions that the whole point isn't for you to go figure this stuff all out on your own…As for the whole, 'if I'd only known then what I know now' idea, well, I'm glad I didn't know because I wouldn't change this journey for the world.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Dear Ladies, Stop Apologizing!

Has your son ever asked you the question, ‘Do I look fat in these soccer shorts?’ What about your husband…does he, after a long look in the mirror, confess to you that he hates his short legs? Or does your daughter offer apologies when her friends come over to play Shopkins, ‘Oh, sorry about the mess.’ No? Not very often? And why not? Because to do so is blinking ridiculous! Yet I see women (myself included) do stuff like this all the time! Sure, you can blame your mother--maybe she did the 1970's equivalent. You can blame the media—they put some pretty messed up feminine ideals out there. Certainly you can blame yourself for eating too much, not being on top of things, over-stretching yourself, or for falling short of Sally So-and-So down the street, OR you can JUST STOP. Stop apologizing for stuff that isn't hurting anyone. Stop justifying your choices. Stop explaining things that do not require explanation, and most of all stop comparing yourself to Sally.

I’m talking stuff like, ‘I can’t wear my swimsuit, I have such a hairy bikini line’—seriously? Like 2 billion other women on this planet.  Or ‘I keep meaning to re-vamp my wardrobe a little. Jenny always looks put-together’—Go for it, if that is the best fit for your time and money. Even the dialogue in your head like, ‘I really need to get out and travel the world. I am so ‘provincial’, but I can never seem to afford it, and I’m scared of…”—Do it or don’t do it, but don’t beat yourself up for it. Ladies, this kind of stuff can consume you, and it really is a demon of your own fabrication. So just STOP.

You know, I have this friend who's (I can't think of any more fitting word) beauty has always struck me. There's just something about her...Anyway, this friend, she certainly doesn't put hours into grooming herself. She is kind enough but not to a fault. She drinks. She swears. She’s a kick-ass musician. She is opinionated and occasionally more outspoken than I am comfortable with. We do not share common political views, parenting philosophies or even many common interests. Her house is a mess. She is not meticulous about diet or exercise. She doesn't hold a particularly impressive job, though I certainly enjoy her sense of decency and humour. If I itemize her qualities this way, it's not a particularly exceptional description of beauty, so I've asked myself, what is it about this woman I find so compelling? Well, the answer is quite simple...She NEVER apologizes. I've never heard her utter anything silly like, 'Excuse the toys all over the lawn,' or 'I just didn't get around to shaving this week' or 'I feel so bad for leaving the kids at daycare all week'. Nope. Why would she? The toys aren't hurting anything anymore than her leg hair is. And her kids are a daycare because they require care while she works. End of story. From what I can see, she just goes about her very ordinary life owning her humanity minus apologies, justifications, and explanations—a quality which I find as appealing as it is rare.

I would also put forward that all of this 'apologizing' we do, whether it be for the store-bought snacks we are feeding our kids or for the lackluster state of our social life, is far from harmless. Quite the opposite actually. I think it actively brings other women down...Take stretch marks, for example…if yours are not okay and need to be hidden, then I guess so do mine. And if Sally is complaining about her chunky thighs, what does she think of mine which are surely 2 sizes bigger? And if Jane apologizes for the cookie crumbs on her table, what must she think of my less-than-perfect housekeeping skills? Or if Katie is forever going on about how she HAS to work, that they NEED the money, even though she'd rather be home with her little one, what is the implication to her other working mommy friends? The list is endless. Someone once even apologized to me for serving soup straight out of a pot! Until that apology, I had no idea such an action could even be offensive--in fact, I still struggle to understand why... but perhaps this notion is no more ridiculous than, say, bemoaning the length of arms you were born with or making explanations for the 20 lbs you just can't seem to lose. All of this stuff—it just casts doubt and shadow over the beauty you were born with and takes others down with you.

So, maybe my fascination with the beauty of this friend of mine is self-serving as much as anything else. Because, maybe if others apologies and justifications have the power to bring us down, maybe the opposite is also true. Maybe her lack of apology and justification for these types of things actually has the power to bring me up. So, for example, if she feels comfortable having a house full of people over with haphazard food offerings and this morning’s cheerios crunching under my socks, maybe I won’t think twice about having a playdate with Sally without first ensuring all household condition are favourable to guests. Or maybe her confidence in pursuing her career sans apology for the childcare she requires will inspire me to do the same. Or her unique way of owning her natural physicality and everyday foibles is just the evidence I need to know that my beauty is not, and will never be, found in some list of desirable qualities. Rather, my beauty is already here…All that’s left for me to do is drop the apologies and own it.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Parliamentary Dust-up--It's not funny. But it is!!

Hey, I take government as seriously as the next person. They make our laws, they represent our country on an international stage, and their decisions have gravitas that ripple throughout our lives and the lives of our children. None of those small things. They have power to divide or unite people and entire nations, and their actions can even impact the entire planet. Government members are elected to be our individual voices as we navigate this country forward. Having said that...

With regards to yesterday's 'dust-up' in the House of Commons... Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaa!
I cannot stop laughing! The silly antics of 'blocking' the conservative whip from taking his position so generously funded by our tax dollars...You're kidding, right? Our Prime Minister's patented I'm-going-to-solve-this-myself stride across the house...Tee hee! Matching father-son prime-ministerial F-bombs...Cute and classy! Our highest elected official manhandling another member of parliament...Shocking. The 'elbowing' of Ruth-Ellen Brousseau and the cries of 'molestation' and 'assault' from the NDP...So predictable. Tom Mulcair's face...Classic. The 'clearing of the benches' hockey-brawl style...Is this for real? The CBC floundering desperately and with futility to stand behind their man or, at the very least, sweep the whole thing under the rug. Oh CBC, what do I pay you for? Trudeau's initial bumbling attempts at apologizing sounding suspiciously like justifications for his actions. Giggle, giggle. The applause of his shocked liberal MP's, who would surely have crucified anyone else for the same actions, in response to those apologies...Chalk it up to mob mentality? The day-after sober apology delivered with all the contrived seriousness and bravado one would expect from our drama-teacher of a Prime Minister...I'm busting a gut. The cries of 'I told you so' and 'true colours' from Trudeau's critics who have been waiting for this opportunity which he so-very-generously served them on a silver platter with caviar and champagne...I couldn't script this stuff! The irony of Trudeau's government withdrawing M-6 after a time-wasting debacle that can only be blamed on the Prime Minister himself...Poetic justice. This. The culmination of what has been a rocky road paved by amateurs in the House of Commons these past 7 months...Hilarious! Droll! Are there any other words for 'funny?' Ahem. I will collect myself now.

Seriously, ahem, no seriously....

Nope, can't do it...


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Why I Lie about my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

When it comes to my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have been known to tell a tall tale now and then or simply omit the truth completely. The reasons for this may not be what think—I'm in no doubt of the existence of my illness nor am I unsure of the diagnosis. Nope, those things are as sure as sugar, and the lies are mostly simple things like answering 'Fine' to a question about my health or making up alternate reasons for not being able to attend this or do that. I certainly don't mean any harm...I just think the lies are easier sometimes. Why, you ask? Well, a few reasons...

There's a few things I only needed to hear once—I have this family friend, close enough to know how drastically my life's path has been altered in the past three years, who several times when the subject of my illness came up said, “Honey, we were all that tired when our kids were young!” Well, no you weren't. You know, I'm not entirely sure how I came to have this illness, but here's what didn't happen...I didn't wake up one day four years into my parenting career and decide that the 'tiredness' I had been experiencing was now sufficient enough to qualify as an illness. No. CFS is a multi-faceted illness with a specific pattern of fatigue that accompanies a whole host of other symptoms infinitely more debilitating than the 'tired' one feels in the early days of parenting. I know this because I have experienced BOTH, and they are NOT the same thing. Maybe you can appreciate that statements like these can be annoying and hurtful, so I hope you'd excuse any lies I may offer to avoid these types of interactions entirely.

Another baffling doozy that has come up a few times... ‘Have you ever thought you might have [insert random illness]?' The answer is quite simply 'No.' Why would I think I have that I have MS, Lupus, Depression or Addison’s disease? My symptoms and diagnosis are as familiar to me as the back of my hand. My question is why would YOU think that? For me, these statements are not only confusing but they make me feel as though my integrity is being called into question, as if I don't know my own illness or have just blindly accepted the first diagnosis that came knocking on my door. For this reason, I make no apologies for omitting any discussion of my illness from future conversations with these people.

Sickness is boring--If on any of the following days of my illness, you had asked me the question, 'How are you doing today?' These would have been my honest answers.
Day 1: Feeling terrible, probably a flu.
Day 7: Feeling terrible, quite the flu!
Day 14: Feeling terrible. Doctor says it's nothing.
Month 6: Feeling terrible. WTF is wrong with me?
Year 2: Still feeling terrible.
Year 3 and 4 months: You guessed it! Terrible.
Like who wants to hear that sh*t? Who wants to say it? Boring and yyyyyiiuuuck, so I figure there’s no harm in offering more creative answers from time to time.

I don't want people to give up on me—I’ve had this running weekly date with a girlfriend of mine for years, and quite frankly, I love it! But, aside from that, this weekly date has, for me, become a barometer for the state of my health at any given point in time. Basically, if I don’t go, it is because I am not well enough to do so, and that isn’t always the easiest thing to admit to her or to myself. Occasionally, say if I have had to cancel for the fourth time in as many weeks, I come up with some other excuse like a scheduling conflict or something. The reason is simply that I don’t want her to give up on me. My fear is that she will think things like ‘Maybe she is just too sick. Maybe it is hard for her to say ‘no’. Maybe I should stop asking. Maybe she doesn’t want to come.’ When the reality is that I DO. I really do. The other reality is that these thoughts are in my head, not hers, because, for the record, she has never stopped asking.

I don’t want to give up on me—Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue know that it is very much an illness full of up and downs, so sometimes with the slightest improvement, I just want to feel optimistic that maybe today’s ‘good day’ is telling of an imminent remission of the illness. Or on the flip side, I don’t want to believe today’s ‘bad day’ is the first of more of the same, so often answers to questions
about the status of illness are as much reflections of where I desire to be than of where I actually am. Maybe if I say I’m fine or getting better or that today’s fatigue was just a blip, I can avoid that sinking feeling that illness has set in for good.

Occasionally, I feel bad for the little lies I tell with regards to my CFS, as though I am contributing the fart cloud of uncertainty and disbelief that already plague sufferers of the illness, but I also know that I am just doing what I need to do to get through this thing, day by day. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Expect More than 'Ordinary' from your Prime Minister

Do you want to hear something boring? Probably not, but hear me out. I am an ordinary person. I work a job lots of other people work. I fit it around our young family, I don't make gobs of money, and I am mostly ok with that. I occasionally kill time on my phone, putter around the yard on the weekend, frequent breakfast places with my besties, and I rarely miss my kids' dance classes, soccer practices, or show-and-tell days. Pretty ordinary and boring, right?

Now, what if I told you I was the top ranking official in a country of 30 million people? What if I told you I was elected to be in that position? What if I said I had invitations to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the World Economic Forum, or the G7 Summit, just to name a few? What would you think if I told you my influence was paramount in making laws that affect millions of people's lives? That my voice is heard in everything from hostage negotiations to vital military operations to world trade agreements and international aid? Would you think that those things were a little out of the ordinary? Perhaps, you'd agree that a position such as mine was actually quite an extraordinary opportunity and responsibility.

It is for this reason I have to beg to differ with those who swoon at the 'ordinariness' of young Prime Minister Trudeau. In the 6 months since he became Prime Minister, I have heard his title intermingled repeatedly with the word 'selfies', endured hoards swooning over nothing-much-political to do with a certain State visit. I've heard the words 'dreamy, hot, pilf, dreamboat, sexy' and others associated with his name. I've listened to people praise Trudeau for not being 'an economic robot' and giving him 'kudos for maintaining his personal interests' outside of his position. I've tried in vain to block out Star Wars jokes, phrases like 'engage' (code for lip-service) and 'sunny ways' (code for ???), comments on Sophie’s fashion sense, and countless pictures of our prime minister hugging people. Over and over again, and in ways that baffle, I hear Justin Trudeau being praised for being ‘ordinary.’ While this may or may not be the doing of the PM himself, the media and public fascination with what is, in my humble opinion, as much celebrity as ordinary is deeply concerning.

My plea to the Canadian public is this…Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, expect more than ordinary from your prime minister. He is not your friend. He is not (nor should not) be known for his celebrity. He is not an actor (oh wait, he kind of is). He is not a poster-child for the cause of the week. No. He is, in significant ways, responsible for the futures of your children. He has it within his power to harm or heal people around the world in their hour of need. He can make or break livelihoods. His influence exceeds any ordinary person’s by a LOT. He has the means to make this country shine or be a laughing stock, and, as an elected official, he is accountable to you. Hold him to a standard of extraordinary.

Consider that the time spent on engaging in the ‘ordinary’ might be better spent brushing up on, say, human rights issues before meeting the President of the People’s Republic of China, or perhaps, ‘engaging’ in ANY way at all with the energy sector that has been vital to this country’s economy for decades. Maybe one might even find it offensive that our prime minister takes the time to pose for selfies with fans(?) while the fate of hostages rests on his shoulders. Our prime minister has countless extraordinary opportunities and responsibilities like these, the likes of which are not shared by an ordinary citizen, and for that… hold him to a standard of extraordinary.

The fascination with the ‘ordinariness’ of celebrities/public figures is by no means unique to our Prime Minister, but I respectfully ask that, in this case, that fascination not be allowed to overshadow the gravity of his position. Please think twice before choosing to read or share any materials that do not reflect our Prime Minister’s extraordinarily influential position or any relevant policies. I would argue that this misguided hype is far from benign, that it detracts real time from real issues, and that Canada’s position on the world stage has already been compromised by this phenomenon. Whatever you do, don’t expect (and don’t reflect) anything less than extraordinary from this man.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The 'To-Don't' List for Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue

I don't know about you, but when my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is rearing its ugly head, my to-do list inevitably starts to grow. In these times, it is a struggle to find a balance between my pressing energy crisis and the equally pressing day-to-day tasks of our busy household, and the one thing this mental to-do list is not... is helpful. So, I've done myself a favour and created a more useful alternative that I'd like to share with you...

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 'To-Don't' List

Don't stress about the To-Do list—I've discovered an amazing little secret about to-do lists...Nothing happens if you do not check off every item. The house does not explode, the kids go on being kids, my friends still love me, and the world keeps turning. If I don't happen to attend to this mountain of laundry or that stack of paperwork today, they are still waiting for me tomorrow. Occasionally if I hold out long enough, someone else in the house may even feel the need to help me out! No need to stress.

Don't say yes. Say YES(!) or say no—Anyone experienced in living with Chronic Fatigue is familiar with the dangers of not pacing yourself, of taking on too many things and leaving too little time for rest. So, here's a little nugget of a no-brainer...Say 'no' to anything that doesn't make you want to say an enthusiastic 'Yea!' Let's practice. Would I like to host a murder-mystery party for the in-laws? No, thank you. Attend a Tupperware party with random acquaintances? Um, NO. Would I like to dog-sit your 3 chihuahuas while you holiday in Spain? Sorry. Front-row tickets to Garth Brooks? Hell YEA! Of course saying no isn't always the easiest, but I'll put forth the argument that it is much easier than the alternative.

Don't write a script for your life when you are feeling low—I've been down this road a few times. My symptoms reach crisis level, and my mind runs away with thoughts like...If I feel like this, I'll never be able to hold my dream job. I'll never be the mom I want to be. I won't be able to manage this project or that issue. I'll be relegated to only functional activities forever. I'll never run again. I'll never be the woman my husband fell in love with. My kids will wonder why their mommy never played with them. I'll miss out on everything...and on and on. But the reality is you have no idea what the future will look like and even less control over it. For me, I have found this dialogue in my head to be entirely false at times and certainly never helpful, so when this happens I simply stop myself with the question, 'What can I do to help myself feel a little better tomorrow?'

Don't fight your illness. Coddle it—Maybe that sounds like bad advice, but I'm sure there's some science to back it up. From experience, it seems the more I approach Chronic Fatigue with metaphorical boxing gloves, declaring that I'm going to beat it or do things to spite it, the more I find I suffer. The more effective approach I've found is to approach the illness with kiddy gloves—that is, to coddle the crap out of it. If I were speaking to my illness, I might say, 'Oh, you want to go to bed at 8 tonight? Sure!' or 'You are blowing a shit fit about tonight's PTA commitment? Let's stay home and watch Call the Midwife.’ or even ‘Oh, you don’t like caffeine after 5 pm. How about wine? No? Popcorn? Nada. Fine. Avocado and quinoa salad it is.’ Perhaps that doesn't sound the most appealing sales pitch, but I promise you the pay-off in terms of your health will be well worth it!

Of course your To-Don’t List will look a little different than mine, but I do encourage you to make one. That feeling of desperately wanting to tick some tasks off your to-do list when your health is suffering is one every Chronic Fatigue sufferer is familiar with, and it is one that causes undue stress when you least need it. If you really must satisfy that 'ticking' need, at least start with list you have a fair chance at. Good Luck!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Talking on Eggshells--Time to chill about all things Words

Have you ever had one of those friends to whom nobody can ever seem to say the right thing? They are forever complaining about the insensitive things this or that person said when their goldfish died, or could you believe it that so-and-so had the nerve to console them with the phrase, “I understand.” Or maybe you have friend who thinks everything said in jest, every knock-knock joke, every off-the cuff comment is a personal dig at him. Maybe you've heard something like, 'Can you believe Auntie Whosit said that about this political issue, or that iconic figure (on his birthday no-less) in this economic climate?' Or maybe you have come across these kind of doozies on your newsfeed, ‘5 things NOT to say to somebody with Anxiety' or 'The words I REALLY needed to hear after my hernia repair,’ or even 'Why the words “Be positive” need to be thrown out of our vocabulary.’ I'm no innocent. To give you an example, it used to drive me to drinking when people called my less-than-talkative daughter 'shy.' Like, how could people be so rude and insensitive? Because 'shy' is a profanity now, didn't they know? It's all a bit exhausting.

The thing is people are SO sensitive about everything to do with words these days! It seems like we are all 'talking on eggshells,' forever worried that we are going to offend someone if we fail to choose the exact right words and deliver them in the exact right tone in the most timely of fashions. Or worst of all, we fear utilizing a politically incorrect term like ‘cheating’ (now academic dishonesty). gasp. Now, no doubt there is plenty of value in choosing our words carefully or facilitating the evolution of language over time, but I'm going to put forth the argument that maybe we have reached a point where we just have to chill the f#&k out about this stuff. It seems the only safe thing to say these days is, well, nothing or to craft words as cleverly and precisely as a politician being questioned about his expense account. #NoFun

Well, here's a newsflash for all of us...You can't control what other people say, and, as a matter of fairly basic democratic principle, you shouldn't try. Here's another news flash... People are different, and they may utilize language differently for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are an octogenarian, and they aren't familiar with the most current PC lingo, or maybe they are younger and lack complicated social filters. Who knows? Maybe they come from a family or culture where being blunt is more acceptable or desirable than you are comfortable with. Maybe they are trying to make a joke, lighten the mood, or commiserate. Maybe they just flat-out hold a different opinion than you. Maybe they suffer from speech anxiety, struggle with a second language, or are generally inarticulate for reasons that are none of your business. Maybe, maybe, maybe! Maybe LOTS OF THINGS! The point, as far as I can see it, is not so much the words themselves but the intention behind them. Is it asking too much to use one's reason and judgement to read the intention behind others' words and to react accordingly? So, for example, last week in a text conversation with a friend, at one point she replied, ‘Your illness sux balls.'  Now, I could have chosen this as an opportunity take offense at her insensitivity or political incorrectness, or I could choose to accept the words with the intention with which they were offered. I chose the latter, and I promise you, from this friend, in this situation, it was the most supportive thing I could ever have hoped to hear—made my week actually. I’m so thankful she didn’t feel the need to ‘talk on eggshells’ for my benefit.

The temptation to get your knickers in a twist about someone else’s arguably poor choice of words in this day and age can be strong at times, and I would go as far as to say there is even plenty of societal pressure to do so. But seriously, people, getting upset about this kind of stuff is a trap of your own setting, because, as I said, you can’t control what comes out of other people’s mouths…All you can control is your reaction to it. So my best advice the next time you find yourself on the cusp of this type of upset? Consider the offending phrase or paragraph, and ask yourself what the speaker’s intentions were. If they were not ill, chill! Save your pissed-off for something else. Failing that, consider providing the rest of us with a script of acceptable words and phrases that we may utilize in your presence, because, quite frankly, it’s all bit exhausting.