There’s this marginally entertaining 1991 movie, “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” that stars Christina Applegate as Sue Ellen, a teenager who has to go to work to support her siblings when the babysitter her mom hired for the summer suddenly dies. In a not-at-all believable turn of events, Sue Ellen gets a job as an assistant at a fashion design company.
At one point, Sue Ellen’s boss, Rose, tells her that the only correct response to anything she asks her to do is, “I’m right on top of that, Rose.” So she says this over and over throughout the film.
While the movie is not worth much more than the celluloid it’s printed on, Sue Ellen’s canned reply is pure gold. It has stuck with me for 25 years because it IS me.
It’s been four months since my last confession, er, blog.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been mentally and physically hibernating because, lately, everything is just too much for me.
I spent the last half of 2016 feeling overwhelmed. Like I’m shouldering a rucksack full of bricks, standing in quicksand up to my neck. And just when I think I’m starting to pull myself up onto solid ground, something else pulls me under.
The main reason for my overwhelm-itude has been my insane workload, a problem admittedly of my own making. And, as a self-employed media consultant, it’s kind of selfish to even call it a problem.
I’ve often spent time in rooms full of like-minded people who are focused on their spiritual and emotional growth. In one of those rooms recently, someone mentioned a tendency that I am all too familiar with — the extremes of either being obsessed with or indifferent to people, places, things or events.
I’ve been an extremist in many areas of my life, but particularly in romantic relationships — I think about you every minute of every day, or I completely cut you out of my mind and heart. There is no middle ground.
I’ve come to realize that this approach is more than a little nutty and certainly not emotionally healthy. (Perhaps this is why I am blissfully single right now. But I digress.)
I didn’t mean to do it.
I didn’t intend to carry it so far.
I just wanted a taste. Just a tiny boost. Nothing extreme.
But a taste wasn’t enough. It led to another, and another. I felt myself falling into the deep chasm of obsession. Before I knew it, I was full-on in the madness.
Before I knew it, I had … I had … completely redecorated my living room.
Now, I don’t mean to make light of addiction. True physical and psychological addition — to drugs, alcohol, food, sex — is blinding, brutal and ravaging, and it does not discriminate.
I saw an article over the weekend that really spoke to me. In fact, the title could have been, “Amy’s Road Map to a Fulfilling Future.”
It wasn’t though. It was called, “6 Traits People with Attractive Energy Possess.”
It basically said that you are what you attract, and I have found that to be true over my 43 years on this Earth. For the first 35 or so, my energy brought in more than a few people who were not good for me. So for my second act, I’ll be damned if I am going to waste time any more time on toxic relationships.
I try to embody the six things listed in the article every day, but like most things in my life, they are a work in progress. When I was younger, I possessed none of these traits. It is only in middle age that I am able to see their value and aspire to them.
Animal rescue gets a ton of publicity these days, as well it should. I enthusiastically support any agency that saves dogs, cats and other domesticated animals from abuse suffered at the hands of sick fucks like Michael Vick. I also support harsh penalties for said fucks. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
See, the thing about so-called animal rescue is that the humans who adopt these sweet creatures are often the ones who end up getting rescued. At least, that’s the gospel according to Amy. Dogs don’t have to be official therapy animals to provide therapy. Just sayin’.
“Midlife: When the universe grabs your shoulders and tells you, ‘I'm not fucking around, use the gifts you were given.’ ” — Brene Brown
I love this quote so much that I want to hug it and squeeze it and name it George.
Why? Because it is SO true. In my case, the universe also slapped me across both cheeks before I got the point. But I got it. In a major way.
At age 43, I truly have stopped fucking around. In fact, I am embracing middle age in an aggressive (if slightly awkward) bear hug. First off, I had a midlife epiphany (NOT a crisis) when I turned 40 that impelled me to quit the corporate world and start my own business.
The transition from one year to the next is when many of us take time to reflect. I am no different. I like to look back to see how far I’ve come.
For me, 2015 was pretty outstanding on the whole. Sure, there are things I could’ve done differently, but I don’t believe in regrets. Every stumble is a lesson, not a reason for self-flagellation.
I wrapped up three years as an entrepreneur in September, and I can now unequivocally say that my little freelance media consulting business is a viable venture. I had my highest billings ever and earned more income than I ever pulled down in a single year before. I’m no longer just paying my bills and surviving, I’m friggin’ thriving, people. It feels awesome. I’m either lucky, smart or both.
There is nothing under my Christmas tree this year.
That’s sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it? Yes, I’m verklempt, but it’s not because I’ve fallen on hard times or anything like that. I have a great life, a successful business, and I can afford to share a bit of my wealth. The problem is, there is nothing for me to buy for the first time in 20 years.
See, the adults in my family suck at gift exchange. Christmas consists of me shoving gift certificates or cash in clever cards for my parents and brother. They almost always do the same for me. I don’t know if it’s because we’re lazy or not very creative, but we are collectively OK with that. There is no doubt we love each other, and we’re not concerned about expressing that love through material things. We show it in other ways throughout the year.
I’ve had a lifelong love-hate relationship with a certain, seemingly innocuous word.
"Cute" is today’s universal term for aesthetic admiration, and I think it’s gotten totally out of hand. My shoes are cute. My haircut is cute. My bungalow in the Highlands is cute. I just bought a cute set of dinnerware. But me, ME — a grown-ass woman — I am NOT “a cutie pie,” “cute as a button” or “cute as a bug.”
It’s the damndest thing … I say that word in daily conversation to describe everything from clothes to décor to my dogs. I make it a point to tell my girlfriends how cute they look whenever I see them. But when certain people use it against me, I mentally throw elbows and scratch eyeballs.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.