By Mary Cucarola – 2/1/23

“Change is as simple as choosing to give a fuck about something else.”  ~Mark Manson

I stopped watching the news and started watching dog videos.  My happiness factor went way up.

I cut my news consumption by about 80-90% in January.  While this was difficult at first, what I know is the media is in the business of outrage and victimhood.  Everyone is offended by something and loves the feeling of righteousness, no matter which side of the isle you are on.  The news encourages these reactions because it’s good for business.  It’s more profitable to stoke outrage than to report on real issues. Ryan Holiday calls it “outrage porn.”  It draws you in.  It drew me in.

It’s an effective way to avoid real feelings and make excuses for why to avoid responsibility, too.  As Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck says “choose to place your fucks elsewhere, in a place far more important and worthy of your energies.”  I chose to place my fucks and energies in cute dog videos in January.

I’ve had a “cleansing and therapeutic” first month of my sabbatical.  So much extra time without work duties or being glued to my TV, phone, or computer.  I read four books in January, and if you haven’t read the novel The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, I highly recommend it.  It is a fascinating story line.

I had to clean out all of the closets and pack up the house to have it painted this month.  It was very therapeutic to go through things and get rid of the clutter.  I guess you could say I have an overabundance of possessions. It’s not so much the abundance but the attachment to these possessions that is the problem.

When I had to remove my suits from the basement closet (have had since I worked for the CPA firm in downtown Denver about 30 years ago), I said to myself do I really need these?  LOL.  Not to mention they are too small for me and out of style – most of them look like flight attendant outfits.  Although it was a period of inordinate learning for me, I put that chapter of my life behind me and carefully put those gray and navy suits in the bag to go to the Goodwill.  I freed them from their exile to the basement and myself from the attachment to memory of them.

I have not done a lot of writing yet; some journaling and this blog.  I did pull up my book draft and look at it. Some of it is pretty good; some of it needs work.  Maybe more writing will happen in February.  I am content to let things happen as they may right now and enjoy the moment.

I am proud of myself for not making this blog about Cody’s birthday coming up on Sunday.  He would have been 36 years old on February 5th.  It’s also the 8th anniversary of my mom’s  passing.

Finally, I did have a phantom phone call on January 20th from Cody, Wyoming with nobody on the line when I answered.  I called it back and it was a disconnected number.  I called it back about 10 more times over the next couple of days with the same “your call cannot be completed as dialed” message.  I just now dialed it again with the same message.  Not the first time this has happened.  Last time was the day we buried Cody in Telluride over nine years ago.

I believe in signs. That’s why I know I am on the right track.

By Mary Cucarola – 2/1/23

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