First thing that comes to mind is I shouldn’t be here. I have plenty of ideas, tools, resources and strategies to manage myself when I hit any wall, right? But instead of using them today, I sulked and exploded and joined my own pity party. And not necessarily in that order.

It is freeing to admit that there are times when I look at my life – my work – my partner – my family – and say, “what the hell?” Life can hurt and swirl and surprise and shock and disappoint. And if you’re breathing, you get to observe and feel the impact of that kaleidoscope of emotions.

Write it down


I recall sharing with someone about how writing things down, when you’re really upset, can help change your perspective. But until this very minute, I’d forgotten to take that route.

Writing is different than talking. Sometimes, if you say too much, the situation gets blown out of proportion. Or you decide to share your frustrations with someone who either cares too much and wants to help you get over the pain now, or pays no attention and pisses you off even more.

So, I started to write. I emptied my soul of a list of ten items and dubbed it ‘My Terrible Ten List,’ consisting of ten things – in order- that were bugging me most. Since I don’t live on a desert island, I decided to refrain from sharing the TMI details. But once the scenarios that were sending me down a wicked spiral hit paper, something shifted. Rather quickly.

As I began to read each infraction out loud, I had to admit it that what I’d written down sounded…silly. Was this what upset me so horribly?


My Terrible Ten List


Numbers 1-5 on ‘My Terrible Ten List’ all have to do with OTHER people. Not one thing I have any control over in any way, shape or form.

Number 6 is bad timing. Yes, I wanted something desperately. And, for whatever reason, it’s not going to happen in this season of life.

Numbers 7 and 8 are about waiting and being patient. There is nothing wrong here. Things just aren’t happening at the lightning speed I’d prefer.

Number 9 is a personal choice I may need to set more boundaries on for myself. I know what to do.

And Number 10 on “My Terrible Ten List’? Well, that comes with the territory of having two dogs and two cats – three over the age of 14. Again, out of my control.


Identifying what made me hit the wall and writing it down almost instantaneously took the sting out of my anger. Maybe I could have added other items to the list. But for goodness’ sake, isn’t ten enough for one day?

This amazingly simple tool is one I seem to have no problem offering to friends and family and clients. Today I remembered to use it myself. Maybe this would have stopped me from exploding and dumping on someone who had nothing to do with any of these issues. (Sorry, love.)

Should and shouldn’t


After re-reading ‘My Terrible Ten List,’ and seeing how trivial they sound now, I realize I’m rather embarrassed I allowed these things to get under my skin. I should have known better, right?

Which brings me back to the “should” of where I started. I was there, in that moment. And now I have moved past that moment to some sort of resolve. At least I’m not pissed off anymore.

I do find myself in this place of hitting a wall from time to time. Beating myself up didn’t change a thing. Nor did exploding. But writing it all down? For today, that seemed to ease my distress.

If you’re frustrated about something, or ten things, and can’t shake it, I encourage you to write out your own ‘My Terrible Ten List.’

I’d love to know what happens when your words hit the paper.