Changing My Pants: Do What You Can When Self-Help Fails

Teri Clifton’s collection of essays, THE THINGS I CANNOT DO, is now available on Amazon for FREE until Jan. 2nd!! We’re in the #1 spot for humorous short reads on Kindle and have held in the top 10 spot consistently!

On A Dime Adventure is dedicated to sharing the ways we’ve found to grab slices of fun and enjoyment in a sometimes unpredictable world. Often articles in the “self-help” genre seem to be written by the conquerors – people who climbed their way to the top,  jumped over the edge, and then glided ever so gracefully right into some new fabulous life. We look to them and think “if only I could manage what they have”.

Well friends, we won’t be barking or climbing up the tree of self-help as this latest post comes to you, not from a conqueror, but rather from a struggler. And the purpose is to hopefully engage fellow strugglers in the process of staying afloat and surviving dastardly hurricane-force winds while also seizing moments here and there of sailing with the wind blowing in our hair. Perhaps we’ll even petition for a new genre called “we stepped off the cliff, chickened out and hit bottom, now where’s the bathroom ’cause we need to change our pants”

This morning I was caught in high winds and did my required sobbing, then snapped at the world – via my guy, who unfortunately got whomped as collateral damage – and then I finally settled and sat silent in the cavern of big-picture overwhelm. We’ve all been there, when you are paralyzed by any idea of solving a problem. That was my situation for a while but gradually I took a few breaths and then I changed my pants because that was the only thing I could do.

Changing My Pants is what you are reading now, the one thing in the world I have to do every Saturday, write a blog post. And on this particular jarring Saturday, when I was stymied about what to write about, it came to me that there is no reason to blow smoke up anyone’s body cavity. We all have hard times of cut the bull-malarkey and get to the nitty-gritty so here we go, but if you have a further interest in the transparent making of an adventurous struggler, I am releasing a book of essays in the next couple of months that strives to be cheap and humorous and will include instructions on changing your pants.

For now, we’ll focus on a life-shot of B-12  as there are days when we just need to cut to the chase and for me, this is one of those days.

1) Do What You Can – In my fear moment this morning, I sent an email following up on something that will generate cash flow. Recently, I noticed – in a very upscale neighborhood here in Los Angeles – that someone was selling plants in front of their equally upscale house. I also became aware of a girlfriend who has children in college selling household items via Facebook. And friends, I painted my toenails. Yep, all ten because I remembered when I climbed Mt. Whitney the first time solo, and was terrified of freezing to death and then being eaten by a grizzly, I clung to the fact that my toenails were a fetching shade of scarlet and that was almost as reassuring as the reminder that there are no grizzlies at Mt. Whitney.

2) Skip What You Can – Stay away from the stuff that is not helpful. And people who do nothing for the health of your psyche, avoid them. This one is a no-brainer, SHUT OUT social media and Yahoo news! For the love of Kim Kardashian, opt out of the photos of her latest mansion and remind yourself that she named her daughter North and has Kris for a mom. Do not look over the fence at anything you deem better.

3) Walk It Out – 15 minutes, that’s all. Put your shoes on and go out the door and walk 15 minutes or longer if you can. I’ve worn sunglasses before to hide the tears while walking and then hoped people would mistake me for a celebrity who is in the middle of a scandal about nude photos. Now that I have hit the beyond naked photo age, I think the odds of that mistake are dwindling. Walking or a casual run does not change your outside world when you are struggling but it will change you inside even if just a little.

4) Lower Your Expectations – It’s easier to feel better about yourself if you keep your expectations under control. The beast of unrealistic expectations sometimes has you believing you’ve failed when you have not. Try only expecting a successful climb out of bed, the putting on of clean underwear, and the eating of two scrambled eggs and expect that this is a good thing for your mind/body/soul and pat yourself on the back for accomplishing it.

5) Ask For Help – This is a “do as I say” moment that is really yanking my chain so, unlike the self-help gliders, I now offer you thanks because doling out this little nugget has me thinking “crap, now I have to do this”. And I will, in the tangible sense. In other words, I won’t post some cryptic message on Facebook or a quote that hopes to communicate my need. I will do what I am suggesting you do, call and/or write to very close and safe friends and tell them I need their support.

I hope you also do this and more than anything I hope to hear from some of you that you discover what I did years ago while walking, a trail. A place in the wild where everything falls away (success, failure, money, prestige, glamour, test scores, reject letters etc) and all you are left with is what is basic and simple, the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and the pack on your back.

Oh, and the ability to change your pants or as in the photo above, change from shorts into pants. Being stuck in life, followed by sliding down to safety, can often lead to a serious case of tree-burn.

We’re loving hearing from you on FB and in comments but realized we needed to add e-mail also so here you go and be in touch.

Per usual, we are grateful if you wish to “like”/share to Facebook and/or Tweet.

View on the way down
View from Mt. Whitney

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