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Useful P-Words for 2021: Peace, Perseverance, Persistence, Playfulness, Pleasing My Self, Presence, Priority

This little group of P-words seemed to want to be in this essay. I went with it.

Robin Finn
Jan 18 · 4 min read

I was looking at a list of qualities that begin with the letter P and thinking about what to write this week. This little group of P-words jumped out at me and seemed to want to be in this essay so I went with it. I was staring at the word peace and that made me think about Mike Pence. Not because Pence is peaceful but because of alliteration.

I was thinking about being peaceful and how I would like to sit outside in my back yard and feel peaceful but my neighbors were moving the air conditioning units on their roof and someone was blowing leaves and there was a dog barking (it wasn’t mine). It was not quiet or peaceful outside on the black Adirondack chairs, at least not quiet enough to lure me out of my bedroom.

I can persevere because, given all that happened in 2020, to say things could be worse than someone using a leaf blower is an understatement of epic proportions. As a Jewish person, I have to add the Yiddish word, kinehora, because I am culturally afraid of The Evil Eye. Kinehora is supposed to keep it away or at least that’s what my Grandma Tillie thought. This last year, I have persevered through my mom’s death and the pandemic and the quarantine and all the fears and anxieties and sadnesses of 2020.

I have persisted at fighting with multiple people on Facebook about Trump and mask-wearing and the importance of vaccinations, even though many of my friends have gently suggested I not bother. Nevertheless, I persist. It’s like something’s wrong with me and I can’t help it. I persist in Facebook fighting because it seems wrong to be silent but maybe it is righter to ditch social media altogether and go back to reading books.

I want to get into playfulness and laughing and having fun in 2021. I have always held playfulness as a life value — playfulness and joy — two things that are at the top of my list. But I haven’t felt very playful lately. Last night, as I was in Season Three of The Crown, my dog threw up, and not on the wood floor but on the rug so I had to get a plastic Ralphs’ bag and a bunch of rags and foamy carpet cleaning and, while I wanted to be lying in bed watching Charles meet Camilla, I had to deal with dog vomit so that was not putting me in a very playful mood. My dog seemed fine and was wagging his tail and looking ready for a doggy treat. I didn’t give him one because I was afraid he would vomit again.

I noticed on my list of P-words there was Please My Self. I think this is an important concept because pleasing oneself is something most of us don’t do. We worry about pleasing our spouses and our kids, our bosses and our neighbors, our friends and our lovers, but ourselves? Pleasing one’s Self is important so I wanted to add that into this essay, although it is hard to please my Self when I have to clean up dog vomit and throw out the Ralph’s bag and dirty rags in the garbage can outside when I want to be in bed watching The Crown. I am really learning a lot about history and His Royal Highness David and Wallace Simpson seem like wackadoos, but that’s another story.

The other P-word on the list was presence, as in being present and not being somewhere else, like in the past or in the future or at my mom’s bedside. Tonight, something funny happened and I wanted to call my mom so badly and I realized — once again — that she wasn’t on a long cruise out of Florida or visiting my brother in Europe or at a wedding in Cincinnati. She wasn’t anywhere that she was going to return from. She was gone and she was never coming back. I tell myself this and make myself cry and make it real, even though not seeing her ever again seems way too long to handle. I can’t stand to think about this so I try to be present and handle my feelings and persevere.

The last P-word in this little group is priority. For 2021, my number one priority is health because we have to continue to deal with the coronavirus. Number two is self-sanity, which is how to keep myself from going crazy with all the fears and anxieties and worries that bombard my brain like pinballs. Writing saves me, and so does running a mile every other day, which might not seem like much, but for me, is a huge accomplishment. And then there is binge-watching The Crown.

When my dog isn’t vomiting, lying in bed and watching shows is a very important way of pleasing my Self, and persevering through another round of the pandemic, and persisting in not leaving my bedroom, and playfully eating pieces of dried mango under the sheets since they don’t make crumbs, and being present in The Now, not sad about the past or anxious about the future.

Peace is my priority for 2021. I know it’s a long shot but I am hoping for more of it in 2021. I may even stop fighting with people on Facebook. Kinehora, 2021 will be a more peaceful year for all of us.

Sleepless in the San Fernando Valley

By Robin Finn — She’s sweaty.

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Robin Finn

Written by

Founder: Heart.Soul.Pen.® for women writers & the Women’s Writing Den. Essays: @NYTimes @WashPo @LATimes @BuzzFeed. Author: “Restless in L.A.” www.robinfinn.com

Sleepless in the San Fernando Valley

By Robin Finn — She’s sweaty. She has to pee. She has teenagers. No wonder she can’t sleep.(Photo: Steven Pahel/Unsplash)

Robin Finn

Written by

Founder: Heart.Soul.Pen.® for women writers & the Women’s Writing Den. Essays: @NYTimes @WashPo @LATimes @BuzzFeed. Author: “Restless in L.A.” www.robinfinn.com

Sleepless in the San Fernando Valley

By Robin Finn — She’s sweaty. She has to pee. She has teenagers. No wonder she can’t sleep.(Photo: Steven Pahel/Unsplash)

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