I have some serious catching up to do! Thank goodness the amazing Blog Challenge bloggers have been keeping the #30PostsHathSept page alive and well (80 posts so far!).

Last week I was juggling a couple of freelance deadlines with stubborn migraines that had been becoming more frequent and intractable over several months. Finally, I made a trip to my doctor’s office and wish now I hadn’t waited so long to do so (let’s just say that, if I could, I would make the date when triptans were discovered an international holiday). Then, this past weekend, my husband and I visited our son and daughter-in-law in Boston for our son’s birthday—all of which is my explanation for not blogging for a week during my own blogging challenge.

The good news is that I am still on track to reach 20 posts by the end of the month. Even better news is that I’m just fine with the accomplishment of 20 posts rather than 30. Not allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good is something I’ve become better at. There are some benefits—many, in fact—of getting older.

Photo credit at end of post

Photo credit at end of post

Inspiration for life change and personal growth often sneaks up on us in expected ways. I want to leave you with an article from Southwest: The Magazine that I read on the plane. In “Comedy of Errors: Five lessons on teamwork and failure from the halls of Saturday Night Live,” writer and actress Katie Rich discusses life lessons she has learned from being part of comedy teams at Second City and SNL. In the following paragraph, substitute in your mind the phrase “live with” for “work with” (apologies in advance to all Karens out there!):

“You cannot change the people you work with. You can only change the way you react to the people you work with. Karen (there is always a Karen) is always going to eat a little too loudly at her desk. So instead of asking Karen to change, you learn to put on your headphones when you see the Granny Smith coming out.”

She then shares advice she received from comedy colleague Mike O’Brien:

“Instead of being annoyed by that person, by their habits or their behaviors, try getting a kick out of them. Just try to get a kick out of people.”

That reminds me of an invaluable suggestion I heard a long time ago about how to handle challenging days when children are very young: Pretend this were happening on a sit-com—what would be funny about it? Hang on to that part.

Rich continues (again, thought substitutions suggested in brackets):

“[S]ometimes people make it difficult. Here’s a scary thought: Is it you? It might be you. Is it Karen? Maybe’s it’s Karen. (But remember you can’t change Karen, so let’s get a kick out of Karen.) The only tactic that I have seen work with a difficult teammate [friend/relative/loved one] is total kindness and respect. Treat others like they are geniuses, like they are important, and guess what—they will feel that way. And they’ll remember you made them feel that way. And the team [everyone] will get better.” Read full article

The surprising thing is that when we go to bed knowing we made even one person’s day better by extending total kindness and respect—not just to the people who make it easy, but to the people who make it hard, especially to the people who make it hard—we feel better, stronger, more loved and respected than if we had stewed and felt sorry for ourselves.

Or, as one of my favorite authors, George Saunders, puts it, we can “err in the direction of kindness“:

“[T]o the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.” ~ George Saunders

Photo by Jennifer made available under a Creative Commons license.