KISS Rules: Balancing Vigilance, Work & Life

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I write novels. Stories. I’m not a journalist.I work at separating my writing life and political views. But, having grown up with stories of the Holocaust, with family who left (were chased from) Germany and Romania because of politics, I know that there are times when art and life collide. We are all children of immigrants in this country and protecting each other comes first.

Each morning I wake worried for our country. I’ve gone past the stomach aches, inability to work, leaden feelings, sleeplessness, and depression, but I am ever more apprehensive about the panoply of protections being assaulted. I worry about walling off America from those who built our country, those who will continue to make us strong.

So much assaults us, it sometimes feels impossible to stay on top of the issues. I’m trying to figure out what my “KISS principle” should be. (KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid” a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960, which states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.)

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I don’t want to become numb. Though my husband and I become somnolent with old sitcoms some nights, the days must be spent woke. Finding the right balance between vigilance, work and living is our challenge.

For now, I’m trying to stick to a few rules based on one thing I know, which is this: without being able to immigrate into America, my family might have been extinguished. So, today I made myself a set of KISS rules:

* Whatever I think I should donate to nonprofits doing the hard work of keeping, double it. Rights before luxuries.

* Spread the word about dangers to our country, without deluging just to offload my own anxiety, while concomitantly knowing I may alienate some or become tiresome to social media (and IRL!) buddies. Freedom before popularity.

* Devote writing time to highlighting good: Smart is Beautiful

* Keep in touch with my elected officials by email, phone, and, if needed, visits, despite my social anxiety: Leave the comfort zone.

* Stay educated by reading widely and deeply, by subscribing to and paying for good journalism: Don’t rely on social media.

Some of the rules will be harder than others for me. (I despise making cold phone calls.) Thus I make my secret sixth rule: Everyone needs down time: Sitcoms Rule.

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