Volume 2, Issue 15: A Life Tip from Pre-Teen Patricia

Hi friends! It’s Friday and Fridays mean that I think about this comic from Tiny Snek Comics which is an accurate reflection of my every Friday:

Add “readin” and “writin” and “podcastin” in there as well. And “snail mailin.”

In other news, I am officially a full-time work-from-home human for my day job! I’m very excited about it. I am very happy and successful working from home and I am grateful for the privilege. It also means that I get to jump up and have impromptu dance sessions or occasionally give a full musical theatre performance, depending what song comes on my showtunes Pandora station. I know I can listen to full cast albums on Spotify but I like the chaos and emotional rollercoaster of Pandora. One minute I’m doing a time-step to a song from 42nd street and the very next song I’m Eponine dying in Marius’s arms. Never a dull moment in here.

Today I wanted to talk about a life tip(?) I refuse to call it a “life hack” because people really play fast and loose with the word “hack” when they mean “tip” or “advice.” Anyway, I digress.

I actually started doing this with my mother when I was maybe 11 or 12. Definitely junior high. My mom and I have very different interests and I was tired of being super disappointed when I would share something that I thought was amazing (like the plot of a book) and my mom’s response was not as energetic as I had hoped (she is not a book reader). This was my first lesson to stop expecting me from other people but definitely not my last.

I want to note that my mother wasn’t being rude or mean, it’s just that we care about different things. So, when I was going to share something with her that I was excited about but I knew she wouldn’t be, I would literally say

“I’m going to share something with you and I need you to pretend to be as excited as I am.”

Note: this only works with someone who actually cares to take part in it whole-heartedly and also it needs to be something that is not necessarily deeply important.

So, I’d say my line, she’d say, “Okay!” and then I would excitedly tell her the thing and she would clap and go, “HOLY SHIT THAT’S FUCKIN’ RAD! SO AWESOME!!!” and yes, I know she didn’t actually care that much but she cared enough to want me to not be disappointed and to play along.

The funny thing is, is that it kinda works because no matter what, we’d end up laughing. I use it sometimes with my wife as well when I want her to match my energy instead of being disappointed that she doesn’t. Here is an example:

Me: “I’m going to share something with you and I need you to pretend to be as excited as I am.”

Wife: “Okay!”

Me: “I just learned that Broadway HD streaming has the David Hasselhoff Jekyll & Hyde available with our subscription!!!!”

Wife: “Oh wow!!!!!!! I’ve never even heard of that! There’s a Jekyll & Hyde musical?! Holy shit!”

Is this as good as someone actually being excited about whatever I’m excited about on their own? No, of course not. But it’s also not realistic to expect that from another person all the time, especially over trivial things. I’m not talking about book deals or promotions or things like that. But there have been so many times that I’ve avoided silly disappointment by just communicating what I need in the moment and not expecting myself to come from someone else. Because when it comes down to it, that’s all that this is about. It could also be good practice for working up to being able to communicate other needs at other times, but that’s just a pleasant bonus.

That’s it for this week! You can shop any books I’ve mentioned in this newsletter at my affiliate shop, The Infophile’s Bookshop, and support independent bookstores. If you want to send me some snail mail, you can find me at P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481. If you want me to send you some happy mail, feel free to give me your address.

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