How a Spanish Soap Opera Saved My Sanity

Last Tuesday I quit.

After 8 solid weeks of workouts, meetings, appointments, practices, events, ballgames, and the general chaos that takes over my calendar, I declared myself DONE for a day.  I had been rushing from thing to thing, hour after hour, until I was about to drop.  So, I decided to put a Netflix series on in the background and relax on the couch for a couple of hours.

I believe it was the hand of God who must have put Grand Hotel in my suggested shows because divine intervention is the only way a Spanish speaking dramatic series could possibly show up there!  But, as the description was in English (the only language I actually do comprehend), I didn’t realize it would be 100% subtitled until after I hit the button to begin playing Season 1, Episode 1.  Within about 5 minutes, and before I could get tired of reading subtitles, I was hooked.

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My plan was to pay bills and return emails on the laptop while watching  (even on my self-imposed afternoon “off” I felt guilty if I was not working on something), but I quickly realized that I could not half-way watch a program in a foreign language.  It was all or nothing if I wanted to watch it (and I very much did!), so I was forced to put aside the bills and the computer.  I was physically unable to multi-task, so all I could was sit and enjoy the show.

And boy did I.  I really, really enjoyed it!!  I looked it up on IMDB and discovered that it aired in Spain for only three years, so I quickly justified that I had earned a full day of watching and basically canceled my normal routine last Wednesday just so I could sit on that couch and watch more and more of my new show.  By Thursday I was feeling quite the Slacker Mom, so I forced myself to pause the show between every single episode to change out laundry.  On Friday afternoon, I squeezed in 15 minutes of watching here and 20 minutes there to get through a couple of episodes, and Saturday night my reward for surviving Coach’s life-shortening-come-from-behind-by-31-points-to-win ballgame was to splurge on more Grand Hotel.  This time from the soft, warm, cozy comfort of my bed.

I am happy to report that at 11:53 pm last night (one full week after beginning this journey), I finished the final episode!  Life may now resume (but not as previously scheduled because I am determined to keep my sanity now that it has been found!).

I am also happy to report that it was worth every single, lazy, laid-back moment: the finale did NOT disappoint, and the week off from the hustle and bustle of our world was the absolute definition of bliss.

I know it was ridiculous.  My family got a kick out of watching me watch my show obsessively (although, all three of them could tell you the story line because they, too, got engaged in that plot from time to time!).  I am positive that my sister – who actually is fluent in Spanish – thought I had lost my mind when I told her what I was doing.  I mean honestly, who requires a week-long Netflix binge to find a way to slow down?

Hmm…who doesn’t?

The Truth in a Joke

I am a firm believer that every joke is rooted in a bit of truth, and while I confessed my brief television addiction in humor, there is a sad truth in the telling:  I was so unable to stop multitasking, stop running, and stop the chaos, that it took an inability to understand spoken words to grasp 100% of my attention on any one thing.

Now that’s a problem.

I remember reading an article (likely from Facebook) several years ago about the effects of multitasking on mental health, and I remember they were not good.  So, I turned to the Internet to learn more.  Here is a Google search that returns 4.8 million results in 0.43 seconds on the negative impact our incessant need to multitask has on our minds:  “Multitasking Bad for the Brain”

No wonder we are losing them!

Well, I do not want to lose my mind.  It was my Grandma Syble’s greatest fear, and it came true in the form of diagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease the last two years of her life.  And while I am certainly not claiming that multitasking causes ALZ, I am declaring that we should be taking better care of ourselves.

And when it comes to multitasking, that particularly applies to us women.

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Seriously, what have we set ourselves up to do?  Who have we set ourselves up to be?

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Personally, I do not want to be either of those moms pictured above.

Right now in America, over 5,000,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s, and 2/3 of those are women (www.ALZ.org).  That is just the known Alzheimer’s patients.  There are additional forms of dementia and brain disease to compound those numbers.  This is an epidemic that must stop.

I want to beg and plead with you to slow down, enjoy every moment, and take time, but I know that just like me, you feel obligated and controlled by your calendar and commitments. Instead, I will simply remind you that life is a gift, and the life you’ve been given is the only one you will be granted, so whatever you do with your days, make them meaningful and memorable and marvelous!

With Love and Hugs,

Ashli

PS:  If you do happen to make time for 66 episodes of greatness, check out Grand Hotel, and let me know if you love it as much as I did 😉

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