life Reading Work

Call & Staying in the Present

January 28, 2021


I didn’t post yesterday because Tuesday night had been a very interrupted night of sleep (night #1/7 of call), and at 1 AM I committed to sleeping in as long as possible.

(It actually doesn’t seem like a bad policy: >1 wakeup and I can then let myself off the hook for some of my morning rituals and get some extra sleep.)

Thankfully last night (night #2/7) was much quieter.

I admit I have been spending some time . . . catastrophizing, though. I have a few anticipated (work-related) challenges coming up ahead over the next few days and I seem to be living imagined versions of them even before they occur, which is a bit frustrating. First of all, I have no idea if things will be as challenging as I think. Second, even if my gut instincts are correct (though . . . honestly, I think my gut instincts are pretty well-honed) — what is the point of living out an imagined challenge 32847 times before it actually happens!?

Furthermore, the ‘worst case scenario’ is nothing all that terrible, anyway. AND it will be over in 5 days, even if it’s hard. ALSO, hard is okay. I can do hard things.


Sorry if that’s a bit cryptic.

Today I am going to try to use the crowding concept to stay in a more present mode. I will do my workout. I will take restorative breaks when I can. I will feed myself actual nutrients and not just processed garbage. I will not go all day without drinking water (the worst). I will try my absolute best to maintain attention to each task as I am doing it, rather than living in some imagined parallel “what if” space.

Josh is supposed to be doing bedtime tonight (we have a new evening schedule going, or at least we are trying it!) and I am so greatly looking forward to not parenting in the evening.


OH! And I finished Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I cried at the end even though nothing bad happened, just because I was sad it was over. I cannot wait to read Homegoing (same author + very different story, published in 2017).

One fun thing I have on my list today is to refresh my library holds list. (And start Anxious People which I bought in hardback mid-pandemic; I generally like Fredrik Backman).

seems apropos


  • Reply Sarah January 28, 2021 at 6:46 am

    Sorry about the rough call week! I loved Anxious People, although it is quite sad at times (that seems to be a theme in Backman’s books).

  • Reply haya January 28, 2021 at 7:34 am

    i am listening to homegoing right now! i loved anxious people – consumed it at a very anxious time in my life and it was kind of soothing/comforting in a strange way.

  • Reply acdalal January 28, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Oh, I am so with you about living in Catastrophe World! I hope the tough days ahead go well, or at least well enough. You’ve got this!

    Also, it’s amazing what a difference something small like “drink enough water” can make in your overall mood and productivity. I am guilty of forgetting this as well, especially on the days I’m on campus.

  • Reply Ana January 28, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Staying in the present and not spiraling is so hard for me. Not on call, but had a terrible day with patients/etc… yesterday and the only way I could get through it was one thing at a time. I did melt down in the evening though, I just couldn’t keep it up anymore. I know that catastrophizing is unproductive but I do it automatically and then need to reel myself back to reality.

  • Reply Ana January 28, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Also—I did like Anxious People, though not as much as most of his others. Transcendent Kingdom was…AMAZING, but heartbreaking.

  • Reply Mary Alice January 28, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Transcendent Kingdom was my favorite book I read last year and also up there in my lifetime hall of fame too. I’m so glad you loved it too. I also cried at the end and was so sad to be done spending time with Gifty!

  • Reply Omdg January 28, 2021 at 10:57 am

    For catastrophizing I really liked “everything isn’t terrible.” I made my husband read it after I got through it. I still can’t manage the anxiety behaviors of my family members, but at least now I have given myself permission to step away from the interaction before it spirals.

  • Reply Coco January 28, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    i think our anxiety about the challenge could be because we don’t have a clear action plan, then we panic. once you know what you are going to do and all the possible scenarios, and you are ok with worse, then you might stop thinking about it. it happens to me every time i have a new challenge in my plate. it’s quite a fund process to get over it (not in the middle of it obviously!).

  • Reply Sara January 28, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Anxious People was so, so good! I hope you enjoy it. It was so engaging and had some offbeat comic relief, even if the core story was a bit depressing.

    Good luck with the hard things. This has definitely been the year to test our resilience!

  • Reply Sarah January 29, 2021 at 6:14 am

    I just finished “This Tender Land” and wow… easily my favorite book of the year. Thanks so much for your recommendations- “Transcendent Kingdom” is next!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 29, 2021 at 7:30 am

      YES this tender land!!! I’m so glad you liked it!!!

  • Reply Jaimie January 29, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    I loved Anxious People and Transcendent Kingdom but let me tell you Homegoing is top 5 ever books for me. It’s amazing.

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