One Overwhelming Week of #Stress

Category: Weekly Columns


We all live busy lives. There’s a saying that goes something like, “If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person.” That may be true, but please don’t give it to me. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed these days. It’s really a good overwhelmed but my doctor insists the body reacts the same to good or bad stress. How we monitor and manage our stresses is so important but I’m not going to offer those suggestions.

Instead, I’d like to share a particularly busy week with you and ask – in the comments section – what you might have to offer in comparison, not that there’s any competition since we all handle our “loads” differently. Besides, I tend to like being crazy busy, as much as I might whine about it.

This specific week’s unusual highlight was that it was Election Week. I was following the election faithfully and was very anxious about this particular one. Don’t worry; this column is not going to be political. So herewith the events of that week, for me, in no particular order:

~~ The Election: Every free moment was spent glued to the television the weekend before, through Election Day, and the post-mortem. I was riveted as much as with any sporting event! Plus, those hours spent in front of the tube were hours not spent doing other things! I also read a lot about the election, mostly from e-mail newsletters that I receive. I sort of devoured all this reading.

~~ My Birthday: I was 37 (I wish!) the day after the election. So, there were all sorts of happy occurrences that took place around my birthday, primarily the wonderful video my college freshman son sent me from Boston. My wife made me a beautiful dinner, however my younger son – for the first time – forgot my birthday and didn’t give me a handmade cartoon card as he’s done for so many birthdays and Father’s Days. That made an otherwise joyous time slightly sad.

~~ A New Car: After seven years, I got a new car. We had not planned on getting it this particular week, but we got sucked into a great deal upon finding exactly the used car I wanted: three years old with lo miles and in perfect condition. We spent at least FIVE hours at that dealership making the deal. The irony was that we had the same thing happen a couple of years ago, in “looking” for a new car for my wife.

~~ A 99: My college freshman son got a 99 on an exam. I think that was his first high grade on any exam since elementary school. He was justifiably proud and sent me a photo of the exam with its grade featured prominently at the top. Only one word sums up my reaction: Hallelujah!

~~ Sweeney Todd: My high school sophomore performed in his drama club’s black box performance of “Sweeney Todd.” My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, though our son’s prior anxiety had us worried we wouldn’t. Plus, it was a Friday and those days tend to be ones we like to spend at home. But, it turned out to be an engaging evening, albeit later than I’d have preferred.

~~ A New Townhome: We’ve been looking for a reasonably priced ski condo in the Park City area for many months. Two deals fell apart for stupid bank-issues, unrelated to us. Finally, we went into escrow on one that may actually go through. As of this writing, it is still not closed!

~~ A Par Five: I’ve been golfing nearly six months now and this week I actually thought I sort of “got it.” Now, in golf you never really “get it,” but I was feeling I understood how to swing – finally – in my head and body. We played a new course and I actually pared the first hole, a par five. I won’t reveal my final score but let’s say I’m closing in on breaking 100.

~~ Records Are Falling: My IT/Social Media team and me have been working diligently to build our numbers/visits on It’s work beyond simply posting content and it seems that this particular week we were finally seeing a continued upward movement in the right trajectory. Time will tell, but perhaps we’re on a roll?

~~ My Next Book: The Empty-Nest Road Trip Blues: An Interactive Journal from A Dad’s Point-of-View was locked down, was being formatted, and is now released on PDF and Amazon/Kindle. And I made an infomercial for it, with my wife operating the camera, which is on the book page at

~~ Another milestone: We published our 60th Because I Said So comic and I believe it’s going great. Thank you VoogDesigns! Perhaps we’ll publish a book of them someday, but for now I’m hoping the comic is picked up for syndication. Not easy in these days of newspapers failures and cutbacks.

Finally, as I finish this column on Thanksgiving Day, I have my in-laws staying with us for EIGHT DAYS. Will the stress never end?

  • Claude Nougat

    Love the cartoons, particularly the zebra’s stripes unravelling! Yes, life can be indeed stressful and the best way to go about it is the way YOU do it: laugh yourself through!

    • Bruce Sallan

      What other choice do we really have, Claude?

  • ginavalley

    My life is insane right now.  I’m not going to enumerate my week ’cause it will stress me out.  I have a tendency to focus on what I did not do, instead of all that I did accomplish.  I am forever at odds with myself over wanting to spend more time with my children and wanting to accomplish more in working and even working out.  I don’t volunteer enough, I don’t have room in my schedule to travel to see my family nearly enough, and I can’t remember the last time I felt like I was spending enough time focusing on my marriage. 
    I second guess myself constantly.  Also, those areas are never “done” in that all continually have a new item to deal with or an unending flow of possible  things to do or to improve upon.  Hard to see where the line for “good enough” is.Lately, I’m even beating myself up during my spiritual development time for not having more spiritual development time.It seems as though every time I come up with a solution to one issue, two more pop-up.  For instance, I started walking my 4 youngest to a park every day so they could ride bikes/skateboards while I at the same time could power walk on the path with them.  Now it’s dark too early for us to go.  So, I need to make up that time at the gym, but that is time without them happily telling me stories as we cruise along together.  Time is limited. So I have to  choose either to spend that time working out at the gym or playing with my kids at home.  Guilt either way.  (Play won out)
    I took my family on an impromptu, surprise visit to my parents’ home in Washington state for Thanksgiving week. It was great to have the time with my parents/my kids grandparents, but that week away will keep me behind for a month. 
    Don’t even get me started on the holiday tasks to be done and their effect on my over-packed schedule.
    I need some chocolate, but I can’t have it ’cause I didn’t get to the gym today! 🙂
    This seems like a great topic for a future #DadChat (the stress, not the chocolate).  🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      Actually, I like the chocolate idea for #DadChat – let’s get Godiva to sponsor it!

      Gina, your attitude about being overwhelmed is all in your control…choose to look at your life as wonderfully blessed and full…that’s I see yours and mine…we are the fortunate ones!

      • ginavalley

        Great idea about Godiva!!!

        • Bruce Sallan

          You get ’em and I’ll split any sponsorship fee!

      • ginavalley

        How am I supposed to get a good whine going  when you are all positive and uplifting?  🙂

        • Bruce Sallan

          Sorry, whine away…

  • Christin Smith


    I think time itself is speeding up and we are trying to fit more in (especially, at this time of the year!)! End result? Life is more hectic and stressful.

    Like Claude, I loved your cartoons!

    I won’t tell you about my hectic day or week but refer you to my hectic weekend which I posted at

    The sad thing is that our weekends are often this hectic!!

    It’s a good thing that the holidays will soon be upon us, and we may have some time to relax.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Christin, would you want it any other way?

  • Judy Martin

    Fodder for another book. LOL Can only respond in every moment with awareness and some compassion for yourself. Can only do your best. Also, not hanging on too long to the lows or the highs – life changes in every moment. So cliche – but so true. humor will always trump the analytical mind…:)

    • Bruce Sallan

      Judy, buy my current book TODAY on Amazon and I’ll send you the PDF for free AND reimburse the cost of the book via PayPal:

  • Kim Prince

    Oof, that does make me tired, but I must say, you certainly brought it on yourself.  Maybe this is a lesson to spread out the fancy new condo and car purchases, hmm?  Remember back to when your boys were under 10.  Just existing was a busy week!

    • Bruce Sallan

      Who said anything about “fancy” – these are necessities! 

  • Arlee Bird

    It’s all a matter of perspective.  We all have busy lives when we look at the content in the right way. Some people stay busy watching TV while others actually work.  Paying attention and keeping the schedule organized can really bring the business into the proper light and the stress is often a choice that is the result of lack of organization.   Not always though.  I’m pretty unorganized and I’m not often stressed.  My perspective must be nuts.

    • Bruce Sallan

      I actually like being crazy busy and I am pretty organized – in my mind, if not my wife’s! LOL…

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  • David Weber

    Very stressful first-world problems.

    • Bruce Sallan

      And, I’m grateful to have them!