When an Apostrophe Made Me Cry, and How I Made It OK

14 Aug
This afternoon, an apostrophe made me cry.
OK, context.
My fibromyalgia is in full flare today. Extreme fatigue, brain fog, body aches, plus the mental health symptoms: anxiety and depression.
I have a ton of work to get done in the next few days, including a few freelance assignments and two custom speaking programs I’ve got to have ready this week. And I’ve got FOUR municipal government meetings this week. OK, one is a picnic, but it’s municipal government, and it’s taking up a chunk of my calendar, so it’s a meeting to me.
I need to rest. I can barely function. But not being productive right now turns the anxiety into full-on panic, so I’ve been trying. All day.
I managed 75 minutes of work on a digital advertisement for the life insurance industry. As I was researching their collateral, I found in one document two errors in using apostrophes (they’re not for plurals, people!!), and then a reference to people with *only* a million dollars as “lower net worth.” I decided the whole world was unfair because I know how to use punctuation but I don’t have a million dollars. So I cried.
But don’t worry. I looked around my bedroom, where I’m nesting with my laptop, at the photo collage from my 10-week, cross-country road trip with The Best Dog Ever, street art from Ouro Preto (Brazil), Prague, and Bruges, and all the adventure photos just in this one room, and I reminded myself how very rich I truly am. I stopped crying.
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Minutes later, I read in my research a case study of a man who needs $200,000 a year after retirement in order to “comfortably live” and I thought HOW AWFUL. How awful to have put himself in the kind of situation where he needs so much money to feel “comfortable.” That’s when I looked at my bare plywood floor with its peeling paint and felt so very free … and, somehow, so very safe.
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I know these things, but I forget, and it’s so easy to get caught up in doom when we don’t feel well. Today, I was able to leave my doom by asking myself that all-important question, yet again: What does “rich” mean to me?
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